Umah 엄마

This is the Korean word for "mom," a word and concept that has been a deep wound for me most of my life.

Historically, I've had a very challenging relationship with my mom. There were many times in my life when I regarded her as my worst enemy; the main villain of my story. There was a lot I didn't understand/know about her as a person, and for the sake of self-preservation, I kept as much distance between us as possible once I moved out of her house. The last two years, I've done a lot of work healing my relationship to her, including therapy, energy healing, introspection, journaling and more. Unpacking my own trauma and patterns created space for me to understand and forgive my mom and heal from our difficult past.

After my surgery in August, my mom and I had some very raw conversations, which is a relatively new thing for us. She opened up about her past, some of which I knew a little about. I knew her father was extremely abusive, which was why my mom left Korea. She was the only person in her family to leave, and she shared about the difficulties she encountered being in a strange country. The pain of leaving behind everyone and everything she knew and loved. I realized how deep the generational trauma was, as well as her own personal trauma, one of which was the suicide of her youngest sister and best friend in more recent years.

The pain of not being accepted by/understood by her in-laws, cultural barriers, and the dream of a life that didn't manifest in the way she expected. Becoming a mother during these times, struggling to maintain independence while having to depend on her partner, and more. My heart broke for her in these conversations, and broke for myself when she apologized for not being a good mother to me.


Last weekend, my mom slipped and fell at home, breaking her femur, which required emergency surgery to insert a rod in her leg and a few days in the hospital. It was completely shocking, as these things always are. It was a whirlwind of emotions, logistics and fear for our family.

It has given my own hardship with my health more meaning and context. On the heels of my own surgery, I was able to show up with more empathy and compassion for what she's going through. Had I not, I don't think I would've been able to support her in that I have. I understood the physical, emotional and mental strain this kind of event creates. How disruptive and scary it is. And just how beautiful it is when you allow people to support you in different ways.

My own journey has taught me many things, including the importance of recognizing the opportunity in hardship. I realized that the only thing in my control is how I respond, and when I respond with vulnerability and curiosity, I open myself to receiving healing, love and compassion.


After my mom's surgery, my sister and I sent up a Gofundme for my parents without their knowledge. When I told my parents that people had donated thousands of dollars to them in less than 24 hours, they were absolutely floored. They cried, because they were stunned, humbled and embarrassed. My mom especially struggled to accept the news. Her immediate reaction was resistance, feeling that it was a debt that needed to be repaid. When I told her it was an opportunity for her to release control and receive, she broke down in tears, which kept coming for days after. I could see her slowly softening into this new way of being.

As my mom's favorite nurse prepared her for discharge, she cried as she told him: "I've learned so much in my time here. I learned that we need each other; that we need to take care of each other." Later, when a friend visited her at home after her discharge, she told him that she had learned so much from this experience. She said she learned that the young generation is amazing. The way we communicate and ask for help, and how quickly that call is answered. She said that the young generation is full of hope, which has given her hope for the future.

I have never experienced such a tender side of my mom, and it has been such a gift. Witnessing her soaking up all the lessons and love has been a healing medicine for my soul and for our relationship. Shared lessons in surrender, release, receiving and vulnerability. The power of love and community and how healing it can be, if you accept it. It has been incredibly profound to be on this journey with her. To watch her heart open, to experience love and support from our community, to be utterly humbled by it all. What a beautiful, unexpected unfolding it has been.

Despite the challenges this accident presented us, it presented something even greater: an opportunity for deep healing and surrender. I can't help but think that her accident may be one of the best things to ever happen to us. It has reminded us of the goodness and light in others and in the world.

I can't thank you enough for being a part of our journey. Your love has forever touched us and transformed us. <3