i lost my mom on 6/22/18. she had a massive stroke on 6/3/18. after giving her a chance to heal in the hospital, we realized she wouldn’t come back to us in a meaningful way. so, per her wishes, we brought her home on hospice to pass at home. her dr’s thought she’d pass quickly after being taken off of the machines, but she stayed with us 8 days until she took her last breath. i was her hospice caregiver those 8 days. it destroyed me to have to be the one to be “strong enough” to help her pass. i was lucky enough, though, to have people around me who love me enough to tell me that i wasn’t healing in the following months. it broke their heart to see me so broken. i eventually found this forum to connect with others who had suffered as i had. grief in common helped me to know i wasn’t the only one who hurt as much as i had. i was able to start to grieve and heal because i knew i wasn’t alone in the pain. i found a way to heal and not feel so disconnected that worked for me. i’m vietnamese. growing up, i never entirely embraced my heritage. my mom had taught me to cook our food, but i never celebrated it. i’ve since embraced my mom’s culinary teachings and my heritage. i found that, through cooking, i feel connect to my mom and my childhood memories and it’s helped me turn a corner in my grief. i honor and celebrate her in every vietnamese dish i cook. it’s the second lunar new year without her, but i’m not lost in my hurt and guilt this time around. this year, my family complimented my cooking and efforts to celebrate the lunar new year as she would’ve wanted. while i’ll never be who i was before losing her, i feel as whole as i can hope to without her here. i’ve done what i could to honor her through my cooking because i realized that cooking is my connection to her. as long as i can cook her dishes, i’ll be connected to her. i miss my mom so much, but through me learning her cooking, i can keep her with me and i can also help my family heal—one dish at a time.