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Hae’s Mother Speaks

I’ve meant to comment on Episode 9 of Serial for a while now.  If you’re not familiar with the podcast, it’s a story told over the course of many weeks.  The first story — the murder of Hae Min Lee and conviction of Adnan Syed — wrapped up more than a week ago.  You can still listen to all the episodes online if you missed it.

Hae’s family is mostly absent from the story.  They are mentioned from time to time, but in this episode, we finally hear some of Hae’s mother’s words.  They affected me profoundly.

At minute 34:35 of the episode, Sarah Koenig states that Hae’s mother speaks:

She tells the court about a Korean proverb that says when parents die, they’re buried in the ground.  But when a child dies, you bury the child in your heart.  Quote: “When I die, when I die my daughter will die with me.  As long as I live, my daughter is buried in my heart.  I don’t know where to hear her voice, I don’t know where to touch her hand.”

It made me think of all the children buried inside the hearts of all the women in this community, their existence sometimes only known to one or two people on earth.  The people we carry with us, tucked into the atria and ventricles, that breathe with us until we take our last breath.

A tiny twist on the idea that we die twice: once when our body stops and once the last time our name is spoken by someone alive.

7 comments

1 Katie { 12.30.14 at 7:38 am }

Beautifully said, Mel.

2 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.30.14 at 11:26 am }

Wow. Your last sentence gutted me.

Makes me wonder: what is the point of life? Dust to dust.

I wonder about the last time my name will be spoken. And by whom.

3 jjiraffe { 12.30.14 at 11:51 am }

I heard an interview with Sarah Koenig where she talks about how hard she tried to contact Hae’s family to comment. Yet in the end she thinks that statement stands alone – there’s nothing more to say about how devastated they are.

Until that moment, I actually worried whether Serial was trivializing something so horrible. Because the focus is not really about the tragedy of Hae’s death, and the tone can be surprisingly light-hearted.

4 Jess { 12.30.14 at 8:14 pm }

I just finished Serial in the car with my husband, and that quote stood out to me, too. It took my breath away. I loved Serial and how it made for excellent conversation and debating and left really no resolution, just more questions, but gave the gift of thought. I hadn’t realized how much that that quote stuck with me until you just resurrected it…with such a beautiful reflection. Thank you.

5 anks { 12.30.14 at 11:57 pm }

The closing line…. just left me speechless!

6 anks { 12.30.14 at 11:58 pm }

The closing line left me speechless…. it is true after all that one truly dies when one is no longer remembered….

7 Mali { 12.31.14 at 10:52 pm }

Wow. What Loribeth said about your last line. Though I worry less about the last time my name will be mentioned, than the thought of my two lost pregnancies, and that when I go (and my husband) no one else will think of them and the secret names we have for those lost children who never were.

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