Friday, November 05, 2010

A Life, A Death.

My husband's brother, Arthur, is someone I've known since he was just a youngster, in college. I've gotten to watch him become a serious young man, and then, a thirty-something-man with a great job who longed for a partner with whom he could share his life. I saw him search endlessly for a woman who would make him feel excited to leave work and return home for....He found that woman, Toni, approximately 3 years ago, in mid-2007, on e-harmony.After much e-mailing and many phone calls, they met up at an ice cream shop, and began dating. I met Toni that Thanksgiving, at Arthur's home, in North Carolina, and in January of 2009, they wed in Maui, Hawaii.
Toni wanted to get pregnant "soon", she told me, because she'd grown up happy, but as an "only child" and very much wanted children, a "big family", she said.
So they began making trips--very romantic trips. Italy, Puerto Rico, fact, several trips to a beach-house in Charleston, and viola'! Soon, she was pregnant.
Theyt were both elated to hear this news.
Now almost 36 years old, Arthur is focused and driven, just like my hubby Hansoo, but where Hansoo is quick to anger, Arthur is quick to let tears flow,and his ability to let his feelings emerge is his most endearing quality.
Of course, when it's tears of joy at my wedding, or his own, that's a great thing to witness.
Or when Arthur's lovely wife, Toni, gave birth(an induced birth, 6.5 weeks early), and lovely Morgan Catherine was their bright reward.
But the tears Arthur now sheds--the tears that we all shed now-- are over our loss of lovely Toni, just weeks after giving birth to their first--and only child, Morgan Catherine.
Only 3 days after giving birth,she was diagnosed on Sept. 24th with cancer, and days later, we were told it was "Stage 4 Gastro-intestinal Cancer,of unknown origin."
Toni had been vegetarian, (no eggs, some select fish), nearly her entire just-turned-39-years-old-life.
A veternarian who saved countless animals'lives, and who loved her fulfilling work and had two doggies and a cat of her own, she enjoyed the support of a close family and many friends. She was a non-smoker and non-drinker, who was vibrant, athletic and outdoors-y, and enjoyed river-rafting, hiking, international travel, and dancing(salsa lessons were a favorite).
After some pain, and several attempts to get her cancer treated via stents(for her liver) and chemo, Toni lapsed into a coma, and on October 14th, 2010, Toni Harris Kwon left this world, and I personally believe God must have needed another angel. How else to understand such loss?
We have beautiful baby Morgan Catherine, and two sets of grandparents nearby, to offer love and support to both Daddy-Arthur and little Morgan.
She has an Aunt and Uncle(Hansoo's older brother) in Tennessee, and two cousins(their daughters) there,too.
And here in Atlanta, Morgan has an Aunt ("Theya Lisa") and Uncle Hansoo, who are fully committed to being the best for her, that we can possibly be.
Please keep us in your thoughts, meditations, and prayers.
May God Bless and Keep Your Own Families.
Peace, kids.


Lydia said...

Oh, Lisa. I have chills over my entire body after reading your shocking and tender post in tribute to your sister-in-law. You made Toni very alive in my mind. Very. To the point that I am missing her now. If you can do that for me via the blogosphere I know you will be able to keep her memory rich and full for Arthur and for Morgan as she grows. I wish I could say something, anything, that could ease the sadness that you all are living now.

A woman like that and a life such as the one she led is deserving of deep mourning and deep respect for your own individual ways of mourning her loss. My love goes out to you during this time, and especially over the upcoming holiday season.

What a mysterious and mystical story, that, in many ways, has only just begun...

Moddrunk said...

So beautifully felt and beautifully written.

Death is such an unfortunate part of life, and I have found grief to be the loneliest emotion there is.

Having the support of great freinds and family is helpful and Arthur and Morgan are lucky to have you in thier lives. An angel right here on earth.

an average patriot said...

You are still hurting but you have a beautiful child to love and remember her. I am sorry Lisa your words are so beautiful as they are heart felt. Peace Hon!

christine said...

Oh, your poor family! What a loss. So sad. Sending love and healing thoughts to you all. What a beautiful tribute you've written to their love.

Galen Pearl said...

Lisa, I am so very sorry to hear about this tragic death in your family. Who can understand these things? The joy of a new life met with the devastating loss of another. My foster son came into our family almost 11 years ago when both his parents died. How luck little Morgan is to be surrounded by her father and family. And how lucky you all are to have her, a bright star in a dark night. She is an angel in her own right, just like her mother.

Lisa Allender said...

Lydia--Thank you, dear, so much.
It helps to write what we feel, especially in times like this.
I look forward to helping mOrgan in any way I can.
Moddrunk--Hi! Thank you for your comments.Grief is really hard;I think denial is the first part of losing someone.I keep thinking about e-mailing her, then of course, realize I can't.
Average Patriot--Thank you so much!Peace to you, too.
Christine--Yeah, this is truly tough.
Arthur is great, and so is the whole family.
Toni has amazing parents, and friends, too, who are shoring everyone up.
Galen Pearl--Glad to hear you are there for someone who needed you.
May God Bless and keep You, too.
Morgan is our Earth Angel.

Susan said...

Lisa, I am so sad upon reading this post. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family. Toni gave a beautiful gift to the world before she left. I know you will keep her story alive for Morgan as she grows up. I will keep your beautiful family in my thoughts and prayers. Peace, Susan

Lisa Allender said...

Susan--Thank you for that, dear.
We will indeed keep Toni's memory, alive, for her sa-weeet daughter, Morgan Catherine.

Dave Dubya said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. This is truly heartbreaking. At least there's some comfort in knowing as your grief slowly subsides your love for your dear little Blessing shall only grow.

Lisa Allender said...

Dave Dubya--Thank you, man...We are bearing up.
Arthur is well, and Morgan Catherine is thriving...
Hope your Thanksgiving was bright! :)

SarahJane said...

what a terribly sad story. my condolences.

Lisa Allender said...

Sarah Jane-- hi it is April 27th, 2012, midnight as I read this old post from 2010...I thank you for your words of comfort and am pleased to tell you, Sarah Jane, and everyone, that we are healing from our loss. We are seeing Morgan Catherine often and little Morgan has a new caregiver in her life, too. Late last year (2011) Arthur met a woman who is very "maternal". It looks like L-O-V-E to me. :)

Lisa Allender said...

On May 12th of 2012, lovely Erin Smith married Arthur Kwon. They promised to begin to try to get pregnant, to create more family

Lisa Allender said...

....and on April 24th, 2013, we were all gifted with a new life, Audrey Elizabeth, who is Morgan Catherine's (half) sister.
Mommy-Erin is doing well, as is our newest niece, Audrey, Daddy-Arthur and of course,very excited Morgan!