Help Me See My Mom One Last Time

Please read my story:

My mom's funeral is on December 13th at 9:40am Taiwan time, which is US December 12th 9:40pm East coast time. I would have to purchase and fly out at least by December 11th to get there on time to Chiayi (my hometown, a countryside area). The plane tickets are around $2,117 from Miami to Kaohsiung at this point. That's a lot of money to ask in such a short time, but I will definitely give back in the future and continue to help others as well. I will make sure to make tributes to all the donors and everyone who has been helping me.


When I was ten years old, I was adopted by my third aunt and uncle, my aunt being the one related to my mom, and moved to Miami because they had a business there already. Adjusting to the American life was difficult, especially without my mom and two older sisters. Two years later in 2000, I was able to see my mom again. However, after that, I did not see her for twelve years. My parents divorced, so I don't know much about my dad.


My aunt and uncle did not let me go back, and after cutting ties from them during the middle of my college freshman year due to emotional abuse, I still could not afford the plane ticket to go see my mom. Finally, in May and June of this year, I was able to go see my mom for the first time in twelve years because my oldest sister and her husband helped me with the plane ticket. It was nice spending time with her, we connected again like mother and daughter, but she was not in good health. She talked about pain in her stomach and was constantly resting after work, but did not think it was serious. 


In late August, my oldest sister informed me that Mom got diagnosed with pelvic cancer. After unsuccessful attempt to get bereavement flight tickets, I immediately booked a plane ticket with my credit card to go see my mom, which is still on my credit card this day. She was already in the hospital awaiting her surgery on September 3rd, so I stayed with her almost every day before, during, and after the surgery. It was difficult watching her get weaker and sicker. The surgery was unsuccessful because the tumors had already spread out too much. Doctors reported that she probably only has 3-6 months to live. During the second week, she was discharged from the hospital to rest at home until her health gets better again so she can try chemotherapy. However, during that week, she got worse and the tumors created enormous amount of fluid in her stomach again, so we had to call the ambulance.


Upon arriving at ER back at Tzu-Chi Baptist Hospital in Da-Ling, Taiwan, my mom was in very bad shape. The doctors spoke to the family and friends separately, informing us that her condition got worse and probably only has a few days or weeks. The decision was to place my mom in the hospice ward because there was no treatment for her. After couple hours, my mom seemed better because the fluid from her stomach was drained. At that point, my mom still didn't know about how severe her cancer is, and my oldest sister, her husband, and I finally told her about the news. She shred a tear, but I could tell she was trying to hold it in. They talked about how my mom wishes to be handled after her passing, what they needed to get done, and more.


This second trip, I was in Taiwan for three weeks and stayed in the hospital almost everyday watching and helping my mom. It was not easy and I missed my life in the US. I also had to work. I decided not to extend my stay and my mom was ok with that. When I came back to the US, I kept in touch and would call my mom to see how she is doing. The phone calls only lasted one or two minutes because my mom would get tired easily from speaking. My sister and I kept in touch, and she would update me about Mom's condition. She said Mom was getting worse and will probably go soon. The last time my mom and I spoke was around Thanksgiving time. For couple days, I couldn't sleep very well and I kept waking up, then around 4am on December 2nd, my sister informed me that Mom passed away.


I had decided not to go to the funeral because I couldn't afford the plane ticket, especially now because of holiday season, and because I wasn't sure if I could handle being in a funeral. I "felt" that my mom is with me, so I didn't think I needed to be there. During that week (last week), I kept myself busy working, helping proctor Cambridge exams at my job, working at the Convention Center for Art Basel, and rushing to Wynwood Arts District for my first Wynwood and Art Basel show. I kept myself busy and distracted. I thought I was okay with my mom's passing and not going to the funeral, but when this week and Art Basel ended, I broke down. I was exhausted, emotionally drained, and missed my mom. I couldn't believe she was gone, I was shocked at how a person could be gone just like that, especially from metastatic pelvic cancer. It was so unexpected.


I kept thinking about whether if I should go to the funeral and tried to figure out if I would be going because I should or because I want to. But I think I want to, so I could get some closure and peace of mind. I would also like to be there for my sister. I did not get to go to my deceased 2nd sister's funeral back in 2006 and do not want to miss my mom's. She will always be in my heart, but I would like to be there at her funeral... Airlines said no about bereavement flights and there was not much of a discount. Then I remembered coming across GoFundMe from the news before and decided to try it. I usually never ask for help or money, but this is my mom's funeral and it only happens once. I thought I could maybe earn enough money from these jobs or sell enough artwork to purchase the plane ticket, but I need help...


Thank you very much for your time and I really appreciate it. 




I was born in Taiwan and moved to the US in 1998 and have been living here for 14 years. I graduated from Florida International University last December with Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Minor in Art History, and a Certificate in Chinese Studies. I worked at a creative agency studio for couple months but they moved to LA. Now I work at a language center on Miami Beach and am working on my art on the side.


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Wen- Ju 
Miami Beach, FL
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