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Stephanie Namkoong, Features Editor

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I try to always leave home with a kiss and hug goodbye from my mother. Sometimes, regrettably, I do forget to or leave the house slamming the door because of an argument. There’s a reason, though, why I try so hard to avoid those mornings. It’s scary when one realizes just how little time we have with our loved ones. Sometimes, it ends unnaturally, and we are unable to do anything about it.

Last April, a cruise ship full of Korean high schoolers slowly sunk and killed most people on board. One of the worst parts was seeing the parents. Hundreds of family members and friends lined the shore, watching the boat slip in the distance. All they could do was reach their arms out and pray that their babies would somehow make it out. It was extremely difficult for me to hear about teenagers or children passing, but the sinking of the cruise ship with hundreds of Korean teenagers hit me especially hard. Before the tragedy, many of them had sent final text messages full of love and promises to come home soon. Their inability to fulfill such a simple promise was sad in itself, but it’s worse to think that any one of them could have left their home in anger and now are unable change that last memory. The only comfort is in knowing that despite how they might have left their families that morning, they know they loved each other. Either way, it is an unfortunate and tragic way to part without being surrounded by someone’s loved ones.

I’m a pretty reserved person because I don’t quite know how to show my emotions properly. If anything, my parents feel relief when I fight back because it shows I care. I work hard to show more love to my family because of tragedies like the Korean cruise ship and the reality of life itself. I go into fits of anxiety attacks when I think about how short life is and how quickly I will lose the ones I love most.

My parents have endured enough physical and emotional pain to last several lifetimes. It’s not the immediate kind that ends life but the kind that drags the person along in the dirt. They’re not always fully healthy either way, but some days they have good days and some days it’s bad. When I see people like my parents, it seems senseless for people to throw away their lives while there are hundreds of people not blessed with such luck. One shouldn’t blame themselves if they feel trapped like that because it happens, and it’s natural. However, if we feel lost and give up trying, then we’d never find the light that is surely at the end of the tunnel.

It’s easy to be consumed by fear. We are young and invincible. We don’t care about the future because all that matters is right now. We want to experience new things and scary things because we want so much to just rush ahead into the future, but when the future arrives, we want to go back. It’s shocking to think that the future is already encroaching upon all of us.

I don’t kiss and hug my mother goodbye just because I love her, but because I’m afraid. Who knows what will happen the next day or the next hour. It’s natural to feel the impulse to want to leave and move forward, but I want so desperately to stay in the here and now because not knowing what will come next is far more terrifying. I find it hard to believe when kids complain about their family and even go so far to say they “hate” them. I know I used to say things like that, but I never really meant it. We just say it because we don’t think and because other kids say it. I just feel that if someone is so lucky to have parents who are there for them and support them, they should try for an instant to imagine losing them. It seems impossible to us, but accidents and unfortunate events can happen in less than a second, and those we take for granted can be gone.

We have to come to terms with the inevitability of passing time. I can’t deny that things will happen: some good and some bad. Maybe it’ll be really good or really bad. We can’t really control that. But while I have what I do have, I try to be more thankful and more peaceful even when some things turn out badly. It’s not the end of the world. That is why I always leave home with a kiss and hug goodbye.

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The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School.
Social Commentary