Confession in Thirty-Seven Years

Park Yeong-gyeong from Gumi, Korea


My mother got married at the age of twenty-four when she was young and beautiful, and lived in a remote countryside where even buses did not operate, taking care of her parents-in-law, brother-in-law, husband, and three kids. As she was so devoted to her family, she didn’t have any time to look after herself. On her sixty-first birthday, all our family gathered. Around the time when her cute grandchildren’s congratulation almost finished, my father came out of his room, holding a piece of paper in his hand. Though he seemed a little bashful, he began to read his handwritten letter that began with “Darling”:

“Happy 61st birthday to you! Ever since you married me, you’ve worked hard for thirty-seven years, caring your family-in-law. Time has passed so fast. I’m sorry I haven’t treated you well. I promise I will do good to you from now on. I’m very thankful to you for giving birth to our three good children, and I’m also so happy that they’re all married and we have five grandchildren. For the days to come, let us not quarrel but live joyfully, understanding each other. I love you, my darling.”

I’d thought my father was blunt just like any other rural elderly, and never imagined he could be so sweet like that. My mother, who had been quietly listening to him, was moved to tears. What could compensate her thirty-seven-year toil and sacrifice? However, my mother appreciated her husband’s short letter with tears in her eyes. I pray for her to live long and happily together with my father.