Flowers For My Life: Episode 16 (Part 1 of 2)
There’s so much I want to say about this last episode, I didn’t know how to fit it all into a post. So I decided not to worry over what to leave out and just break up the recap into two posts.
I really can’t say enough in praise of Flowers For My Life. It’ll be a long time before I see a drama as good AND as satisfying (so many times you get one without the other). It was both meaningful but entertaining.
What I found particularly notable about this final episode was, for one that deals so directly with death, it wasn’t sad. It wasn’t self-pitying. And it wasn’t depressing. I was pleasantly surprised to be left laughing for most of the episode.
(Random) SONG OF THE DAY
Nell – “안녕히 계세요” (Goodbye) [ zShare download ]
FINAL EPISODE SUMMARY, Part 1 (of 2)
Waking from his ominous nightmare, Ho Sang finds Hana sitting by his bedside, calling him to consciousness. Relieved to find himself still alive, Ho Sang envelops Hana in a hug and tells her, “Thank you for waking me.”
Hana smiles and tells him, “I wanted to see you so much. Why does morning come so late?” He thinks, “When I opened my eyes, seeing her there made me happy. At night, I’d fight the horror of death, but because she was waiting for me in the morning, I was happy. It felt like being born anew every day.”
On their way to another funeral preparation, Ho Sang and Hana sit in the back of the pickup truck to reminisce about the first time they sat like that, on the way to his first funeral. Ho Sang tells her he was so scared of working with dead people, he tried running away his first night (but was caught by Eun Tak). He wonders, “If we hadn’t met then, what would I be doing now?” Hana replies, “Even if we didn’t meet then, we would have met eventually anyway.” Ho Sang: “Because we’re fated?” Hana nods.
Ho Sang’s truly matured, because he asks Hana cheerfully what kind of person it’ll be today. “Whenever we prepare a funeral ceremony, I always learn something, so now I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll be taught today.”
Ho Sang introduces himself to the dead man to pay his respects, and you can see how Ho Sang really is good at this work, because although others might treat it as a job, Ho Sang treats his charges with respect and dignity. He tells the old man that they’ve come to guide him onward, and will do his best to make his way comfortable. He apologizes for any mistakes or deficiencies he may have, and Eun Tak says that Ho Sang in particular is prone to making mistakes. But at least he’s a hard worker.
The man’s widow prepares lunch for them, and Hana tells Eun Tak and Ho Sang that it’s strange how unsaddened she is. The man had a sudden heart attack in his sleep, so it’s not like she had a chance to prepare herself for his death.
Their question is answered as they eat, when the widow asks, “Is it really true that my husband has passed away? Even though he’s elderly, he’s always been a practical joker. I don’t even know how many times he’s pretended to be dead by not getting up, just to startle me. And so, even now it feels like he’s playing a joke with me. It feels like he’s going to come out and say, ‘My silly wife, I got you again!’ He must have planned to go like this. Afraid that if he died suddenly, my heart would stop too, he must have been preparing me in advance.”
Ho Sang wonders when the widow will finally start to feel the reality of her husband’s death, and how long it would take for Hana to get over her sadness when he dies. She says, “I’m not going to exert myself to get over the sadness. Because that time will be a result of me loving you, I’ll accept it naturally.”
Ho Sang mentions a thought he had while tending to the old man — that he was envious of the deceased old man for going away suddenly, without causing additional worry to his loved ones. “I’d thought in my case, I’d feel envious of those who’d stay alive, but as I’ve accepted the truth of my passing, it turns out I’m more envious of those who passed in comfort. How can I go like that? I wish someone could teach me.” But still, he tells Hana, rather than worrying over dying well, he’ll have to think about living well.
Part of what I appreciate about this episode is that Ho Sang doesn’t sink into desperation or self-pity. He picks up a new hobby, does his best to learn it well, and spends more time worrying about the happiness of his loved ones than his impending death. It’s refreshing.
Noting that Pil Gu is still immersed in his depression, and Eun Tak is unable to liven his spirits despite his best efforts, Ho Sang takes Hana to get another puppy to cheer him up, now that Kkul-kkuli is gone. Looking at all the cute puppies, Hana marvels at how all things are cute when they’re young, and Ho Sang says he wasn’t — he was really ugly as a kid. In fact, if they’d met when he was young, she’d never have liked him. Hana says she doesn’t exactly like him for his looks now, and he tells her, “Honestly speaking, you’re not my ideal type either.”
Hana looks at him with a look that scoffs, “Men!” and notes that Nam Kyung is probably his type, and Ho Sang agrees. But, he adds, now Hana’s the prettiest girl in the world to him. He asks if she thinks the same of him, and she says no: “However much I love you, how can I lie like that? This world’s still got Brad Pitt and Jang Dong Gun in it.”
Hana goes on: “I’m really curious to see what you looked when you were young. What you looked like as a baby, how you changed as you grew… How you lived until you met me, when you laughed and when you cried… I want to know every last bit. Why can’t they invent a time machine? If I had one, I’m sure I’d have followed you around starting from when I could walk.”
When presented with the puppy, Pil Gu’s initially excited, then immediately calms himself down and declines. He doesn’t want to grow attached to things anymore, and tells them to return the dog. Ho Sang figures they were too short-sighted, but Hana tells him Pil Gu will warm up quickly. That’s true, because that night, Pil Gu finds his way to the dog house and gets acquainted.
Hana’s father presents Ho Sang with his wages, which Ho Sang tries to refuse, citing no reason for money anymore. Her father doesn’t accept that answer, and tells him to use it to buy Hana something nice. Hana happily accepts it (and Ho Sang notes that it’s courtesy to refuse the money at least once, but Hana tells him, “Why would I refuse? You know how much I like money”) — and she asks if he has anything in particular he’d like to use it for. He DOES have one thing……
He wants to send Hana’s parents on a trip: “I’m embarrassed that I’m using the money you gave me for this, but because it’s an expression of my sincerity, I’d like if you can accept.” Still, her parents feel uncomfortable, and her mother tells him they’ll accept his sincere intention, but not the money. Ho Sang: “You think of me as a son, don’t you? If I’m your son, I should prepare your birthdays, and take you to nice places. That’s only natural. But I won’t be able to do those things in the future… so this time, please accept. It’ll really make me happy.”
So, he sends them away on vacation.
At the same time, Eun Tak takes Pil Gu fishing, and they make it a point to note that they’ll be back late. Eun Tak takes Ho Sang aside to ask knowingly, “I bet you feel thankful. Pay me back later.”
Alone in the house, Ho Sang and Hana look askance at each other, mumbling, “Hm, so what do we do?” “I don�t know. What do you want to do?” Ho Sang suggests going into their own rooms to read or listen to music, which annoys Hana. She calls his bluff and walks off, and he changes his mind.
Ho Sang: “This really isn’t why I sent your parents away.”
Hana: “Right. We didn’t have these intentions at all.”
Ho Sang: “Yeah. We’ll have to think of it as getting a bonus for our filial devotion.”
As they drive to go fishing, Pil Gu notes that Eun Tak’s a good friend, and deserves the same in return. Eun Tak says Hana and Ho Sang are good friends to him:
“I used to only know how to receive things. It was only after meeting you and those friends that I’ve become an adult… Father, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life has been coming here to meet you. If I hadn’t, I would have lived forever resenting you, not knowing what kind of person you were. I also wouldn�t have met such good friends as Hana and Dae Bak.”
Pleased, Pil Gu tells him, “In all my life, the only good thing I’ve ever done was having you.”
Back at home, Ho Sang and Hana have fun playing house, cooking together, watching television, and generally enjoying each other’s company. Ho Sang notes that he hasn’t hurt once that day, saying he’s so happy, his endorphins must be kicking in so he doesn’t feel pain.
Hana: “I have this thought a lot, that you would’ve been a good man to whoever you met, even if it wasn’t me. But if I hadn’t met you, I wouldn�t have become a real woman. So meeting you was the biggest boon of my life.”