When people think of the world's greatest tragic romances, they may conjure up Romeo and Juliet, Rhett and Scarlet, or Cathy and Heathcliff. However, I hope after this, people will also think of Eung-Tae Lee and his widow.
In 1998, South Korean archaeologists found the mummified remains of Eung-Tae Lee, who died in 1586, buried with one of the saddest, most romantic letters I have ever read, written by his widow. Here's just a small snippet: (hat tip to Letters of Note...seriously, folks, it is the best blog out there right now.)
How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, "Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?" How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?
So long ago, and she was so distraught, she could easily have jumped off the nearest Lover's Leap to rejoin her love. But she didn't! She had to raise their son, and here's the dramatic twist...SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH THEIR SECOND!!! So instead of completely succombing to her grief, she cut off her hair, weaved her locks into one last pair of sandals for her husband, and buried them with him! Even Sophocles and Shakespeare couldn't come up with a gesture more poignant than that. Le sigh.
Romance, it's in our blood, Kimchi brothers and sisters, and for much longer than "Winter Sonata" has been on syndication. Now go forth and woo.