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Shirley Hom: R.I.P. (1948-2018)

Exactly six months ago, my mom had passed away from a bout with late stage cervical cancer. She was a private person, and most of her circle of friends & our extended family members were unaware until after her death. A memorial service was performed September 9, 2018, Sunday morning, and had a surprisingly good turnout, which included a Buddhist chant by the monks and friends from the temple in which she attended.


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I had displayed the following message for attendees during the memorial…

NOTE: I had opted out of speaking during my mom’s memorial service because I am more confident in my ability with the Written Word. If you are reading this in Chinese, I apologize if some of it reads awkwardly, as I had used Google Translate to render my English words. This is the result of an American Born Chinese kid who grew up in Chinatown, San Francisco, and refused to go to Chinese school after two weeks of attending because he wanted to stay home and watch Sesame Street instead. You can go to the Chinese version below by clicking here.

注意:我在妈妈的追悼会期间选择不发言,因为我对书面词的能力更有信心。如果您正在阅读中文,我会道歉,如果其中一些内容读得很尴尬,因为我使用Google翻译来渲染我的英文单词。这是一个美国出生的中国孩子在旧金山唐人街长大,结果两周后拒绝去中国学校的结果,因为他想留在家里看芝麻街。你可以找到中文版 点击这里.

September 9th, 2018 – My mom, Shirley Hom, was a reserved and private woman. Even until her death, you wouldn’t be able to read what she was thinking, nothing seemed to faze her, and just simply lived in the moment. We aren’t a religious family. And, if she alluded to a religion, it may have been Buddhism. Even then, she didn’t claim to know anything about what happens after death. Everything seemed just enough for her.

I inherited a lot of my mother’s traits, as I get accused of being too quiet at times, or not much seems to bother me. Zen-like, I’ve heard many times. (Truth is, I have a snarky, sarcastic view of Life as satire. But, that is none of your business.) Maybe it’s a genetic survival trait passed onto my family by my ancestors, and, I believe, there is a certain level of Wisdom to just be silent and observe…

Between my younger brother, Stan Hom, and I, we have fond memories growing up with my parents. I credit my mom for my love of books by dragging us to the Chinatown library often. And, as a family, we would take weekly trips to the local Chinese theater to watch grindhouse-style HK movies – one action/comedy, and one brutally violent horror flick. And, as expected by her personality, my mom didn’t react, with much censorship, to us enjoying them (except when it’s sex stuff, tho). One incident, I love telling over and over, was my little brother crying during the scene with the garbage disposal monster in Star Wars, as my mom tried to calm him, that there is nothing to be afraid of, and just enjoy the movie. (You can make fun of Stan about that. I’m going to, again.)

The storytelling side comes from my dad, which does balance the Hom Family personalities. He can talk your ear off about having left China at 13 on a boat, learned to cook in South America, immigrated to the U.S.A., how he met Bruce Lee in Seattle, married my mom and settled in San Francisco, and is currently the President of the Hom Association. He is probably the reason why my brother and I enjoy the creative process of telling stories (through writing, filmmaking, gaming, etc.). We are lucky to have been born in this Era of the Digital Age.

My mom was more of a mystery. I’m unsure what her young life before being married was like. Her dad died in his 40s from a heart attack, which resulted in my mom moving out on her own at 21. Her mom (my only living grandparent) is still alive, lives in Canada, and just turned 100 years old last week. We have a few B&W pictures of my mom’s teenage years. In them, she’s a gal who possessed a stoic look of indifference, but the images also portray her as a socialite, dressed up, and traveled well. Maybe, that is just enough.

A little over two years ago, my mom had suffered a min-stroke. Where and how it happened surprised me. Apparently, my mom was in a Buddhist band, and she played the drums. I have this funny image of her wailing the drum sticks a bit too wildly… You may be shocked at her suffering the stroke, but I’m still, to this day, shocked, and have a sense of pride, that she played the drums. It wasn’t a big deal for her to talk about it. She just enjoyed it.

At this point, you’re probably expecting a life quote about “enjoying the company of your family often” or to “experience life to the fullest”. Those are cliché philosophical musings that are nothing more than common sense. I personally have no idea if there is a Meaning to Life, other than what you make of it. Don’t overthink it. ’cause that is how my mom succeeded at having lived it.

Thank you, mom. I had won the lottery when you & dad gave birth to me & my brother, and, married, his wife & my sister, Gen Hom. (For the first time in my life, I realized “Mom Hom” rhymed! Whoa…)

Raymond Hom, September 9th, 2018

End Credit scene: Shirley Hom passed away peacefully at the Jewish Center hospice in the Mission on Aug 30, 2018, at 1:30AM. Towards the end, my mom may have hinted at the possibility of being resurrected as someone or something.



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This is the Chinese version (by Google translate of the English version above, so it may read awkwardly, as I can’t read & write Chinese.

2018年9月9日 – 我的妈妈Shirley Hom是一位保守的私人女性。即使在她去世之前,你也无法读懂她的想法,似乎没有什么能让她感到烦恼,只是活在当下。我们不是一个宗教家庭。而且,如果她提到一个宗教,它可能是佛教。即便如此,她并没有声称对死后会发生什么事情一无所知。对她来说,一切似乎都足够了。

我继承了很多母亲的特质,因为我被指责过于安静,或者似乎没有太多打扰我。像禅宗一样,我听过很多次。 (事实是,我对生命的讽刺有一种讽刺,讽刺的看法。但是,这不关你的事。)也许这是我的祖先传给我的家庭的遗传生存特征,我相信,有一定的水平智慧只是沉默并观察……

在我的弟弟Stan Hom和我之间,我们和父母一起度过了美好的回忆。我经常把我们拖到唐人街的图书馆,因为我对书的热爱而感谢我的妈妈。而且,作为一个家庭,我们每周都会去当地的中国剧院观看花样式的香港电影 – 一部动作/喜剧,一部残酷暴力的恐怖电影。而且,正如她的个性所期望的那样,我的妈妈没有对我们的审查做出太多的审查,我们享受它们(除非它是性爱的东西,所以)。一个事件,我喜欢一遍又一遍地说,是我的小弟弟在星球大战中与垃圾处理怪物在场景中哭泣,因为我的妈妈试图让他平静下来,没有什么可以害怕的,只是欣赏电影。 (你可以取笑斯坦。我会再来一次。)

讲故事的一面来自我的父亲,它确实平衡了Hom Family的个性。他可以谈谈你在13岁时乘船离开中国,学会在南美做饭,移民到美国,如何在西雅图遇见李小龙,与我妈妈结婚并在旧金山定居,目前是总统坎岛协会。他可能就是我哥哥和我喜欢讲故事的创作过程(通过写作,电影制作,游戏等)的原因。我们很幸运地出生在这个数字时代的时代。




妈妈,谢谢你。当你和爸爸生下我和我的兄弟,结婚,他的妻子和我的妹妹Gen Hom时,我赢了彩票。 (这是我生命中的第一次,我意识到“妈妈坎”押韵!哇……)

Raymond Hom, September 9th, 2018

End Credit场景:Shirley Hom于2018年8月30日凌晨1:30在Mission的犹太中心临终关怀中和平地去世。接近尾声时,我妈妈可能暗示有可能被复活为某人或某事



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