ATLANTA — The fun times were few and far between. Randy Park, 23, said his mother lived a life of work and not much else to support their small family, so the special moment they shared last week will forever be etched in his memory.
His mother, Hyun Jung Grant, 51, was among the eight people killed at the hands of a shooter who went from spa to spa in the Atlanta area earlier this week. Grant was one of four people identified Friday morning by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.
“She spent her whole life just existing for my brother and I. She never had time to travel,” the son said in a Friday morning interview with NBC News. “She would only be home a certain amount of days every few weeks.”
Park and his younger brother grew up in Seattle, where they lived with other family members.
About 13 years ago, his mother moved the family south for a better life and because of Atlanta’s rich Korean history and acceptance, said Park, a bakery cashier who uses much of his earnings on family bills.
“It’s a very familiar place for a Korean person to come to,” said Park, who was in the fourth grade when the relocation happened.
In their new state, more work meant less time with mom, Park said.
“Obviously, she didn’t have much money when she came. For at least a year, she had to leave us with another family. We never saw her; we would just get calls from her. We didn’t have cellphones at the time,” Park said.
“We would see her in person every now and again, but it was super spaced out,” he added.
The son said his mother usually slept through the night at her Atlanta spa job instead of driving the 30 miles up to Duluth every evening.
At times, she did relax and let her hair down.
She bragged of her love for disco music, and the club scene never got old, Park said.
During those rare occasions, she could dance the night away. She also watched Korean drama and horror films, her son said.
“She was a big kid,” Park said. “She essentially behaved like a teenager.”
The light-hearted times were hard to come by. Then came the last one, about 10 days ago.
She somehow discovered an electronic music song called “The Business” by Tiesto, which turned out to be very old to her son. “I had already heard the song,” Park said.
The mother and son danced around, laughed and smiled. It would be the last time they would.
Asked what he would say to his mom today, Park said, “You did a good job. You’ve done enough and finally get some sleep and rest.”