My mom Priscilla passed away last week on March 23. I miss her a lot.
She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in late September. It was a shock to all of us. She never smoked and was healthy.
Our family created a website to share some photos and memories. If you would like to see and have any memories to share, please visit https://www.priscillachiu.ca.
I wanted to write a nice tribute to her. I don’t think she had ever thought much about how much she had accomplished. In the months leading up to her passing, I tried to tell her all of these things and make her realize she should be proud.
My parents and sister moved from Hong Kong to Vancouver on September 3 1990, in advance of the HK handover. They packed all of their belongings in a shipping crate and put it on a boat, then flew to Canada to start life in a new country, one where they had no friends and only a scattering of distant relatives. They bought a house in North Burnaby 17 days after landing and have lived there ever since. They moved into their new empty home - all of their belongings were still on the boat. A few months later, she was handing out resumes downtown on Christmas Eve in order to secure a job so she could register my grandma for immigration. I was born the next year in 1991. Over the next few years, my mom helped all of her siblings and their families immigrate to Canada. As a young kid at the time, I never realized how much work that must have taken - all I saw were more cousins to play with every year.
I once asked her whether she ever had any second thoughts or regrets about moving away from Hong Kong. She said she never really thought about it that way, once she decided she never looked back. That was how my mom was - always decisive and confident. She had a unique and strong personality, was loyal and caring to her family and friends. She only ever wanted what was best for everyone else.
My mom was a big proponent of continuous learning, and that good things would result from it. She met my dad at a French class in HK they took randomly at nights after work. If you've ever noticed she doesn't have much of an accent speaking English, it's because she took classes at John Oliver to reduce it and always practiced. Once she asked me what formulas were in Excel for work, and then a few weeks later she was figuring out how to write macros on her own. She was a big fan of YouTube after finding out she could learn things like recipes, drawing, and even slang from different parts of the world. She started going to Zumba classes in the few years before the pandemic and ended up liking it so much she’d go six times a week and made lots of friends. I was always very happy to hear about the new friends she made and that they were going to happy hour and going dancing. I wish she had more time to enjoy all of these activities and more.
While she kept some older traditions and had Jackie and I go to Chinese school and play piano, she never pushed hard or really forced me to do too many things. She wished she helped me more with homework or get me tutors in high school, but more importantly is that she let me be myself while staying involved in my life, only intervening if she thought I really needed help. When I went through a period where I was sad as a child, she immediately took me to the doctor worried that I was depressed, this was before depression was commonly talked about. When I was worried about what she thought of me quitting a stable job to go back to school, she was encouraging and supportive. She just wanted to see me happy, and I just wanted to make her proud.
There are a ton of other things I could tell you about her. She liked Ed Sheeran. She loved Greek food and Mexican food after a stint of working in the US. She was deathly afraid of dogs and startled easily at loud noises. She was my mom and I couldn't have asked for a better one. We loved each other and never shied away from telling each other. I miss her and will remember her forever. I love you mom.