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Updated: Jan 4, 2023

Around 8:30 a.m., my bedroom door swung wide open as I turned around to see my husband, Dennis, coming in unexpectedly. He walked fast toward me, hugged me real tight, and started to sob. For the first time knowing him for six years, I felt his pain as he cried uncontrollably. I did no less. After a few minutes, he went into the bathroom to change. We hardly said anything to each other while driving to our mom’s home.

Dennis came home 30 minutes before planned. He was out on a business trip, but when he got the call in the middle of the night that our mom has passed away around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, he drove home six hours straight from Sunnyvale, California. What went to his mind for those long commute hours? I wish I was there with him!

Mom didn’t have time to say goodbye to all her loved ones, or did she choose to go quietly?

As we were approaching mom’s home, we saw our three sisters strolling on the same streets that mom took almost every day when she was well. I got emotional. As soon as we parked our car, I came out and hugged each sister. I cried so much with them. Their loss is no less than mine because mom was more than a mother-in-law to me.

When we got to mom’s home, the paramedic already took her to the hospital for checkups. We stayed there for a few hours. Our youngest sister, D confided to us about mom’s condition that we didn't know. She said that mom acted strangely lately for she lost interest in decorating her house for Christmas. There were times, she caught mom staring at her for a period of time. She felt mom wanted to tell her something, but she didn’t want to. She kept telling D that she didn’t want her to go to work. She wanted D to stay with her 24/7. Mom knew her days were coming closer, but she didn’t let anyone know. She was afraid of going to stay in the hospital. She repeatedly said she wanted to die at home. She got her wish!

In retrospect, I feel so sad for our mom dealing with the pain she had alone. She didn’t let anyone know or feel sorry for her. She was such a tough woman to the end of her time.

Before living with D, she lived alone for about ten years in an apartment complex for senior citizens living independently. While in good health, she often helped others in her apartment. Sometimes she did the laundry for them and brought mails in for them. Every day she played puzzles to entertain her mind. In addition, she was the leader of celebrating birthdays and other holidays. Thanks to her daily use of mental and physical activities, her mind was still very lucid in her late 80th. I really admired her for being able to climb and descend staircases even better than I did. Not only that, but she also had a hobby of dancing. I caught her a few times dancing her happy feet. I always saw her cheerful. However, her health clearly deteriorated when she turned 84 as she had a few bad falls.

Mom told me that she wanted to live to 100. Every day she went out for a long walk. Each time we picked her up for brunches, she always put on makeup. Her hair was always on point. She never showed any sign of weaknesses. She said her mom had taught her to look at her best always.

In May 2017, I gained a mom whom I love with all my heart. She was more than a mother-in-law to me! In the last several years, I got to call her mom, the term was not familiar to me for over 30 years living in America without my parents or siblings. She filled my heart with nothing but so much love and kindness. I’ll miss her so much! I am crying right now as I pen down my thought. I will miss our time together. I will miss her hugs and kisses. I will miss her beautiful smile, and I will miss her gentleness and everything about her. May God bless her soul. Rest In Peace, Mom! Until we meet again.

Your beloved daughter-in-law,

Crystal H. Vo

December 16, 2020

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