Our diverse community mourns the loss of the four Korean students who lost their lives at Forbidden Island. Seventeen students from schools all over Saipan (high school and college) went on what was to be a joyous outing at Forbidden Island and ended up with the Ocean snatching away and snuffing out the lives of four young, talented, and popular students. The CNMI community mourns with the Korean community.
I attended the funeral service of Ku, the student who was buried here on Saipan. The hospital chapel was full of people. The tents were crowded as well. I stood behind the hearse in one of the two lines that formed behind the hearse. Mourners lined up to view the body. I decided to remain at a respectful distance and allowed the many friends, relatives, faculty, staff, and students of Northern Marianas College (NMC) who knew Ku to say their last goodbyes while the precious seconds ticked away. Life can be so unfair! So sad! :(
I ran into my friend Jun, who is a student at NMC. My heart broke as I listened to him tearfully recount what Ku meant to him. They had known each other since their Marianas High School days. "He was like a brother to me," he said. How helpless I felt that I couldn't take his pain away! I knew that he was struggling, refusing to accept life's awful new reality that no longer included Ku.
I ran into another friend who works for the College who also said that Ku was an incredibly talented musician. She said that Ku wanted to bring the Korean community together, so he organized the outing for that purpose. Then she said, "He did succeed in bringing the Korean community together -- only not in the way he meant to." :(
Hearing people talk about Ku made me even sadder that I never got to know him or any of the others who lost their lives. Often, we get so caught up in life's "business" that we take life for granted. Thus, when joy turns to tragedy, we are jolted and reminded about the important things in life.
My parting message to Jun was to try twice as hard in school and to succeed for himself as well as for his friend Ku. I heard it said that death is often hardest on those who are left behind. I hope Jun and the poor families, friends, and relatives of the students find some peace and comfort soon.