Thursday, February 20, 2014


"Good-bye" are effective words to say.

Polite yet to-the-point.

After selling the townhouse, our old neighbors freaked when they learned about the new owners' plan to make it a rental. Within hours, we received about 10 emails, requesting new owners' info, who they might rent it to, how they can interview new renters to find neighbors they like...

"We'd rather have neighbors than renters," they said.

"Who do you think you are?"I said, in my head.

In my reply, though, I wrote to them "good-bye."

"Please kindly remove our addresses from future threads...whoever your new neighbors are, I'm sure you'll get to know them in due time...thank you...good-bye."

Good-bye. Period.

Cold and without emotion.

It's easy to act like that with people you care little for.

But good-bye didn't come easily with Anita.

Her son, my husband, didn't want to see her go. No one did. But none of us wanted to see her suffer either, so we were glad she herself let go.

I knew before my husband did. Dosed off around 11 that night, and woke up in a daze a few minutes later to see my mother-in-law next to her son, watching him sleep in the same adoring way I watch my daughters.

I saw my grandpa do the same to me on the night he died -- that's how I know.

The next morning, my husband and I woke up to multiple texts and missed calls from his family.

"It happened at 2:15," his sister told us.

Well, 2:15 a.m on the East Coast is 11:15 p.m. in Seattle.

"Mommy, I don't need that. I've already got one."

She murmured her last words.

Already got what? A ticket to heaven? Guess we won't know for a while. But we do know she left in peace -- walked into death with her mother, who's already in heaven, and her daughters by her side. Geez! That's a good way to go. That's how I'd like to go.

I hope reading this offers you comfort -- to know that when it's time, your loved one(s) will come help you through.

My mother-in-law was flawed.

She was human. But she was loved, and she loved her family like no other could.

As much as I complain to my husband about his big, loud, New Jersey family -- hey, I'm a flawed daughter-in-law as well -- I cannot deny their togetherness, exemplified through past few days' tragedy. No amount of drama can shake the family core -- Anita made certain of that.

Being a mother -- a great, great mother -- was her best feat.

Our second daughter is a spitting image of her.

A half-Chinese baby with French-Syrian features. I hope she's a free spirit like her too.

I don't cry in public.

But I wept and wept during the funeral. Streaky cheeks and running mascara and just a raging mess. I was too sad to care.

"She loved you. She really did," my sisters-in-law said to me, "you make her son so happy."

Good. He gives me a reason to live.

Anita, Mother-in-Law, I will take care of you son. 


So rest in peace.

I can't ever take care of him as well as you did, but I will try.


For now.


  1. My condolences to you and your family. You are lucky to have such good memories with her and she seemed to live a rich life and you were part of it. I know you'll raise your daughters to fondly honor her.

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this. God bless her and your family. Everyone is definitely in my prayers. Isn't something how good-bye can have so many meanings and feelings. Beautiful post.

  3. This was so touching to read. It's never easy to say goodbye to a member of family, no matter how fragile they health might have been. She looks so young and full on life on that photo, really such a tragedy when it happens that we lose loved ones...but best you can do is remember her the way she was and cheesy as it may sound that keeps a part of that person with you...the memory you have of them makes them a part of your life. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  4. Wow, I feel your pain and love for her...I'm so touched that you saw her gazing at her son. Now that I'm a mother, that feels like that would be exactly what I'd do before I go to. I am so sorry for you and your family, no matter what words people say or what you believe in, its always hard to say goodby...


Thanks for stopping by. Comments, links and constructive criticism welcome. Negative, attacking, snark-y commenter - you can still comment, but at least have the courage to show yourself.