“I love you.” “Forever.”

My soulmate is at peace. Mom asked me to write her obituary just weeks ago. In true Tae Sun fashion, she made special requests for her funeral. For some reason though, she wouldn’t tell me what to include in her obituary. She only said, “I trust you.” Although my heart is shattered, my body, mind & soul are filled with light, love & respect for my beautiful mom.

Tae Sun Eklund, 58, died peacefully on March 9, 2013 at her home in Cibolo, Texas surrounded by family and best friends. Her 9-month cancer battle was marked by her beautiful courage, giving spirit, unwavering faith and witty one-liners. Even during her hardest days, Tae Sun continued worrying about everyone else, making traditional Korean soups for visitors and creating gift baskets for doctors. Making others smile was her passion until her final days. In fact, she’d tell us to stop crying right now because it causes wrinkles.

She was born on April 21, 1954 in Namwon City, South Korea. Tae Sun was the oldest of 5 children of her late parents Ho-Youn Hwang and Bu-Nam Cho. Her bravery, boldness and smarts were evident at only 3 years old, when she started kindergarten. Tae Sun was always ahead of the class and excelled in everything she studied, including a brief medical career in South Korea. As a nurse’s assistant, Tae Sun cared for patients in an orthopedic surgery wing; calling it a fulfilling time of her life.

In 1975, Tae Sun decided to make another dream come true by moving to the United States. With a Korean-English dictionary, small savings and strong will, she set out to bring her entire family to America. That eventually became a reality in the late 1980s, when Tae Sun brought her parents and siblings to Fairbanks, Alaska to help them accomplish their own goals.

Alaska was one of the many places Tae Sun called home. She planted roots throughout the world: Mountain Home, ID; Denver, CO; Oxford, England; Edwards Air Force Base, California; Okinawa, Japan; Del Rio, Texas; Eielson AFB, Alaska; and finally, the San Antonio area. She was extremely proud to be an Air Force wife.

Tae Sun held many jobs (from a music DJ to a daycare owner) and had a long-time career as a project manager for a government contract on Eielson AFB, working tirelessly to support family. Her work ethic is something we’ll never forget, but she didn’t want to be remembered by what she did for a living. Instead, how she lived for others. Her volunteer accomplishments include teaching Sunday school at First Korean Presbyterian Church, organizing Vacation Bible School camps, serving as President of Korean American Association of San Antonio and being a long-time member of the Korean American Institute for Human Rights. Somehow, she still made time to attend Bible studies, nurture friends in need and host traveling Koreans to stay in her home.

Her husband David and daughters Cindy and Jessica were her ultimate pride and joy. Tae Sun was not only a wife and mother, but also their best friend who led by example. She instilled in them to love God, be true to others and work every day at being a better person. Those strong morals will undoubtedly be passed onto Luke Emmons, Tae Sun’s first grandchild due April 6. Grandma Tae Sun’s lessons will continue as her family grows.

Tae Sun was known for her tough love: constantly nagging loved ones to eat more, drive carefully, get off your cell phone and sit up straight. Her tender heart intertwined perfectly with her sassy personality earning her the nickname “Tae Sizzle.”

Tae Sun left behind a legacy: husband of 27 years David Eklund, Cindy Cieluch Ohman (Matthew); Jessica Emmons (John-Austin & Luke); Sandra Cieluch; sister Chung Soon Lim (Chang Sik); sister Chung Im Wiseman (Al); sister Jae In Kim (Kevin, Jonathan & Andrew); brother In Kwan Hwang (Aggie), parents-in-law David & Joan Eklund, brother-in-law Steve (Terry, Rachel, Zac & Shiloh); her faithful dogs Bailee, Parker & Beauxgey and numerous family members. Her husband describes her as selfless, her siblings consider her a hero and her daughters will forever miss their soulmate.

In the last message her family received before she passed away, a niece described Tae Sun simply and perfectly: “There really is no one like you.”

SWEETHEART SALE

Your entire online gallery is 30% off through Valentine’s Day.

That means prints, canvas wraps, DVDs, everything.

An added bonus: FREE shipping directly to your home.

When checking out, use the promo code: LAUGH&LOVE

3 Generations

The closer my sister gets to becoming a mom, the more she resembles our mom.

~ Jessica’s baby shower on Saturday, January 14, 2013 ~

J is for Jaymee. K is for Kimchi.

My friend Jaymee is officially half-Korean!

The Great Falls native/San Francisco sports reporter/food blogger took her time, love & effort to whip up a batch of kimchi!

Seriously, I am so completely honored & moved that she featured my mom’s cucumber kimchi recipe on her “e is for eat” blog.  Normally, I’d write a long story about how we know each other…..but ALL you have to do is click on this link to check out her blog.  It’s colorful (both the photos & words), easy to follow and inspires you to make everything she blogs about!

Kamsa-hamnida, Jaymee!

KRTV newsroom in July 2003 – the month Jaymee + I first met

e is for eat: www.eisforeat.com

 

Home

For most of you, it’s no surprise I’ve been taking a break from blogging.  Sure, I update my Facebook & Instagram to document my day-to-day happenings.  That’s all quick, easy & fun. I’ve also been doing photo shoots, editing and holding meetings at the studio.  But blogging is something I typically save for last…because it’s very personal for me.  This is a place where I’ve shared snippets of my life, marriage, travels & health (before I even knew about Facebook).  So, here I go again…..

Since my mom was diagnosed with cancer on June 14th, I’ve been pouring most of my energy and free time into my family who lives across the country.  With countless back-and-forth flights to San Antonio, road trips to MD Anderson in Houston, then Thanksgiving & Christmas, I’ve spent a total of nearly 4 months in Texas.  Being able to sit right next to my mom during her appointments, treatments & tests is something I will cherish forever.  Even those awful, heartbreaking moments took our relationship to a deeper, more connected level.

There’s no place I would’ve rather been than THERE…holding her hand.  Crying with her.  Reminiscing with her.  Arguing with her.  Laughing with her.

This past year has changed me, my perspective, my priorities and my future goals.  While I’ve often felt like I’m walking in fog, I’ve also never seen this clearly.

We did not allow cancer to completely take over our last half of 2012.  Throughout all of the challenges & confusion — there was SO MUCH BEAUTY.  Conversations we would’ve never had, if not forced to face such a scary situation.  A strong bond with others walking a similar path.  Reunions with friends who my mom hadn’t seen for years.  Programming ourselves to MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT.

Along with my studio support team, my understanding & caring clients helped me during this trying time.  Whether it was rescheduling photo shoots, meeting at late hours or laughing when I had a brain fart…I have developed some beautiful personal relationships with my incredible clients.  Clients who have given cards, gifts, words of wisdom or a simple hug.  Clients who mailed care packages down to Texas…even though they’ve never met my mom.  I remember every single gesture.  And so does my mom.  Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude.

Today seemed like the perfect time to get back to blogging.  That’s because today, I turned 35 years old.

I’m going to share an unforgettable moment of my 34th year.  It’s when Matt & I traveled to England in May with my clients/close friends Chad & Melissa.  On one bright morning, they whisked me away in a big gray van that drove us to Oxford.  Our driver acted like he was simply giving us a generic tour of the city.  Then…all of a sudden….we pulled up into this neighborhood.  I instantly recognized the white houses from old pictures of my mom.  Tears poured down my face, as Matt, Chad & Melissa smiled.  When the van parked, they all said, “We couldn’t come all this way without going to where you were born.”

Me + my first home in Upper Heyford (Oxford), England


 

My mom in nearly the exact same spot…35 years ago.

Today, I view my birthday as my mom’s 35th anniversary of being a MOM.

On that day of my birth, I was blessed with the greatest gift of all: HER.

Cyber Monday Mania

Cyber Monday is typically my biggest sale of the year.

This time, I’m going a little crazier. That’s simply because I am so dang THANKFUL for YOU.  Enough said.

Here’s the sale!  FROM NOW UNTIL END OF MONDAY:

PRINTS: Spend more than $100 and receive 40% OFF PRINTS!  All orders must be placed through your online galleries.

 

DVDs: 50% OFF!  You can buy your favorite 40 images from a portrait session for HALF OFF the normal $900.  So for $450, you receive your top 40 images all beautifully edited and ready to print.  You will get a copyright release form to print them, design your own album, etc!  *All DVD orders must be placed by emailing me: orders@cindycieluch.com *DVDs will be ready for pickup in January

When checking out online, use the PROMO CODE: thankful

Happy Shopping!

 

 

The Gift of Photographs + Memories

~GIFT CARD SALE~

Buy a photo session now & save $100!

Stick it under the Christmas tree. Surprise someone on New Year’s. Spoil yourself.

When you buy a photo session for $250 (normal fee is $350), you will receive a fun gift card wrapped up in a cute box & bow. Then book your shoot for anytime in 2013.

Email me at orders@cindycieluch.com

Offer expires on Friday, Nov.30!

Happy birthday, Grayson!

My 1st baby photo shoot was of you…when you were 6 months old.

Today, you turned 6 years old.

F a c e b o o k