ABC News' Eva Pilgrim, who was born in South Korea and whose family fled North Korea before the Korean War, reflects on what the historic U.S.-North Korea summit means to her and what it would mean to her grandmother. Read her reporter's notebook below.
Watching history unfold in Singapore I couldn't help but think of my Korean grandmother. My Halmony as we called her was born and raised on the northeastern part of the Korean peninsula in what is now considered North Korea. She and her little brother escaped south from Hamhung to Seoul when the conflict broke out. They left the rest of their family behind.
I remember stories my Halmony would tell me about where she grew up and where she was from. She talked about it a lot. She described the mountains and beaches nearby. She talked about her family and always talked about hoping one day she would get to go home. I remember her worrying and wondering about her family.
What happened to them? Did they have kids? Were they okay?
Those questions were things she couldn't stop thinking about.
"I remember her worrying and wondering about her family"
My mother tells me my Halmony on more than one occasion tried to find her family. She searched lists of names hopeful to see them on there. She sent messages and money in metal containers hopeful it would get to them. We never heard anything back.
I was in high school when my Halmony was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. My mother spent months in Seoul taking care of her. She was a tough woman who while soft with us at times wasn't overly emotional about much.
The one thing she wanted was to go home. There was this overwhelming yearning in her heart to return to the place she was raised. It was her dying wish. When she passed our family had her cremated. My mother and her siblings did as they were instructed by her to do. They took her remains as far north on the eastern South Korea shoreline as possible and sprinkled her into the ocean. She hoped the ocean would finally take her back home.
Talking to my mom today in the aftermath of all that has happened in the past 24 hours, she is optimistic but very much skeptical. This has been the normal for so long. Until there is a tangible outline, my mom has a hard time believing anything will really change. She also worries what this means for her friends and family in Seoul.
Will my mom ever be able to see Hamhung herself? I don't know.
Can we really trust this to be more than just talk?
My mom's take is that we will have to wait and see.