26 January, 2020


There was no indication. She seemed fine.

I mean, okay, last month she found out that all the breathing trouble she'd been having wasn't just a form of bronchitis. She had a pulmonary embolism (fancy talk for a blood clot in her lung). 

Drugs - blood thinners, maybe? - took care of it and she was doing fine.

I checked in with her regularly.
Me: How you feeling today?
📞 *talk for about 15 minutes*

~ 2 weeks later
Me: Merry Christmas! How's your lung?
Her: Sleeping well and breathing better.

Somewhere in here, she had a check up with the cardiologist who told her she was fine and he'd see her in six months.
~ 1.5 weeks later
Me: Are you breathing okay?
Her: Absolutely, sleeping normal and not running out of breath with normal activities.

Five days after that last message, my sister, 53 years old, dropped dead of a heart attack.

That's all I got. I'm numb. What can I say?

She is the person I talk to the most from back home. She's the one who keeps tabs on my dad, when my mom insists everyone is "fine". She's the one who works with me to get gifts to people while I live 9,000 miles away.

I don't know what will happen next, when I get a burr up my butt to call her and vent about something, or just to laugh together. I just lost my touch-stone. I'm numb.

This is twice in five months that I've taken a surprise trip to the US for a funeral of a close family member. It's not fun. It's exhausting. I didn't even spend enough time to acclimate to Eastern Time (which means no jetlag on my return to Vietnam, so that was nice). 

We got back home 2 days ago, just before Lunar New Year. A fresh start.
The belief here is that you should get rid of the bad before the new year: clean house, cut hair, reconcile... whatever. Get rid of bad juju and start the new year fresh. 
That's what I'm hoping for. Death is a part of life, but if I can have a year without such close, heart-rending deaths, that would be great.


  1. I'm really sorry to hear this news.
    It's difficult enough to manage grief when losses are widely spaced but cramming them all up like that makes it extra painful. Sending positive thoughts to you and yours.

    1. Thanks, Jz. To be honest, right now there's not so much pain as just hollowness. But yeah. It's like one death hurt, and the next just blasted a hole through me.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's particularly devastating when you're still grieving for another close family member. I hope you have plenty of people around to support you right now.

    1. I've decided to kind of take a month off from society, actually. My husband is great, and I'm in touch with friends and family online, but I just need a little solitude.

  3. There's nothing I can say that will make you feel any better but know that some guy in Indiana that you've never met, will keep you in his thoughts. I wish I could do more for you.

    1. Believe it or not, we were talking about you as we drove across Indiana. We flew in and out of Chicago, but the funeral was in Michigan. I appreciate the thoughts.

  4. I'm so sorry. That's terrible. Take care of yourself.

    1. It's a blow. Maybe a good time to revamp my writing schedule.

  5. I'm so sorry to read this. Sending you a loving virtual hug!


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.