Drama Recaps
Flowers For My Life: Episode 13
by | June 27, 2007 | 26 Comments

What a great episode. I cried practically all the way through it, but it was a good cry. The satisfying kind. So many great conversations, and lots of great acting. And, as always, gorgeous cinematography.

(Random) SONG OF THE DAY

Rumble Fish – “Smile Again.” [ zShare download ]

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EPISODE 13 SUMMARY

The last time we saw him, Ho Sang collapsed on the sidewalk in pain. At the same time, Hana grocery shops in the markets with her mother, and hides from her the herbal medicine she’s bought for Ho Sang. She happily answers a call coming from Ho Sang’s phone, but it’s rescue services, saying they received an emergency call — the phone’s owner has been sent to the hospital.

They rush to the hospital. Since Ho Sang hasn’t yet told Hana that he’s dying, she pretends she doesn’t see how much pain he’s in. Hana sends her mother home with assurances that it’s nothing, not ready to share news of Ho Sang’s illness. Still, Hana’s mother puts the pieces together, remembering Hana buying medicine at the market and seeing her suspicious tears now. She goes to the medicine store, and the owner tells her the medicine was for a cancer patient.

Hearing the news, Eun Tak worries (knowing about Ho Sang’s cancer) and rushes to the hospital, where he sits with Hana and wonders why she’s not with Ho Sang. She explains that if she’s with him, he’ll try too hard to act like he’s not hurting, and she doesn’t want to burden him. Eun Tak isn’t sure that pretending they don’t know is the right thing to do, because it’s hard on her and Ho Sang. Hana: “But I’ll wait until he tells me. I think when he trusts me, he’ll tell me.”

Eun Tak: “You asked if it would be all right to call me eventually, when you were having a hard time. What if you don’t wait till later, and just use me whenever you need now? I’d like to be of some help to you two.”
Hana: “Thanks. You don’t know how much support that gives me, hearing you say that.”

It’s mildly heartbreaking to see Ho Sang trying to laugh off his illness, and Eun Tak and Hana going along with it. Eun Tak: “Looks like you’re fine. Why do you keep collapsing everywhere?” Ho Sang says smilingly, “I’d always wanted to ride in the back of an ambulance since I was a kid, but I never had the chance.”

Although Hana wants him to stay in the hospital to rest, Ho Sang wants to go home, and she relents. When he remarks that he’s surprised she gave in so quickly, she says, “You know I’ll do whatever you want.” Ho Sang smiles: “That’s right. Wad of gum does whatever I want! I bet you’d even pluck the stars in the sky for me.” Hana tries to keep the wavering smile on her face.


“Later, if you hurt because of me, don’t hate me or think about me. Just forget it all. Forget, and start again.”

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Hana’s mother takes her aside and to talk to her about Ho Sang. And boy, I knew right away from use of the handheld camera that this scene was going to be a doozy.

Hana’s mother asks straight out if Ho Sang has cancer. Confirming the truth, Hana’s mother says she knows Ho Sang’s in a bad situation, but she can’t worry about his welfare over Hana’s. She can’t stand by watching Hana go through hell, being by his side while he dies, and tells her to send Ho Sang away immediately. Hana begs her mother to understand, to let him stay, but her mother is firm.

Crying, Hana tells her she’s committed such a huge sin against Ho Sang that she can’t send him away before she’s made up for it. She confesses that she knew Ho Sang was dying from the start, that she’d deliberately chosen a man with a short life span and lots of money to pursue. That’s why she’d tried to end things once she found out he was poor — but she couldn’t, because by then she’d developed feelings for him.

Stunned, Hana’s mother takes a moment to let that sink in, before she starts hitting Hana in a mad fury, disgusted and angry and horrified. “Are you crazy?! How could you do that? How could you think such frightening thoughts?! Did I raise you like that? Did I raise you to be so cruel?”

Hana begs for her mother not to kick Ho Sang out, so she can find a way to earn forgiveness. Hana’s mother says no — she’ll take responsibility for the sin, she’ll receive the punishment instead. Ho Sang must go.

Hana: “If you send him away, I’ll die first. I love him, Mom. I chased him for money at first, but I really love him. I won’t leave him to be sad alone.”

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Hana’s mother remains angry at her, and in order to have a chance to talk to her without Ho Sang around, she asks Eun Tak to take him out. So the guys go play pool and hang out. On their way home, however, Hana’s mother waits up to have a word alone with Ho Sang.

She tells him essentially what she told Hana — that she has no room to feel sorry for him when she’s thinking of her daughter first, no matter how selfish that makes her. She asks Ho Sang to leave quietly, and never contact their family again. Ho Sang is perhaps most shocked to hear that Hana knows he’s dying but has been cheerfully trying to pretend she doesn’t know, for his sake.

Hana goes looking for Ho Sang and finds him reeling from his talk with her mother.

Ho Sang: “I’m glad summer’s here already. I wish the seasons would pass quickly, so I could see autumn and winter with you too… I’m sorry.”
Hana: “For what?”
Ho Sang: “That I’m this kind of guy. I?(tm)m really sorry. Of all the things in this world, I’m this kind of guy.”
Hana: “Why talk like that?”
Ho Sang: “I didn’t want to hurt you again. If I knew it would turn out like this, I wouldn’t have come back. I’m always feeling sorry to you. I’m so sorry.”
Hana: “If you’re sorry, live by my side for a long time. Live even if it’s hard, even if you’re hurting, even if you want to die. Whatever anyone says, don’t ever run away, just stay with me and live. Don’t be sorry from far away, don’t be sorry for dying. Live for a long, long time by my side, and love me. Then I’ll forgive you.”

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Feeling Hana’s words, Ho Sang speaks with Hana’s mother to make his appeal, although she’s still stiff and angry with him. He asks her for more time, saying he can’t just leave like this. He’s never done anything for Hana — he wants to do something for her before he leaves.

“Even after I’m gone, I want Hana to think of me without pain, remembering me as being happy. I want to let her know how much support she’s been, how happy I’ve been because of her. Please give me a little more time. I’ll leave before I become a burden to Hana. So please, just give me some time. Please.”

Hana’s mother’s icy distance melts as she gives Ho Sang a hug, and asks with a sigh, “What do I do? What do we do with you? Why did you have to get sick?”

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Arriving at some sense of peace, Ho Sang talks to Hana about how he’s unable to repay her mother for all her kindnesses: “I’m sure I’m going to hell.” Hana: “Good, since I’m going there too. We can meet there again.” Ho Sang: “Why would you go to hell?” Hana: “I’ll tell you when we get there.” Ho Sang smiles, joking, “Okay. I’ll get there first and get your place ready.”

Ho Sang and Hana agree to talk about things in the open now, comfortably. Hana’s relieved — it makes her feel better seeing him being strong and brave. Ho Sang: “You made me that way. Because of you, I’m living again.”

This episode really is about confronting the truth — shaking up everyone’s cocoon of safety and letting the chips fall where they may. It lets us see how everyone reacts to Ho Sang’s impending death, and each person deals with their emotions differently — but not tragically melodramatic about it. Each person learns, reacts, and accepts it in a realistic way that makes it that much more touching.

Next up is Hana’s father, who’s shocked to hear Ho Sang’s dying when Hana’s mother can’t contain it anymore. He reacts by going to see a man whose son’s funeral he’d handled two years ago. Hana’s father tells the man that he remembers how peaceful his son’s face looked in death: “Like your son, someone I think of as my son is suffering from cancer. I didn’t know what I can do for him, so I came to ask for your help.”

Later, Ho Sang goes into his room and is touched to see Hana’s parents there, spreading some kind of grass or leaves on the floor. Without launching into pity or sorrow, they matter-of-factly tell him the mat will help him sweat out his toxins.

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Eun Tak’s called to take care of a funeral for a man with no family — apparently Hana’s father is one of very few morticians who will take on these cases, because they don’t get paid for their services.

Ho Sang asks to go along, and afterward, he asks Eun Tak to take care of dressing his body later (when he passes away). By then, his body will have deteriorated a lot, and he doesn’t want Hana or her father to see him like that. He’d like Eun Tak to take care of it. Seeing Eun Tak’s serious face, Ho Sang assures him not to take it so gravely. “Just think of it as a present you’re giving me. On birthdays, friends get you things that you need, right? It’s like that. Like we get gifts on the day we’re born, I’ll get a gift on the day I die.”

Eun Tak agrees, and Ho Sang tells him, “Thanks, friend.” They start bickering over the term “friend,” but Ho Sang tells Eun Tak, just like Hana did earlier, “It’s such solid support having you here.”

Driving back, Ho Sang gets more abdominal pains and asks to pull over the car while he rests. Uncomfortable at watching (or unable to) Ho Sang in pain, Eun Tak gets out of the car… and wipes away a tear of his own.

Ho Sang suggests that they call Nam Kyung and go have some fun. Eun Tak worries over his pains, but Ho Sang tells him he wants to get out while he still can.

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Thus the foursome go bowling together. Hana apologizes to Nam Kyung for stealing away all her time with Ho Sang. But Nam Kyung tells her she’s happy to see Ho Sang looking happy, and is grateful to be included like this. Whenever she thinks back to all the times Ho Sang made her laugh in the past, she still gets a laugh now: “So Hana, you have to make lots of memories with Ho Sang too.”

Hana: “I want to remember every single moment, but I’m afraid I’ll forget even one.”
Nam Kyung: “You won’t forget. Although we can forget things in our heads, I’ve found we don’t forget things kept in our hearts.”

Ho Sang asks Eun Tak: “Even when I’m gone, you and Nam Kyung will be with Hana, won’t you?” Eun Tak answers yes, and Ho Sang continues: “Hana won’t be lonely by herself, will she?” and Eun Tak agrees again. I’m taking this to mean Ho Sang sees Eun Tak being with Hana after he dies, and somewhat giving his blessing.

Ho Sang tells Hana about the funeral service he prepared for the man earlier that day. Looking at the lonely man, he felt lucky — the guy was like the former Ho Sang, without a name or people around him. “But I’m not like that anymore. I’m so thankful.” Hana tells him the man must’ve been happy too, that the person caring for his funeral was able to understand him so well.

Ho Sang: “I’ve always thought I was someone who had nothing, but now I feel like I have everything. I have a woman who likes me, friends who worry about me, work I want to do. I have nothing more to ask for… except for just one thing.”
Hana: “What’s that?”
Ho Sang: “A miracle.”

Although Ho Sang he knows miracles won’t happen, he can’t help but hope for one in the corner of his heart. Hana answers: “I think we’ve already had our miracle. Being together like this, caring for each other, that’s a miracle. So even if we don’t have any more, let’s not be too sad.” Ho Sang says okay, and Hana asks, half-jokingly, if they ought to try asking for one more miracle, just in case — that his illness disappears.

So they pray.

Ho Sang’s voiceover tells us: “Although my prayer was earnest, I didn’t feel hopeless or sad. Even if my prayer wasn’t going to be answered, I didn’t resent anyone. Heaven’s warm breeze surrounding me allowed me to even forgive my fate.”

Even Madam Gong deals with hearing about Ho Sang — running into Hana and Ho Sang, she tries to pretend she doesn’t know but does a bad job hiding it. She excuses herself to give herself time to cry away from them. Ho Sang figures she must know, and shouts through the door for her not to worry, he’s fine.

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At home, Hana’s mother prays as well, asking that Ho Sang be given a little more time. Ho Sang, lying inside the coffin to defy his fear of it, hears her appeal and is touched. His smile fades, however, when he hears Hana’s mother pleading for forgiveness for Hana’s sin in seeking a man with money and a short life, and asks to take on her punishment in her daughter’s place.

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After Hana’s mother leaves, Ho Sang sits up in a dull shock, and gives Hana a look he hasn’t quite given her before.

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26 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. veronica

    I CRYED THIS WHOLE EPISODE.
    literally.

  2. ginnie

    Javabeans:

    Is something missing?

    This particular sentence below starts like this?

    man with no family — apparently Hana’s father is one of very few morticians who will take on these cases, because they don’t get paid for their services.

  3. javabeans

    ginnie, the sentence should start “Eun Tak’s called to take care of a funeral for a man with no family”… i wonder if it’s a browser glitch or something because of the way the pic is formatted. i’ll try to fiddle with it. (i use firefox, which reads things more easily than internet explorer many times)

  4. ginnie

    That’s bizarre..why don’t I see that sentence?

    My Explorer shows this sentence aligned to the right, next to a screencap of toxic mat :
    Without launching into pity or sorrow, they matter-of-factly tell him the mat will help him sweat out his toxins.

    Followed by a blank space next to another cap of ET-HS on the right…and then it starts off at a new line with ” man with no family….”

    Thanks for letting me know what was the sentence before that.

    When it comes to a time when HS have to leave Hana, I think she won’t cry anymore. She’s lucky to have the chance to bid him good bye with time and eventually he will forgive what she intended to do but never did.

  5. Jessica

    JAVABEANS!!! You need a WAY LARGER DISCLAIMER THAT THIS RECAP IS

    *** NOT SAFE FOR WORK !!! ***

    OMG!

    I can’t believe how much I was tearing up just _reading_ it. I can’t imagine how I will feel when I watch it.

    I had several coworkers ask what was wrong because my eyes were all read and I was sniffling!! I had to say it was cramps… aish….

    WOW! You are an amazing writer. Able to capture the emotion here. Thank you so much!

  6. tsunamiblues

    “I’m sure I’m going to hell.” Hana: “Good, since I’m going there too.

    I was about to cry, but when I got to this part it made me laugh out loud, it is so sad but so funny too!! Just this part is sad and funny I mean

  7. tsunamiblues

    Nam Kyung: “You won’t forget. Although we can forget things in our heads, I’ve found we don’t forget things kept in our hearts.”

    Ho Sang: “I’ve always thought I was someone who had nothing, but now I feel like I have everything. I have a woman who likes me, friends who worry about me, work I want to do. I have nothing more to ask for… except for just one thing.”
    Hana: “What’s that?”
    Ho Sang: “A miracle.”

    OMG, the tears won’t stop after the laughter faded away, and that ending was too much for my poor heart, the look of shocked betrayal. Hana has some explaining to do. I really wish he wouldn’t die, but like I wrote in Soompi

    “even though I wish Ho Sang wouldn’t die, I know he will, and that in itself is something we all have to learn about life. Death, happens to us all, but not all of us get to really live, or love another person. Even though a person dies, that doesn’t mean it is the end of their existence. No, a person lives as long as you remember them, they live in your heart and in your memories, and for Hana that is how Ho Sang can keep on living for her. God, I am trying to prepare myself for the finale.”

    My heart hurts for Hana, it makes me think that even if love gets taken away from us, the fact that we got to have it for even a moment is more than enough. I look forward to the finale of this wonderfully done drama with tears, but also faith that even in death, people can still live on. I think that is one of the themes in this drama. Also, that instead of fearing death, we should embrace it and live our last moments with people we love, smiles, and lots of laughter.

  8. Auntie Mame

    Dear Javabean,

    As with everyone else, I cried just from reading your summary. You are truly an amazing writer.

    I can understand that this drama is not to everyone’s taste; especially the more traditional asian communities. Since being an undertaker is not highly thought of as a profession, they probably dismissed this program right from the beginning.

    But, I liked it from the very first episode. Of course, it may be that my sense of humor and perspective toward things are not quite the norm. For example, I’ve always said that, after I retired, I’ll go back to work as a part-time morgue attendant because it’s quiet and nobody will talk back to me. (I work in the “live” part of a hospital.) And, I really appreciated Hana’s statement that, while other kids played with dolls, she played with dead people. … “they both don’t talk.” My sentiments exactly.

    I love reading your blog. Your blog is the only one in which I’ve participated. Thanks so much!

  9. Marzy

    ahhh omg sarah, this is one emotional and teary eyed summary. im at the ofc tearing up and people must wonder why. this episode was beautifully done and really touching. i felt to so sad at the ho sang and hana dialogues too. how everybody cherishes ho sang. but that last scene was just priceless. the look on ho sang’s face. aigooo..

    as tsunami has said, we have learned lots from this drama and will continue to learn things about life and death. they have done a great drama, wonderful meaningful story too. i can only many others will see this drama as a rarity and something unforgettable, appreciate how its sublity and its poignancy in every story they tell about these people.

  10. 10 wandergirl

    I was just reading and it already made me cry, how much more when I watch the actual episode?!

  11. 11 nhetski

    Sarah, u r one amazing writer! thank u so much for ‘blogging your kdrama obsession’!

  12. 12 amoeba

    u’re awesome javabeans..this episode is just damn good :'( i got hooked since 1st episode..i really enjoy this drama tho it’s about life & death..they all did a great job ..i hope they would know that many people out there are supporting them..i don’t care about the rating..GREAT DRAMA..great drama

  13. 13 Vivagirl

    thanks javabeans, i had been following your recaps & summary =)
    i just can’t commit time to catch the series.
    it was such a sad ep as everything is coming out into the open, i feel so sad when hosang overhears hana’s mum praying but left out the part where hana earlier declared that she loves hosang now. just when hosang is settling down with his illness & stuffs, this misunderstanding had to happen. i have a feeling hosang will disappear again, this time to bid him mum one last gd bye and i really really hope he just goes somewhere and gives us a hope that he is still alive elsewhere rather then him staying with hana and ends his life there… i like hosang so much that i don’t want to see him die. maybe there might be a miracle for him. counting down to 2 eps…. hosang aja aja fighting!

  14. 14 Bwitched

    awesome awesome writing by an awesome writer. I cried when I watched the episode without sub, and now here I am again, crying like a fool just by reading ur summary..

  15. 15 lollipop2000

    Oh no! I’m going to cry buckets when I catch this ep on KBS World and I cried only by just reading your caps. Its so painful to see the agony Hana is going thru for Ho sang. Everyone’s praying for a miracle but the miracle is as what Ho Sang said that now he has somebody by his side, someone who will care for him even when he passed on. How many lonely people is out there who felt this way. I felt for this series because everyone fear of dying alone and that noone cares for them and sometimes I do feel this way.(seriously crying hard now) FYi keep up the good capping Javabeans.

  16. 16 ripgal

    Sarah…thank you so much for recapping the drama.
    Initially I was hesitant in reading your summaries because I wanted to watch the eps with subs..but i literally gave in because I wanted to know more.

    And can you believe it? I actually cried reading your summaries. *from Ep 9 onwards* It’s actually my first time bawling over a written story…I know you’re just interpreting the episodes in your own words, but I couldn’t help but cry reading all the conversations and the illustrations you made. I’m still trying to control my tears as I’m writing this para here. This is just so unbelievable..

    I don’t know how I’m gonna handle watching the actual episodes now. My heart aches so much for Ho Sang and Hana..in fact I also feel so bad for Nam Kyeong and Eun Tak. They both have their own issues to handle with, but little did they realise Ho Sang’s sickness can affect them so deeply as well. OMG…my tears…… T______________________T

    Once again, thank you so much Sarah. You’ve really outdone yourself with Flowers. Keep up with the good work “whilst Jo wipes her overflowing tears*

  17. 17 Joenjwang

    I love Rumble Fish.
    >

  18. 18 blueseeker

    You were right, this episode seems to be quite touching…..too bad it was ruined at the end with hearing what Hana did.

  19. 19 gna4

    Thanks, for your post.

    This was a sad episode, it made me cry. and I havent even watched it^^

  20. 20 catinmyfridge

    LOL, too many people skimping work.
    Javabeans, you must know a lot about writing. I really learn a lot just by reading your posts.
    I do enjoy my share of K-dramas, but I do wish they would do something different sometimes.

  21. 21 Samantha

    this was soooo sad i really hope everything works out. [sad]

  22. 22 Nonbirira

    I cried through the whole thing too – I call them “honest” tears because they just crawled down my face all on their own. No overwrought plot maniplation put them there – just extremely moving dialogs and images that went straight to my heart. Exceptionally well done. Can’t get over the writing or the acting. (Oh goodness, my eyes aren’t going to recover by tomorrow morning…) Am strictly forbidding myself to read anything here before I watch the next episode. Ah, self discipline! Not my strong point!

  23. 23 Sere

    Sarah, I can only describe this drama as heartbreaking and yet hearwarming. That should be a contradiction in terms, but somehow Flowers manages to be all that and something more. o/

    PS: I don’t think Eun Tak was unable to watch Ho sang in pain and thus left the car. Well, yea, that’s one of the reasons, but I thought he did it for Ho sang mostly…in order to let him vent his pain. I mean, Eun Take left pretty much as soon as Ho sang asked him to turn the radio on which to me seems a sign that he’s uncomfortable in showing his pain so plainly.

  24. 24 Marjj

    GAHH. I haven’t cried so much due to one kdrama episode before. I couldn’t even see the pause button my eyes were so clouded up.
    The scene where he hugged her – I cried. Where they were on the steps – I cried. When he asked Eun Tak for his ‘gift’ – I cried. When the dad gets the pine needles – I cried. The scene where they prayed for one last mircale – I cried (a lot) ETC ETC ETC (I think you get it by now)

    I think all the crying is because everyone knows Ho Sang’s fate and yes they’re sad, but they’re all trying to follow his wishes and desicion through and not show sadness in order to make his situation easier and better, especially Hana – she’s set on doing everything she can to make him happy until the end. She’s trying to love him as much as she can in the short time left (Geeez *sob*). The episode’s so true to reality, regarding the concept of confrontation and handling emotions in such situations where people, and family and friends around, them accept such news and strive to live life to the fullest – it’s so saddd =[
    Also the acting, directing, script writing etc was great. I hate how everytime Ho Sang smiled I would break down – this is only a drama, but gahh, it’s shaking me up.

    Ahhh, I can’t wait to see what happens! Keep up the good reviews again dramabeans!! I’m so thankful I decided to finally watch this drama after seeing how much you liked it. I put it off for a while since I couldn’t find complete episodes with subs, but I persevered and bamm, look at me now =] (In floods of tears, that’s just greatttt, hehee)

  25. 25 Gsell

    Wow.. here I am procrastinating and picking randomly from your list of finished recap. Found myself keep reading episode after episode until my eyes hurt (I’ve been making presentation and writing the whole day today).
    And guess what.. I cried throughout this episode. I can’t imagine how much I would cry more if I actually watch this show. Thanks javabean!

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