87 pages • 2 hours readMichelle Zauner
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Two days later, Chongmi wakes up to indescribable pain, shouting what will be her last words, “AH PEO! AH PEO!” (150), which means pain in Korean. Zauner and her father administer hydrocodone, and they continue to dose her regularly out of fear she will wake again in pain. All they can do now is take care of her body and wait.
Zauner and her father begin clearing out the house and spend much of their time lying in bed with their dying mother and wife. Zauner’s father admits to thinking of holding her nose closed, which doesn’t shock Zauner. He says he knows Zauner wishes it was him; Zauner concedes that in her mind he was supposed to die first and that her mother would have known how to go on.
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When her father goes to make funeral arrangements, Zauner stays home and tries speaking to her mother, which becomes an urgent pleading for her umma that echoes what she witnessed her mother do after Halmoni’s passing.
Peter arrives later in the week, and while he and Zauner in bed, her mother passes away. Zauner goes downstairs, and her father asks that they wait 30 minutes before calling someone. Peter joins them.