These days I always think of a quote from the Korean movie “Hello Ghost.”
The quote, a one-liner, is: “Live. Ok?”
The film is about an orphan who grew up and saw that life is pointless. This mindset led him to repeatedly commit suicide but unsuccessfully at all times. After his latest attempt, he discovered that he can already see ghosts who, according to a medium, won’t stop pestering him unless he helps fulfill their wishes. Left with no choice, the protagonist Sang Man subjected himself to the whims of a drunken man, a weeping lady, a mischievous oldie and a bratty child, just to get rid of them. When the wishes were fulfilled, he drove the ghosts away so he could finally rid of his own life. In the end, he discovered almost belatedly that the ghosts were of his own family who years ago died in a car accident leaving him as the sole survivor.
The statement “Live. Ok?” was said by his mother who was the weeping ghost, a request which jolted him back to life.
I’d like to think that my own mother also said it so that I, too, would finally find meaning in this existence.
When I was a child, my mother would always tell us that we were luckier than she had been. She would always narrate her hardships when she got orphaned at a young age and the life she had lived. We might have been luckier at that time, when she and my father were still alive, but now I don’t know.
It was my father, though, who would always tell me “Don’t give up! Fight!” during my low moments. He would always tell me to make the most of my life as long as I’m breathing.
In their own ways, my parents had also told me “Live. OK?” and I have told this to myself during trying times.
I have told this to myself when I was fighting a serious illness since last year.
This had also led me to decide that I who had struggled so our family could survive all these years should learn to live for myself this time. I am not sure what to live for then (nor am I now) but I was optimistic that I’ll find it somehow. After all, my sister, who has just graduated, promised to lighten my load in keeping the family afloat. So I quit my job, packed my bags to recuperate at home and planned to chase my dreams.
However, my optimism fizzled out when I got home and learned that my sister got pregnant and had decided to take on a separate road in marriage.
It seems like the world is crashing down on me again. Here I am dumping my plans again. Here I am with no job and with no hope at living. Here I am wallowing in misery as the bills, my brothers’ tuition, food needs, debts and this weather-beaten house are crashing down on me. Here I am torn by feelings of hate, frustration, loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness.
It is so easy to judge that I dwell too much on this. But if you were in my worn-out shoes, you would know how tiresome it is to always push back when life pushes you to the edge. Sometimes, it has crossed my mind to just let it be and jump, instead.
But when I think of that, I also remember my parents and their dreams for us. It’s painful because as their memories uplift me, they also weigh me down. This adds to my frustrations with what is happening at present.
If they’re here and would ask me to live, I would tell them: “What for? Should I waste my breath for those who would only think for themselves? Should I continue forgetting my dreams so they could pursue their own dreams? Does love always mean sacrifice?”
Mama, Papa, I really don’t know what to do now. I am still breathing but the will to breathe seems to have left me.