The Way of Love for the Lord
Chapter 9. My Mother who injured her back (April 29, 1981)
When I was doing a customer’s hair, my mother -in-law visited me. Upon coming into my hair salon, she told me to have a talk with her. So I stopped my work and followed her.
Then, she started getting angry with me and said, “How did you dare do it?” As I didn’t know why she was angry, I asked her. “Mother, what is this about? Have I done anything wrong?” She replied, “Why did you not notify those living in this area of my sixtieth birthday?” In fact she had told me that she herself would notify them. So I said, “Oh my! You told me that you would notify them of your sixtieth birthday.”
She said again, “Why did you not say even a word to your sick sister-in-law in the hospital?” I said, “Mother, how could I not say even a word to her? I told her what a hard time she was going through, and also told her to endure the pain and offer it up well.” Then she shouted in a loud voice, “She told me that you had gone back without saying anything.” “Mother, I know well that you have difficulty in making many of your sons and daughters-in-law get along with one another.”
I said just one word with an apologetic heart, but she flew into a sudden rage. “You said that there are many sons and daughters-in-law. So did you ever give them food? Did you ever give them clothes? Did you teach them? You bitch! You should learn that you are well off like this because you got married to a competent husband for your status. You bitch!”
My birth mother, who could no longer tolerate her in-law cursing at me with abusive language that I couldn’t utter with my own mouth, said, “Excuse me, but this is a work place. So let us go into a room and talk silently?” My mother-in-law said, “Who on earth are you?” and pushed my mother mercilessly, making her fall backward against the corner of a wood-burning stove in the kitchen. As a result, she injured her back badly.
All the customers were surprised at the big sound and flocked to the scene. So that day I was very busy as I had to do customers’ hair and at the same time had to take care of my mother who was bedridden due to her injured back.
The very words of my husband’s mother, “So did you ever give them food? Did you ever give them clothes? Did you teach them?” rang in my ears, reminding me of past incidents.
Since I was married, I had worked very hard without thinking of my health and even had to sell all my wedding jewelry in order to buy clothes and food for my husband’s family and support my brothers-in-law as well.
Furthermore, my mother had to borrow a rice paddy and do farm work by the sweat of her brow. With her hard-earned money I helped my in-laws. Even after my fifth brother-in-law passed the bar exam, I had to take care of my in-laws.
Meanwhile, I couldn’t feed or clothe my own children with what they wanted to eat or wear. I could only feed them flawed fruits and make their clothes by hand.
Although my poor mother married her only daughter off, she continuously had to work hard to help me instead of enjoying a comfortable life. Given all of this, how could my husband’s mother push and hurt my mother?
As for me, I would be glad to receive any curse or beating, or be willing to suffer any pain even if someone tried to trample and kill me. I felt my heart broken over this incident and the pain of my heart did not go away easily because my mother-in-law hurt my mother who had taken great pains in order to raise me well.
Julia and her Mother - Maria Hong.