Perhaps every hello is a prelude to a parting — as we inhale each experience that life gives us, we try our best to exhale the hardships and say goodbye to those which circumstances such as distance, time, or death can unexpectedly take. This doesn’t mean that relationships are futile, it just means that we have to treat our loved ones and ourselves with the utmost love and care while we still can.
Get a box (es) of tissue ready and bear with my last and longest entry for a mama-sized conclusion to Hi, Bye, Mama!💕
Hearing out Hyeong Jeong’s explanation on why Yu-ri has to die again, the secret that she must become Seo Woo’s mom and Gang-hwa’s wife again is finally disclosed. Gang-hwa is distraught and in a daze remembering Yu-ri’s words before about leaving her be for 49 days making sense now. At the same time, Yu-ri leaves Mi-dong’s place speechless and utterly dejected. It seems like she didn’t receive any good news about wanting to live again😓
Gang-hwa goes to see Yu-ri and infuriatingly berates her for not telling him about her impending death. Probably their first real fight after her resurrection, he wished that she had told him that she needed to take her place back to live. Yu-ri didn’t back down and confessed that she would go up once he remarried but Gang-hwa’s misery remained that’s why she couldn’t leave him behind. He seriously asks her if she could really live once she takes her place in their family and Yu-ri scoffs at the idea because he has a wife. He doesn’t waver and states that she should take her life back. Does this mean that he’s willing to separate with Min Jeong?
After finding out from Gang-hwa that he told Min Jeong her true identity, Yu-ri seeks her out. Min Jeong is obviously hurt but asks her why she hasn’t demanded for Gang-hwa and Seo Woo back. Yu-ri doesn’t reveal her 49 days secret and answers that she is thankful for Min Jeong’s presence in their lives and that’s enough for her. That same night, there was no stopping the inevitable: Min Jeong decides to divorce Gang-hwa. Min Jeong looked hopeful that Gang-hwa would tell her not to leave him. Alas, all he could utter was an apology, not even disagreeing with her decision😢 Min Jeong is heartbroken and weeps as this confirms that he has chosen Yu-ri over her.
Though she doesn’t explicitly say, Yu-ri’s mom attempts to console her daughter knowing that she must be experiencing a multitude of emotions ever since she came back. They go for a walk around the neighborhood late at night as she confesses to Yu-ri that she used to sit on a bench before to watch Seo Woo play at a playground. She was content in watching her gradnchild play from afar and never approached her or Min Jeong. Whenever she was there, Seo Woo would be playing too and they never left until she did. Yu-ri’s mom realized that Min Jeong knew who she was and probably did it for her sake.
One of the last few ghosts left, the baseball player Kang Bin asks for a favor (thru Mi-dong) for Keun Sang to make it known to his mom that he did not commit suicide. Turns out his best friend was the one who killed him and set it up to look like he took his own life. Kang Bin’s mom all this time blamed herself for her son’s death because she never accepted his confession of being gay. Keun Sang shows her his report of Kang Bin that he was not resentful towards her and actually wanted to resolve their issues. Her mom feels relieved that he didn’t hate her after all and Kang Bin’s unresolved business is complete.
What I presume is an attempt from Gang-hwa for them to become a family again, he, Seo Woo, and Yu-ri go to an amusement park for the day. They go on rides, have fun walking around, and even take a picture together. Although I’m happy that Gang-hwa is trying, I can’t shake the feeling that something doesn’t feel right. If anything, they are a family but it just feels… desperate. At the playground, Yu-ri’s mom sees Min Jeong staring in the distance and sits on the bench beside hers. She says that she knows Yu-ri the best and comforts Min Jeong that what she fears the most, losing Gang-hwa and Seo Woo I assume, won’t happen.
Gang-hwa takes Yu-ri home and says that the 3 of them ought to stay together from now on. She cautiously tells him that she won’t take her place anymore because in exchange for her living again, Seo Woo would have to see ghosts for the rest of her life. This is what Mi-dong tells her at the beginning of the episode that’s why she looked so helpless walking out of her home. Yu-ri explains that there’s no way to change this fate and decides that she won’t let her daughter suffer just so she could live again. Simultaneously, Mi-dong finally discovers the truth on why Yu-ri was resurrected: Mrs. Jeon (Yu-ri’s mom) wrote a prayer request wishing to see Yu-ri again one more time.
An alternate storyline where Yu-ri didn’t get into an accident is narrated. As Seo Woo is born, she and Gang-hwa happily tend to her at home. They play with her, marvel at her progress, go on park dates, and spend time with Yu-ri’s family as well. This was something that I think a lot of fans (Such as myself) appreciated to imagine the OG couple become the family they were always meant to be if Yu-ri hadn’t died❤️
Episode 16 (Ending)
In a flurry of panic and agony, Gang-hwa tries to convince Yu-ri that there must be a way for her to live without jeopardizing Seo Woo’s future. What must be going through his head is terrifying, having to process that either your wife or child will have to suffer is a no-win scenario. Yu-ri is firm with her decision and thanks Gang-hwa for everything that he’s done for her.
Mi-dong breaks the news to Yu-ri that it was her mom’s prayer request that brought her back to life. As she holds the piece of paper on her hands, she feels embarrassed for just focusing on Seo Woo all this time. Yu-ri feels no regret choosing to keep Seo Woo safe and vows to spend her last days to the fullest. I love how they connected 2 generations of moms in the story and showed that Yu-ri is both a mom to Seo Woo and a daughter to Mrs. Jeon. It’s not about getting the chance to become human again or getting to take her place back; although short-lived, Yu-ri came back because of her mom’s ardent love. The rest of her 49 day journey is as she pointed out, a gift🎁
Hyeon Jeong breaks the news of divorce to Yu-ri and gives her the friendship bracelets that Min Jeong left her the other night she was at the restaurant. Yu-ri hoped to see Min Jeong at the daycare, but she along with the other teachers had to take Seo Woo to the hospital as she suddenly vomited. When Min Jeong arrives and sees Yu-ri besides Seo Woo, she asks about the kid’s condition and walks away knowing that she’s okay. Yu-ri chases after her and at long last confides that she’s going to die again after 49 days. In light of this information, I think Min Jeong finally understands why Yu-ri beams a glow of thankfulness towards her. With tears in her eyes, Min Jeong sadly pleads if Yu-ri truly can’t stay and our mama confidently replies that she can’t.
Gang-hwa arrives at the hospital and he and Min Jeong finally talk about their underlying relationship issues. Being too considerate of each other was their downfall because they never got to open up about the sad and painful emotions they were experiencing individually and with one another. No relationship is perfect and they should have addressed such feelings with each other. Before leaving the hospital, Min Jeong advices Gang-hwa to give Yu-ri a proper send-off and they can talk about their divorce after.
A heart-to-heart conversation happens between Yu-ri and her mom as the latter asks the former if she’s been with her all this time. Yu-ri confirms this and Mrs. Jeon apologizes for not being able to comfort her as she stood by her from the other side. Mrs. Jeon seems to sense that Yu-ri isn’t back for good and like her daughter, she wasn’t greedy and knew that the time they have now is what’s important🤗 As they both cry their hearts out, Yu-ri puts her mom’s mind at rest and tells her that she remained strong no matter what.
For her last remaining days, Yu-ri makes a to-do list to accomplish all the things that she wanted to do before going up. This involved taking the last remaining ghosts out for a Samgyupsal dinner, inviting Pil Seung for a home-cooked meal, picnics with her family, and going on a camping trip with friends. Hyeon Jeong gives Yu-ri a letter from Min Jeong conveying her gratefulness for meeting her and becoming her friend. She promises to take care of Seo Woo and this brings tears to Yu-ri’s eyes. I hope that in their next life, they become good friends again without any complications. That same night, Gang-hwa also came to terms with Yu-ri leaving as they have a heartfelt conversation about their hopes and wishes for each other moving forward.
It’s a bright and sunny day as Yu-ri bids farewell to Seo Woo. She sobs a little bit asking her daughter to come to her in the next life as she hugs her tightly one last time. Seo Woo caresses her back and calls her mom!🥺 It never mattered to her that Seo Woo didn’t know that she was her biological mother so it touched my heart when the latter acknowledged Yu-ri as her mom. Yu-ri also thanks Mi-dong for everything and walks towards the next stage of her life with no regrets.
A series of picture frames document Seo Woo growing up through the years. Now as a young adult, she reads a book and takes out the family picture that she, Gang-hwa, and Yu-ri had taken the day they went to the amusement park. A voice belonging to Gang-hwa and Min Jeong calls out for Seo Woo as she fondly calls them her mom and dad. In between a path of cherry blossoms, the 3 of them happily walk side by side with each other.
How are your eyes?😭 Such a bittersweet but fitting Hi, Bye, Mama! ending where Yu-ri ultimately ascended to heaven, ready to embrace her afterlife. If I’d have it my way, I wanted her to live of course but it’s evident that the show wanted to convey the beauty in goodbyes. Yu-ri, or any other parent, would never be selfish enough to put their own kid at risk in exchange for even as something as precious as their own life — it’s this kind of love that resonated with Yu-ri from start to finish👩👧 I’m glad that she got to spend her last precious days surrounded by the people she cared for the most… although losing her again is painful, at least they got to express their proper farewells.
I can’t imagine what Gang-hwa had to endure knowing that he had to let Yu-ri go one more time. He had no choice but to try and accept it, but the good thing this time is that he received closure from Yu-ri. I think he and Min Jeong had to separate for a awhile before getting back together because he needed to heal by himself completely first. You don’t necessarily need a love life to get better, Gang-hwa could have raised Seo Woo by himself after Yu-ri left and still emerge a stronger person. I think he’ll always love Yu-ri and tried his best to honor her by truly moving on and as we see, he is able to overcome his loss of her😊
Before I wrap up, I felt like the storyline for the crematorium’s ghosts was rushed. The 3 women who were still around in the last episode suddenly accepted that they needed to go up without any explanation. After spending all of their energy being ghosts due to unfinished business with their respective families, it just didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, as long as they found the courage to trust that they’ll meet their loved ones again someday, all is good🙏🏻