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  • Writer's pictureTeri

Mother's Day Highs and Lows

I'm having a hard time falling asleep. I'm not sure why since I woke up at 4:45am this morning and I had a pretty long day.

Let’s start with the highs:

This morning I tried to vlog instead of post to save me some time and get out of my comfort zone. After five recordings, I thought I recorded a winner, only to find out that there was an error and nothing got saved. Oh well, maybe next time.

I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful day I had at church. It was a special Mother's Day celebration, and I had the opportunity to see and hug all the mothers who have made a significant impact to me and Teri over the past few months. Jumi, Melody, Nga, Jenny, Phoebe, Thanh, Gretchen, and Meli are all incredible women who have touched my heart. I also managed to resist the temptation of donuts.

After church, my brother Edwin made it incredibly easy for me to have a nice Mother's Day lunch with the family at the Caspian restaurant. They all came to my house and picked me up, and we enjoyed a delicious meal together, followed by ice cream. I guess it worked out that I didn’t have a donut. It was a simple yet meaningful family gathering.

I'm thankful for my Mom and her unconditional love for me, especially through all the ups and downs I've had in my marriage. She was able to spend a few Mondays with Teri at the Mariner's cancer support group. Teri would share with me about how much she appreciated the quality time they had together. Thank you Mom.

I'd say my whole week went well for the most part. I also think I'm figuring out what "works" for me regarding this grieving stage. A few friends came over this weekend to listen about what I've learned recently about Teri. Her deep journaling has impacted me even more (in a positive way). I'm also looking forward to hosting one of her former small groups to share more about her. I'm going to try to NOT use PowerPoint, but no promises.

Now, let's move on to the lows:

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see Teri, the mother of our dog, Mayo. Her absence reminded me of a touching moment during the Celebration of Life Service when Pastor Yohan shared a photo of Teri and the kids. Teri had a deep love for children and often went above and beyond to help out at church, sometimes even volunteering at two services. She even took vacation days to attend youth conferences. She was ready and excited to start a family. She even read How We Love Our Kids. Starting a family was "the plan" for us in 2023. We even had an appointment with one of the shortlisted Surrogacy agencies the week after we found out about the cancer.

Moreover, I didn't get the chance to see Teri's mom and my sister-in-law, Khoa, who celebrated her first Mother's day with her baby, Kora. Their absence weighed heavily on my mind throughout the day.

I've been reflecting on a conversation I had the day after Teri’s passing with Ralph, the mortuary coordinator, as well as Khoa and Teri's mom and dad. I'd consider this one of the "defining moments" in April. The Monday following Teri's passing, the four of us took a quick tour of the facility before settling down in Ralph's office. During our conversation, Ralph expressed his condolences and shared something along these lines:

"In my 20+ years of being in this business, it's very rare for me to witness someone passing away at such a young age. My heartfelt condolences go out to you during this difficult time. Erwin, please don't take this the wrong way, but what breaks my heart the most is the unimaginable pain her parents will have to endure. Parents should never have to bury their children."

I can't help but feel a mix of gratitude and sorrow. Gratitude that Teri’s ashes are in Atlanta, and her Mom can visit her as often as she needs. Sorrow that Mom wasn't able to make it in time to see Teri before she passed. Everything happened so quickly. Sorrow that "the plan" changed and that Teri isn't with us today give all the moms a hug. She won't be serving at VBS this year. Mother's Day is a time to celebrate and appreciate the amazing mothers in our lives, but it's also a reminder of the preciousness and fragility of life. While Mother's day is over, I hope we can all cherish every moment we have with our loved ones and remember those who are no longer with us.

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