Finding Healing

I am my father’s daughter.

Me Ra Koh

I found my dad in the dark.  He sat in his wheelchair, facing the window.  The shade was pulled. When I opened the door, the light from the hallway illuminated his profile.  Beads of sweat multiplied on his forehead, running down the side of his face.  He was in so much pain that even the light was too much to bear. This is the space he has been in for the last few months.  The accident of a teenage girl texting and driving, not seeing my dad standing and crushing his body, taking his left leg–the accident that happened almost eighteen months ago now haunts him with more pain than ever.  And we all feel helpless to this giant of pain that never lets go of him.

This morning the air is cold and damp, a pure Northwest morning. 

I walk forward with the dog, and when we turn the bend that tucks us into evergreens and moss covered paths, I cry.  I am my father’s daughter, and in the mysterious bound we share, I come to the morning air to cry and let go of the helplessness I can’t change.  Tears come for his pain–his loneliness.  I cry for the unwanted change that he cannot rewind. Tears fall for the giant he has always been, and the toll I see the pain taking.  And when the moss starts to disappear and the road opens up to a view of the Puget Sound I say a prayer.  “I pray that I would be like a body of water, free to ebb and flow, deep with passion, emotion, water that is never standing still but always alive, able to pour out whether through tears or laughter.”

I know that my morning walks will not always be this way.  For the first few weeks, I fought the tears feeling confused–even ashamed.  But one day I was singing, and I heard an unexpected whisper in my heart.  A whisper that said “I am my father’s daughter”.  And in the intensity of my bond to my father, the most powerful testimony of forgiveness that I have ever lived…if this is a way to love him, pray for him, intercede for the heavy burden he now carries, I would walk my morning walks without question when the tears came.  This alone is our story of redemption.

There was a time when my father’s heart was cold toward me, and I struggled to face him as a stone. 

But those days are long ago, and forgiveness has gone deep.  An Asian father who know longer carries shame for his daughter’s rape.  A first generation, Asian father who asks his daughter to forgive him for not filling her with love and worthiness, shelters to protect her from such pain.  An Asian father who let goes of his culture to gain his daughter.  An Asian father who redeems all the years lost with his daughter by how he pours passionately into his granddaughter.  I am my father’s daughter, and we no longer face each other like walls of stone. 

Forgiveness has broke down every wall that when I see him get out of the car, working so hard to visit the kids’ Tae Kwon Do class, with sweat already coming down his face, I have no wall to shield me from how much it hurts to see him hurt.

A teenage girl texting and driving changed his life in seconds.

The kids eyes light up because Papa, the sixth degree black belt, has come to watch them.  He puts his prosthetic leg on and wobbles toward them with arms open wide to hug them. I can see the weariness on his face, he has been fighting the giant all day.  But he smiles past the pain, and I am in awe.  At the end of the kids’ class, Master Pae, the instructor, tells all the children that they are honored to have a special guest tonight.  “We have a great Master in our midst who honors us with his presence.  He is a Tae Kwon Do master for many years now.  Everyone, bow to Pascaline and Blaze’s grandfather, for honoring us with his coming today.”  All the children turn, face my dad, and bow together.  My dad smiles softly and nods in response.  I can see how much this gesture gives to him.  Yes, he is a great Master, and we are all honored to have him still with us, and I am proud to be my father’s daughter.

I asked for prayer yesterday on Facebook. 

And I want to thank you for all your prayers.  He rolled into another surgery yesterday.  My father flew from Seattle to LA for the surgery; he found a specialist who believes he can help the pain. When I talked to him the night before, I could tell his pain was high by his interrupted breathing pattern.   I asked him if he was nervous about the next day, his laughter broke past the pain and he said “I’m so excited to sleep during the surgery Mee-da! I will have a break from the pain!”  Last night, the surgeon said he is very hopeful for the outcome of the surgery.

Thank you for carrying us with your prayers, as we continue to walk into my father’s new reality–thankful he is still here. And thank you for praying for the teenage girl texting and driving. I’m sure she needs them too.




  1. jeramy says:

    wow. thanks for sharing your feelings so vulnerably. it’s deep isn’t it? there’s a lot there… it’s amazing how important the relationship is for dad’s to their kids. that truth challenges me ever day. (sigh). seriously, hoping the best for your dad. we’re with you guys…

  2. Stefanie says:

    Wow, Me Ra, your words are incredible as is your hope and perspective. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your father and your family will be in my prayers.

  3. BreAnna says:

    Your writing is just so beautiful, Me Ra. I truly hope the surgery helps to decrease his pain level. I will continue to keep your father and your family in my prayers.

  4. Sue Christianson says:

    Me Ra! What an amazing post. The title caught my eye this morning! I am in my home this morning with worship music playing, writing a six week series for ladies bible study. Week one that I am working on today is about the Father’s Love! What you have written is so beautiful and your Dad displays the same kind of Love for his daughter and family that our Heavenly Father displays for all of us! Amazing! We are continuing for pray for him!

    Thank you for the timely post for me!
    Love you!

  5. Rhonda Kane says:

    Continuing to pray!

  6. Barbi Emel says:

    Prayers for you, your family & dad. I know pain is a horrible thing. I had 2 discs replaced last year in my neck and the pain is still so bad. My daughter & photography are basically the only thing keeping me going. Some days I feel like giving up, just going to my full time job is a struggle. XOXO

  7. Susan says:

    What a beautiful post. I am so happy that you and your dad are together again. I wish I could say the same.
    You are a lovely writer, hope you continue to write.
    Prayers for your and your father.


  8. Beautiful post Me Ra. I hope the surgery helps your Dad’s pain. Your Dad and family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Kris says:

    Lifting up prayers for your Dad!

  10. Hi MeRa, I am new to your blog and I feel privilaged to have been able to read this post. While I don’t know your story your love for your father is evident. I lost my father a year ago and he is missed beyond measure.

  11. Amanda Mays says:

    Another amazing read! I’m imagining wrapping my arms around all of you in a great big virtual hug! Watching someone you love live with pain and feeling helpless about it is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. You are an amazing daughter. Praying for relief for your dad and comfort to the rest of the family!

  12. tiffany says:

    bless your heart! your family is in my prayers.

  13. Lana says:

    I cried with you, for your dad and for your family reading this today. I am sorry you all are having to endure this.

    I pray for your father, for his pain to cease. I pray for the healing hands of the surgeon. I pray for a peace and a comfort to fill your heart and for your whole family.

    Love and Hugs,

  14. Laurie says:

    Oh, is really all that keeps coming to mind. It amazes me when I read someones words, and they are the very words I could have written. If you were to put my husband in the place of your father, I could say those very same words, because they are my very thoughts. My husband was in a rollover accident two years ago, and he too fights with the giant you describe. I on the other hand can only sit back and feel so helpless at times. He is also a truly amazing man, and I am heart sick for his struggles. I am anxiously awaiting the outcome of your fathers surgery. Thank you for sharing your tears, they could have been mixed with mine. You are really never alone with what you are going through, there is someone out there walking in very similar shoes. May you find some peace today. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I can honestly say, I feel some of your pain.

  15. amy b. says:

    thank you for sharing. i’m in a similar boat (although i could never explain it as beautiful as you did). my prayers are with you, your father and family.

  16. Amy Keffer says:

    Me Ra… no words. Hopefully I can give you a hug in person this weekend to say what I feel about this entry. <3 ~Amy

  17. liza says:

    Lifting you and your father in prayer. Praying for a pain-free giant.

  18. Genie says:

    Looking forward to the day we can see a relaxed smile on his face – and an image of you two on the blog in happiness and love. Let us know what happens. We’re all with you.

  19. Maria Adams says:

    Me Ra and Family,

    Thoughts and prayers are with your family and the doctors that are performing your fathers surgery. May God hold you all close and comfort you during this time. May he also guide the surgeons hands to free your father from his pain, so that he can go on living his life to the fullest.

    As a daughter who has gone through something similar with her father, I can feel your pain as I watch my father, a man that shows no weakness, in so much pain for the last three years due to pancreatitis. Everyday I’m thankful I have one more day with him.

    Lots of prayers.

  20. Becky Talbert says:

    MeRa, I personally believe strongly in the power of prayer. I know they are heard and answered by a loving Father in Heaven. I will remember your father, you, and your family in my daily prayers, and hope to hear soon that his surgery has been a success and his pain has been diminished…and your heartache as been lessened.

  21. Freida Hall says:

    when you write and share your innermost thoughts – it’s tender, magical, real & beautiful. i cried with you on this one. my heart is with your family. much, much love to each of you.

  22. Laura Hanis says:

    MeRa, you are beautiful and your ability to forgive is a testament. It’s an honor to know you even a little.

  23. Gargi A says:

    Your father and family are in our prayers and thoughts. Much love.

  24. Paula A says:

    How is your dad doing? Hope the surgery went well and it lessened the pain. You’re in my prayers.