Mom, if only you could have known the person I became after China | Speaking of China

22 Responses

  1. Cat
    Cat May 4, 2015 at 7:08 am | | Reply

    Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. What an incredibly beautiful and bravely honest piece. My dad died when I was a teenager and I often wonder what he would think of me now (including my Chinese fiance). Thank you for sharing this. For what it’s worth it think you are a pretty incredible person (and I’ve never even met you!) so I’m sure your mother would be very proud!

  2. Autumn
    Autumn May 4, 2015 at 7:17 am | | Reply

    Oh, Jocelyn, I feel you! I wonder the same things, all the time. My mother never got to see me dance, or graduate with honors, or meet my Chinese-American guy. But I sometimes wonder if I would have done any of these things if she had lived.

    I wouldn’t trade the life and love I have now, not for anything, and at the same time I know my life would be very different if she hadn’t died when I was in high school.

    I feel oddly disloyal, being happy and knowing my life turned out this way because I lost her. I find the painful loss of the past and the happiness of the present difficult to reconcile at times.

    But ultimately, I think my mom just wanted me to be happy. And I hang onto that.

  3. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary May 4, 2015 at 8:41 am | | Reply

    What a moving piece spoken from the heart. I am sure she would be very proud of the person you have become and all that you have accomplished!

  4. marghini
    marghini May 4, 2015 at 9:47 am | | Reply

    This article is so heartbreaking. As clichè as it sounds, I am sure your mom would be incredibly proud of all your accomplishments. You are a great woman doing great things Joceyln and you deserve every bit of the success and happiness your are achieving.

  5. chinaelevatorstories
    chinaelevatorstories May 4, 2015 at 10:07 am | | Reply

    Such a touching article, Jocelyn! Maybe your mother’s watching you from somewhere (and if from nowhere else, she’s watching you from that special place you’ve reserved for her in your heart). I’m certain that she’d love the person you have become just as much as she loved you when you were growing up.

  6. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason May 4, 2015 at 10:08 am | | Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother. I second all of the other comments above. Your mother sounded extremely proud of you and it seems like she has shaped– and is continuing to shape–who you are today. Big hugs and love from Chicago.

  7. Ryan
    Ryan May 4, 2015 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    Joss, I remember 1994, having known you for just a handful of months before your mom passed. You were a very interesting and good person then, and that has easily transitioned to today. I know your mother would have been proud of you. I barely remember talking to her before then, when I first became friends with you and Sue, but I seem to remember a warm person. The painting by Sue reminds me of photos I’d seen of her.

    This post makes me think the same thing about my wife, who is (of course) Chinese and lost her mother to brain cancer in 1991, long before she boarded a plane to come here to Pittsburgh, PA, USA, to marry me. I’ll have to share this post with her when she returns, as she is in Guangdong right now. But then again, she didn’t have warm, supportive parents like you did/do, so I’m sure her story is different.

    Keep a stiff upper lip, and hey, how about a post on the birds you are getting in China! Peace.

  8. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen May 4, 2015 at 11:53 am | | Reply

    You hit upon one of the saddest things about losing loved ones too soon: they can’t continue to share our lives or even know what we’ve become. It doesn’t seem right. You were so close to your mother, and yet she doesn’t know what you’ve become.

    My husband was only 59 when he died. It’s hard to believe that he wasn’t around when one daughter graduated from law school and another got married. He adored our first two grandchildren, but he only knew them as toddlers and now one is in college and the other is graduating from high school. The third grandchild wasn’t even a blip on the radar when he was alive. I wish they could have known him.

  9. R Zhao
    R Zhao May 4, 2015 at 7:27 pm | | Reply

    I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent and it must be all the more heart-breaking when you yourself aren’t even yet into adulthood. My husband lost his dad to cancer in 2004, the year before we met. It saddens my husband that his dad will never know me or our son (luckily he was able to see my step-daughter as a newborn right before he passed away). Sometimes I feel sad too. I wonder what his dad was like, what his voice sounded like, what kind of grandpa he would have been.

  10. Anna
    Anna May 4, 2015 at 7:30 pm | | Reply

    A very moving and straight from the heart post.
    A mother’a love is unconditional and never ends, no matter what.
    You are a great person Jocelyn and you have accomplished so much. I believe that people are never really gone. They live on in our memories and heart.

  11. Ashleigh Son
    Ashleigh Son May 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn, Thank you for this personal post. I can’t imagine going through all that. Well I believe you are a strong and independent woman now, with many that look up to you and turn to your blog for hope. Who would have known that previously you wouldn’t have dreamed of traveling outside your home country alone? I never would have guessed. ^_^

  12. Laura
    Laura May 5, 2015 at 12:09 am | | Reply

    What a touching post, Jocelyn, it is incredible to see your conclusion of how such a terrible thing has led you to John and to this new life. I am sure your mother would be incredibly proud of all that you have achieved!

  13. A. Madhavan
    A. Madhavan May 5, 2015 at 9:50 am | | Reply

    Really amazing post J…… brought me to tears.
    I often wonder the same thing – our ancestors could have never imagined the paths we would have traveled, and marrying a foreign partner was so unheard of back then, however I like to believe that they watch over us as guardian angels and travel with us in our hearts. My grandparents are now deceased but when amazing things happen in life (wedding, travels, baby) I often talk to them in my head and say “wow grandpa, look at this view…” or “grandpa, guess what happened?” They live on in our hearts….
    Big hugs to you on this Mother’s day…I know it must be hard 🙁

  14. Rdm
    Rdm May 5, 2015 at 11:24 am | | Reply

    She would be definitely visiting you in China. You would be more than happy to welcome your mom to your new found home in East Asia. That’s for sure.

    For now, you’re doing great from all those life events given to you.

  15. Mary
    Mary May 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn, this was a truly heartfelt post. I am at a loss as to what I should say, but your story simply moved me. I know your mom would be so proud of you, and if she were alive today would definitely enjoy all of those trips to China–and most of all, be delighted to meet John.

    I’m glad you’re a writer–and more than that, you’re a warm and positive figure that has brought so many of us together here on this little piece of the Internet. You’ve been a friend and mentor to so many, and I think your mom would be glad that you found your calling in life.

    Best of wishes to you on Mother’s Day, and never forget.

  16. Timo
    Timo May 5, 2015 at 11:11 pm | | Reply

    To lose a relative and even worse a parents to a disease is a terrible thing. Many of my close relatives died due to cancer (two grandmothers and one grandfather, cousins…) and my mother was long time sick due to skin cancer in the 90s but defeated it as it was found out early enough thanks to a colleague of her who told her to get that spot checked out at her hairline…

    Ever since my mother also had cancer I am constantly worried about her and also about my own, as cancer seems to run in my family

  17. Mabel Kwong
    Mabel Kwong May 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn. This was such a beautiful read and I was teary eyed. It’s evident that you love your mother a lot, and you love her as much now as you did back when she was still by your side. Sometimes feelings never fade, memories never fade – and they will stay within us for the rest of our lives. As you said, she is still shaping who you are as a person today – so in a sense a part of her is still with you.

    My grandparents have passed on a long time ago. I was never really close to them, but I often wonder what if I was, would life turn out different had I spent time with them. Probably, and I would probably have found out why my grandma chose to buy me a Gameboy with a big chunk of her savings all those years ago.

    It sounded like when your mother was still alive she thought of you as a very strong-willed and capable woman, one who can study hard, earn a PhD and stand on her own two feet. At the end of the day, I think parents want their kids to be happy. You’ve come so far in your personal and professional life and I’m sure if she saw you and John together today, she would give you the biggest smile 🙂

  18. 马心洁
    马心洁 May 21, 2015 at 5:32 am | | Reply

    Jocelyn, thank you for sharing your feelings here, it is a very touching piece. When a loved one dies, especially a parent, there is no replacement. Death is an enemy to all humans. Fortunately, there is hope that we can be reunited with them in the future. I’d like to share some encouraging information with you, here: or if anyone would like to read it in Mandarin, here:


  19. Edna
    Edna May 31, 2015 at 9:55 am | | Reply

    I didn’t know any of this about you! A touching post, and thank you for sharing with your readers.

  20. BAP Blog
    BAP Blog August 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm | | Reply

    damnit that was touching. it made me tear.

  21. BAP Blog
    BAP Blog August 2, 2015 at 3:18 pm | | Reply

    Sorry, I misentered my name on that above post

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