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A Broken Heart Stricken by Homesickness for 57 Years.  This is an article written by Jin Ho Moon in the Korea Daily dated September 24, 2007, and Mrs. Byung Hun Hahn, who passed away in the summer of 2011.


On Chusuk (Korean traditional holiday which is August 15 by Lunar calendar), 92 year-old Byung Hun Hahn tells a story about her home she left 57 years ago and her family she has never seen since.  “Nobody knows what Chusuk means to people who can’t go home and see their family members,” she says.  Chusuk is a happy holiday for family members and relatives to get together and enjoy their blessings.  But to Mrs. Hahn, who left her hometown Pyongyang 57 years ago, the holiday is another day of heartache and sadness from missing her family. 


Mrs. Hahn left her home during the Korean War.  She and her husband with his family joined a stream of refugees to the south, and that path set her separation from her own family forever.  “I left all my family members behind: my parents, two elder sisters, and two elder brothers.”  My this-year’s Chusuk wish is no different from the wishes of the last 57 years.  I wish to see my family again before I die.”  “As I get older, I constantly wonder whether they are still alive, and if I will ever see them again.”  Mrs. Hahn sobs.  “I miss my family.  I am heartbroken, and I am tired of this everlasting sadness and pain in my heart.  When I left home, my nephew was 6 or 8 years old.  If he is still alive, he will be over 60 years old.  My parents have probably passed away by now.” 


During this interview, Mrs. Han never mentioned the names of her family members in North Korea, because she was worried it might harm them.  Despite her heartbreak and longing to see her family again, this worry has kept her from participating in any events searching for family members in North Korea.  She came to the United States in 1977 at her married daughter’s request.  She was going to stay for a year in the States, but she has stayed on.  Currently, she is physically so weak that she is at a nursing home. 


She is aware of the gloomy political reality, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming.  “I hope I will be home next year’s Chusuk, and all my family members will sit around together in our old house as we always did and share our stories happily.”