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Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Letters #20

This letter is going to be a little different. It's not really a letter. 

This week has sucked. This week made me doubt our decision to move to Korea. To be far away from family. When we made the decision to move to Korea, we knew we would miss things. We knew birthdays would pass, weddings would take place, and babies could be born without us being able to be there for these occasions. We thought we knew what we were giving up, but I guess we didn't really completely understand. 

 Early Monday morning, I was awoken by Matt telling me my mom needed to Skype because something had happened. It's the thing that you never want to happen. It's the news that you never want to get. And yet, it happened. Sunday evening, or our Monday morning, my cousin passed away. 

Greyce was 26 and fought a battle against Cystic Fibrosis every day of her life. 

Cystic fibrosis is "an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that- clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food." {Source}

Greyce and I became cousins when we were ten and my mom married Greyce's uncle- now my Barry Dad. I still remember the first time we met- I was so excited to be gaining a cousin that was my own age! We ate ice cream in the carport of our Nana and Papa's old house and talked and talked. This was also the first time I heard of CF and what it meant to live with the disease. With Greyce's bowl of ice cream she also had a handful of pills to take. During our ice cream, she patiently explained CF and what it meant in her life. Greyce was an amazing woman, and I'm so thankful to have had her in my life for the last 15 or so years. 

See the thing about living in Korea is it's not actually that easy to get back to the states. There's all this tax info that I don't quite understand. There's the fact that it takes about 20 hours to get back to Georgia.  There's the fact that tickets are about $1600 on a good day. Or that I don't have vacation days like I did in Hawaii. As much as I wanted to fly home right away and be with family to give comfort and to be comforted- it was not possible. And that's what makes me so mad about our decision. I love Korea, but does it have to be so far away? I love traveling and adventuring, but does it have to take me away from family? Was this the best decision for us? Is Korea worth it? These questions are what I am struggling to get through. This week I've been struggling with loving Korea. Struggling with being an expat. Struggling with accepting that Greyce is gone. I know without a doubt that Greyce is in a wonderful place, and I know that she is feeling better. That she is healthy and can take a deep breathe and she can be free of hospitals and doctors and medicine and whatever else she's lived with. But I also know I am sad and her family back in the states is sad. 

Dear Greyce, I miss you. I am sad you have left, but so happy you are in a place of comfort and love. We love you! Aloha 'oe- Until we meet again. 

For those that are interested in learning more about CF or how you can help click here

If you are interested to donating to the CF Foundation- here is the info:

CF Foundation 
In Memory of Greyce Leake
2302 Parklake Dr., NE
Atlanta, GA 30345 

You can also make donations on-line

{I've debated on whether to share this or not, but as most of my readers are family and/or friends I wanted to explain how I'm really feeling. I feel it would be dishonest to not mention bad days here in Korea.} 

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- Alex