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A mom’s heartbreaking diary after the Sewol accident

Posted May. 02, 2014 02:54,   


On the night when the Sewol ferry sank, his mom dreamed. She was swept by waves on a vast sea. She tried to get out of the water. She woke up, only to find herself in a gymnasium in Jindo. She said, “I want to see my son in a dream but he never comes up. I keep dreaming of me getting drowned.”

Ahn Hyeon-yeong, a 28-year-old son of Hwang Jeong-ae, was a contract crew member. He was aboard the Sewol as a part-timer after graduating from college in 2012. He did chores on the ship such as serving food for passengers, assisting them, and moderating events. In August last year, he became a full-time contractor but his job was not much different from what he did as a part-timer. He began to prepare for a full-time regular job while working on the ship.

A day before the Sewol left the port of Incheon, Ahn called his mom. “Mom, I left a small pot in my room and please take care of it.” “What pot is that?” “The leaves are long and sharp.” “It sounds like an orchid.” A flower was sticking its head out among leaves. “Mom, does an orchid bloom?” “Of course, it has beautiful flower.” They had a friendly chat. The pot became her son’s last gift. The pot was from Yang Dae-hong, the 46-year-old purser of the Sewol who sacrificed his life to save students. Yang liked Ahn who had a strong sense of responsibility. Ahn received an award from his division commander during his military service. His mom said, “I was heard that the purser bought two pots and gave one to my son. It seems as if they knew that they were going to die.”

Ahn called his mom once again eight hours before he was aboard the Sewol. “Send me 200,000 won (about 193.8 U.S. dollars). I’ll give it back to you when I arrive at Jeju.” He had never asked his mom for money. He sent a text message, “Thanks. I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” which became his last message. His mom replied, “No problem. We’re a family, my son!” She said, “Maybe he needed the money on his last journey. I should have given him more money.”

On the first day of the ferry sinking, Hwang got angry. She shouted to the coast guard, “Let the divers jump into the water and knock the ship with a hammer. When they hear the sound, they would not give up hope.”

Since then, she has lived like a sinner. She could not even mourn while staying in the stadium. She had a sense of guilt just because her son was a crew member. She opened heart to her diary. “As a mother who lost my child, I cannot say, ‘My son is a crew member and he is missing now.’ I am so sorry for my son.”

More than 200 dead bodies have been found but she couldn`t find the son. Her diary, which was brand new on the first day of the accident, was full of letters to her son. She said, “I’m writing this because my son cannot hear me in the sea. My son was good-looking, courageous, royal, and manly. He must have died while saving the kids. My son was such an honest man.”