Thank you, Irene.
It's been 13 years since my last Mother's Day with Mum. It was in January 2014, that her qigong therapist told my sister Annie and me that we could lose her at any time. "The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. For your mother, the tide is going out," he said. "In her condition, anything can happen at any time."
I told her that I loved her and that it didn't matter if she couldn't say those words back to me because I knew she loved me. Every time she'd call me to tell me to come home for dinner because she'd made one — or many —of my favourite dishes. Every time she'd come home late at night after working for at least 12 hours at her restaurant and despite being dead tired, she'd always place a hand on my forehead to check if I had a fever. She did that for all of us before she could finally have her bath and go to sleep.
She had slipped and fallen at home in November 2003 and though X-rays uncovered no broken bones, she had grown steadily weaker. The last meal she prepared for us was lunch on the first day of Chinese New Year 2004. She apologised that it wasn't up to standard — her standard — although of course, it was delicious as usual. I think she somehow knew it would be the last time she would cook for us.