100 Days

Dear Mẹ,

You’ve gone for 100 days and not a moment went by without you on my mind. I miss you madly, mẹ. Life has not been the same without you. My broken heart has yet to mend and my wounded soul has yet to heal.

I am so sorry that I could not save you from the deadly virus. I am so sorry that I could not be with you when you needed me the most. I am so sorry that I failed you. I am so sorry that I could never reciprocate all the love you had given me and all the sacrifices you had made for me. The guilt will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I am trying to move on, but I can’t get over what happened to you. How your life was robbed, I just can’t shake it off. It still enrages to think how easily it could have been prevented. It kills me inside to remember how you suffered and faced death. When I took Vương to the emergency room a few weeks ago, the hospital bed and the screens made me think of you. When the nurse took his oxygen level, I almost wept. His number was 100. In retrospect, my heart sank every time your oxygen level dropped.

As millions of Americans are getting vaccinated everyday, the pandemic is getting under control. I am getting my first shot tomorrow, 101 days after you have gone. I wish you were still here to get your shots. America will return to normal again, but my life will never be changed forever. This virus had taken away the greatest love of my life. I will never forget it or forgive it. I despise this virus and I do whatever I can to stop the spread.

I recently completed a project on COVID and Climate. I hope that the information will help people stay informed and start a conversation. I dedicate this project to you, Mẹ. The day that we had to decide whether to put you on the ventilator or not was also the day that I was supposed to kick off this project. I called off the meeting and cancelled the contract so I could focus on you. Besides, I could not think about anything else at that time. You were on my mind the entire time. Once I got back to work, I wanted to pick up that project again. Thankfully, it was still there for me to do.

I wish we could have debunked disinformation about this virus early on, especially in the Vietnamese-American community. I wish that wearing masks was a life-saving motivation rather than a political division. I wish that people were not so crazy about the cultist president who fed them kool-aid and bleach.

It is history now, but I have lost you. My brain still hurts and my heart is still heavy. I still haven’t found the light to drive me out of the darkness. Don’t worry, Mẹ. Other than expressing these feelings in writing, I keep them to myself. I don’t want my grief to have an effect on others, especially your grandchildren. They missed you deeply as well. You will always be in their hearts. They still remember the times they spent with you. How could they not remember someone who loved them unconditionally and gave them sweets any time of the day and night?

I love you so much, Mẹ.