Flowers For My Life: Episode 13
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 ]
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.
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.