Questions I Asked my Mom (Mother’s Day 2020)

Last December, my mom passed away after a year-long battle with brain cancer. She had been mentally deteriorating prior, first in May with a sudden “mini-stroke” and then a coma in December two weeks before her passing. It was absolutely painful to see the gradual decline of her health throughout much of 2019, which made it all the harder to see her go– even to this day, I can’t help but tear up when thinking of my mom.

About a month or so before my mom fell into her coma, I had the opportunity to talk to her about her life up until that point. After all, she had lived a short, but fruitful 59 years, and she allowed me to ask her questions about the life she lived. She was still cognizant back then, so I took the opportunity to ask her three simple, but poignant questions that I wanted to know about her. Nearly five months after her passing, I have the courage to share them with you. Here they are:

1. Are you happy being married to my dad?

*Context* My parents met in graduate school in Los Angeles in the late 1980’s. They met through mutual friends in their co-op dormitory, began dating, and married a couple of years later in 1991. Although they’re both Taiwanese, they had very-different upbringings, and I often wondered as a kid how they managed to stay together despite the arguments and disagreements they had at times.

My mom: Yes, I am happy that I married him. Even if he can be annoying and overbearing at times, he’s considerate and kind. He takes good care of me. I didn’t really date before meeting him, because most of my social group was limited to school. He was the first person outside of my department that I really met.


2. Do you regret anything in life?

My mom: I wish that I hadn’t pushed myself so hard in my younger years. I always felt overshadowed as the middle child of five siblings, and I never felt adequate with myself in schoolwork, especially when I was learning English to go study in the United States. I worked extra hard to prove myself to others, but I ended up missing out on enjoying myself with life. It wasn’t until after I retired (following the cancer diagnosis) that I started to loosen up– especially to travel the world.


3. Did you always know that you always wanted to be a nurse when you were little?

*Context* My mom studied and received her Master’s in Nursing and began working first as a RN at the hospital before working her way up to the Head of the Cardiology Department.

My mom: No, I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a nurse growing up. But I always knew that I wanted to work in the health-care industry. I remember being really interested in biology when I was in grade school, and that just continued from there as I got older. I also knew that I wanted to help people, and I found Nursing to be the best career for that. I’m happy that I got to work as a nurse at one of the top hospitals in the nation for close to 30 years, and I’m glad that I was able to save lots of lives because of that.


There are so many other questions that I wish I could’ve asked my mom, but I also believe that those three questions I asked were the most important. I learned a surprising amount about her through her answers, which I hadn’t known in all of the years I was with her. May she rest in Peace, and I wish all but good things for her in the afterlife.

Thanks for reading and have a good day.


— The Finicky Cynic

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