Taste of Memory
Whenever I eat O-I-Ji-Mu-Chim, a Korean spicy food which is similar to pickled cucumber, I mumble to myself unconsciously. "This food reminds me of my grandmother." Then I think of her for a while.
When I was a child, my mother was busy with her work as a salesperson. That's why instead of her my grandmother did the housework such as cleaning, washing, and cooking. Back then she was a great cleaner and washer, but she was not a great cook. Strangely enough, I miss the taste of her foods sometimes although I did not like her foods as a child. In particular I miss the taste of her O-I-Ji-Mu-Chim the most. Whenever I taste this food, I compare it to my grandmother's. Then I feel sad because of her hard life, and I feel sorry because of my fault.
When she died, I was 15. At her last moment, all her children and grandchildren went to meet her except me. I was too young to understand what death means. In fact, I felt scary, and I did not know how I dealt with the situation. Hiding my embarrassment, I said to my mother, "I do not want to meet her. I am busy." My mother said, "Your grandmother is waiting for you. She raised you. She loves you the most. You are very cold. I am really disappointed in you." Finally, I did not look her last, and I did not attend even her funeral.
While other relatives attended her funeral, I sat on my bed and thought of her. I thought of her hard life. She got married young, and her husband died young. She raised four children by herself. Among three daughters and a son, my mother is the eldest. As well as my grandmother did the housework for her eldest daughter's family, she had to take care of her grown-up son, my uncle, who suffered serious brain damage because of a car accident. Although my grandmother took care of him for nine years after that accident, he died finally. As soon as he died, my grandmother had a stroke. One year later she passed away.
I felt sad. I felt sorry. That's not only because of her hard life, but also because of her love for me. I was her eldest grandson. She had always praised me and always tried to give me good things. I realized she had given me great affection. I became ashamed because I had only received her love. I regretted that I had not expressed my love to her. I had not said thank you, and I had not said I love you. I had not said goodbye to her, and I had not attended even her funeral.
Then I broke into tears. I was crying with thinking of her hard life and her love. I was crying with regretting committing so many faults. I was crying with saying goodbye and sorry.
If I had attended her funeral and cried in front of my family, I could not miss her as much as I do now. Because I regret not doing so, I feel sadder and sorrier when I taste O-I-Ji-Mu-Chim. However, I feel not only sad and sorry but also grateful because now I understand what the taste means. It means love. It means her great will against the hard life. It means memories of my grandmother.
Whenever I eat foods which taste like my grandmother's, I think of my grandmother and say in my heart. "I still remember you."