Still Can’t Let Go

Sunday evening I drove the kids home after spending two hours at the skatepark. The kids (Đạo, Đán, and Khôi) were talking about going back to school in person. As we passed the cemetery where my father-in-law’s buried, Đán said, “I missed my friends from school because of the pandemic. I also lost bà nội (grandma) from the pandemic.” I wept a little.

I try to remember my mother from all the wonderful memories we had together. From the sound of her voice to the beauty of her smile, I can still feel her close to me. Unfortunately, my mind automatically returns to the horrid images of her battling for her life. Her ballooned face and crooked mouth trapped on the ventilator have burnt into my brain.

The guilts, the regrets, the rages, the pains, and the sorrows are inescapable. They creep up on me any time of the day. This morning, I woke up and just missed her terribly. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t read. I just wanted to pull out my phone and write about her.

With work and the kids, I try to stay busy, but I still can’t move on. I gave up on the words from Buddha. I was hoping they would help me, but I just couldn’t overcome the miseries inside of me. She had passed, but I still am struggling to accept the reality that COVID-19 killed her. Given the number of people all around the world who have died from COVID-19, it’s a selfish thought, but why my mother? Of course I know the reason. I just still can’t get over it.

There was nothing I could have done for her. It’s all over now. Why do I keep agonizing over it? I am just making myself suffer and depress. I fucking know that, but I can’t help it. The more I try to put the past behind me, the more it haunts me. I miss her too damn much.