After I graduated from college, I lived with four buddies from UCLA. Our common bond was a shared faith in Jesus, growth and maturity through our days in Bruin Christian Fellowship, and bachelorhood. We rented a house in Mar Vista on Barbara Avenue. It is for that reason (and not because of any unsavory behavior) that we dubbed ourselves "The Barbarians". These men (David, Chris, Jon W, and Jon Y) are more than just friends to me. They are my brothers. We have all been in each others' weddings. We have all been through dark days together. We have held each others' children and we have been through fire (figuratively and literally - just ask Chris) with each other. These are my lifelong pals. We can share our deepest struggles with each other. We have an implied understanding that we will always be there for one another no matter what life throws at us. Though three of us live in SoCal and two of us live in NoCal, we have also made it a point to get together at least once a year to hang out. These Barbarian Conferences or "Barb Cons" are great times to catch up with each other and just hang out.
This past weekend, the Barbarians came down to my house to spend the weekend with me and Lucas. Overall, it was a great weekend. There were two highlights. The first was Saturday dinner at my aunt's house. My mom cooked her amazing chicken katsu and sukiyaki for us. After the awesome dinner, we played some Guitar Hero with my family. It was a lot of fun. I love when different parts of my life come together. The second highlight was the purchase of a new car. The previous weekend, the SoCal Barbarians (Dave, Chris, and I) test drove five cars. I narrowed my choices to two. Now, I know absolutely nothing about cars. It just isn't a passion for me. Reliably getting from Point A to Point B is really my main concern. So I called on my brothers to help me and they did not fail. Dave did the homework, coming prepared with Consumer Reports printouts and other key information. Anyway, to make a long story short, I purchased a car Sunday afternoon. Chris was the champion negotiator while I barely spoke. I was just there to write the check and get the keys. Jon W stayed home to keep Lucas company. It was a great team effort that typifies the spirit of the Barbarians. Everyone should be so blessed as I am with these men of strength and character.
Monday night, Barb Con ended. Chris had to leave Sunday night due to a work trip. Dave drove Jon W to Long Beach Airport and I drove Jon Y to LAX. On the way home, Lucas and I were talking and he completely caught me off guard. He asked me, "Dad, am I going to get a new Oh-ma?" (Oh-ma is the Korean name for "mommy"). I was totally unprepared for this question. I tearfully explained to him that he will never have Oh-ma back but that someday when he is older, he may have a different mom. I asked him if he wanted another mom. He said yes. I cried as I reassured him that if he ever did have another mom, that I would make sure that she loves him. We then talked about Nathan. I explained to him that he will never have Nathan back but that someday when he is older, he may have a baby brother or sister. I asked him if he wanted to have a brother or sister. He said yes.
For me, this is the hardest conversation that I have had with Lucas. It gives me tears just thinking about it. It shows me two things. One is that Lucas is fully aware that Oh-ma and Nathan are gone. Two is that Lucas is very lonely. He is processing his loss. He daily feels the void in his life - no brother to go to school with, no mommy to hug and kiss him, no brother to wrestle with, no mommy to sleep next to, no brother and mommy to laugh with. Oh, my poor son! I wish I could make it better for him. All I can do is grieve with him, reassure him with my presence and love, and help him establish a new normal. And I must do this while God grieves with me, reassures me with His presence and love, and helps me establish a new normal.
For those of you reading this who believe in the Holy Spirit, please pray for me and my boy. Pray that God would grant me wisdom and strength to care for Lucas. Pray for Lucas to feel safe and hopeful. Pray for me to abide in Him.