Is there a limit to what you can do for the ones you love? Putting them first, sacrificing your own needs and wants, letting them go to have the life they want to live? Cha Yu-ri, the main protagonist of Hi, Bye, Mama!, shows us that love is truly unconditional — not just as a parent, but also as a daughter, sibling, friend, and even as a ghostly spirit.
With the ongoing covid 19 pandemic paralyzing our daily lifestyle, it’s become common for us to slow down and have more time to reflect on what we’ve done so far in our x years of existence. Life is short, oh we know, but to someone like Yu-ri who died abruptly and was given a chance to start anew — she realized so much more than the living can adhere to.
1. Eating good food, going out or being able to hug your loved ones are actions that we can take for granted because we can do it anytime, easily. Learn to appreciate these simple acts of living and be thankful for every chance that you can do these.
No one in the world can predict their own death. Although we are told by quotes, reminded by a friend or older relative, and so on that we shouldn’t take things for granted, we can’t help but give little meaning to eating out, working, or being able to talk with friends because it’s easy. Let’s take a conscious effort to slow down and reflect on these beautiful acts of love and care.
I’ve read advice expressing that the everyday, mundane parts of life are all you need to live a good life. Let’s not wait until the certainty of these experiences become fractured — relish these moments now.
2. Even if it’s not in your presence anymore, letting your loved ones go and allowing them to find their own source of strength and hope is the best kind of love you can give.
Gang-hwa remarrying was never an issue for Yu-ri, either when she was a ghost or when she reincarnated, because she knew that she couldn’t console him any longer when she died. Seeing him get better and move on with Min Jeong was something that she will always be grateful for. Even if it meant the love of her life found somebody new, as long as he wasn’t in pain, she accepted it well.
It’s natural to think of ourselves first whenever we make decisions. But at the end of the day, it’s still easier for us to give way to someone we love because seeing them happy trumps the knowledge of them being miserable. Even to her own daughter (Seo Woo), Yu-ri never coveted the position of being her mom because she was thankful that Min Jeong took care of Seo Woo. Yu-ri was content in being able to spend time with her and know that Seo Woo liked her company as well.
3. Time can heal wounds. How long or how short can’t be determined but as long as you try, beautiful memories will replace the painful ones. Moving on with your life is something that you should strive to do when you need to.
Losing Yu-ri was a tragedy but five years gone, the people closest to Yu-ri were moving on with their lives without her. Although her mom did pray to see her once more, she still carried on with her everyday life without her eldest daughter. The unending pain that you feel will slowly dissipate with time, don’t give up. As long as you exert an effort to process the wounds, even as small as eating a meal or as big as trying to work or date again, better days will bless your presence.
As pointed out by Yu-ri, she didn’t want her loved ones to feel guilty in moving forward with their lives. We may forget about deceased family members, good friends we lost touch with through the years, or fun experiences, but we’ll never truly lose such memories because the impact they made in our lives are too significant.
Hi, Bye, Mama! kdrama was an emotional rollercoaster for me and though it had its depressing moments, the overall mood of the show aims to uplift our spirits with hope and healing. This post is long overdue, but it’s been a struggle for me to write about something positive when I myself have been feeling the ups and downs of being in quarantine.
There is no perfect formula on how to cope and move on but we can always try. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and never forget that:
Life is unpredictable. Live yours to the fullest — make sacrifices, learn from mistakes, cry, laugh to your heart’s content! It’s a wild but fulfilling journey, don’t worry, you’ll get through it😊
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🙏🏻
After a 1 week hiatus, Hi, Bye, Mama! is back on its last week before the finale. One’s time on Earth can teach us a lot of experience about our capacities and emotions as humans but it’s death and the loss of connections that can truly change our perspective on a lot of things. Yu-ri has always thought of other people’s needs before herself, but perhaps taking care of herself first is what she needs to make her loved ones happy.
Our OG couple talk on a bench in the park as Yu-ri tells Gang-hwa that it did hurt seeing him move on with someone else. She clarified though that it hurt so much more seeing him be all alone and in pain after her loss. Moving forward with his life was what she wanted for him the most and she gives him her blessing to let her go. Yu-ri is aghast when she learns that Gang-hwa learned about the truth from Guk-bong. She comes clean about the freezer incident being her fault since she stayed with them all this time, Seo Woo is able to see ghosts.
Hiding the truth, no matter how farfetched it is, is always going to be wrong. Gang-hwa doesn’t disclose to Min Jeong any details about what he had just heard and it pains me to see her torn up about confronting him about it. He loves her, yes, but bottling up the truth and the accompanying emotions along with it is just a recipe for marital discord. I hope she also finally hears the truth from him even if it’ll hurt like crazy.
Another day passes and our trio friends hang out at Hyeon Jeong’s restaurant and Min Jeong fondly asks Yu-ri and Hyeon Jeong if they’re really friends. She radiated such a bright smile when both women confirm this. She happily purchases friendship bracelets for the 3 of them when she leaves the restaurant that it breaks my heart that she still doesn’t know the complete story about Yu-ri’s true identity💔 Hyeon Jeong declares that there must be a way to have her best friend live again and she apologizes for encouraging Gang-hwa to date back then. Yu-ri assures her that it was the right thing to do but sadly admits that the people she cares about are suffering now because of her. She cries because of this and Hyeon Jeong, although in despair, says nothing back.
Yu-ri’s dad gets to play with Seo Woo at the park that afternoon but is taken aback when he finds her gone. Yu-ri happened to be buying drinks at the time and her dad was helping out a grandma that nobody noticed Seo Woo following a group of kids out of curiosity. Gang-hwa and Min Jeong race to the park to help find Seo Woo too. When it seems like all is lost, Yu-ri sees a little ghost boy pointing to the direction of the playground. She follows him and finds Seo Woo hiding inside the slide, thank goodness!😅 Turns out that the Jang family saved Seo Woo from the clutches of Guk-bong as they witnessed him almost getting her at the park. They lead her to the playground and it was their idea for her to hide there. Unfortunately, the exorcist was still able to catch the family after the short distraction. Uh oh!
Back at the Cho household, Min Jeong is visibly upset about the incident. Gang-hwa comforts her that it wasn’t her fault and she asks whose fault it is that this happened. She is sick of Gang-hwa always apologizing and makes a point that if she’s not to blame, then she can’t truly be Seo Woo’s mom. Gang-hwa finally speaks up that their pick-up helper is actually Cha Yu-ri, his 1st wife and Seo Woo’s biological mom.
With heavy hearts, Yu-ri laments losing Min Jeong’s trust as Min Jeong mulls over the information she just heard from her husband. They continue their conversation the next morning and although the idea is ludicrous to Min Jeong, Gang-hwa affirms that Yu-ri is indeed alive. Yu-ri recalls Mi-Dong telling her that it was the Jang family who saved Seo Woo from the exorcist. Although feeling thankful for what they did, she feels sad that she can’t properly thank them anymore since they ascended to heaven already.
Realizing that talking about Yu-ri’s situation must be stressing her out, Hyeon Jeong takes her bestfriend out for some much needed destressing👭 They cruise the road in a flashy car, zip-lined across a fantastic view, and went biking. Hyeon Jeong opens up about how time made her almost forget Yu-ri at times and Yu-ri expresses that if she wasn’t forgotten by the people she loved, they would always have a hard time. It was a nice gesture from Hyeon Jeong to have them spend the day just having fun and not remind Yu-ri of her 49 day deadline.
Min Jeong spends the day playing with Seo Woo inside the house while being distracted by Yu-ri’s identity reveal. At night, she heads towards Hyeon Jeong’s restaurant quickly probably to confirm the truth for herself. She stops in her tracks when she sees both girls getting out of the car and follows them all the way to Yu-ri’s house. As she watches them enter the house excitedly, she takes a closer look at the house and sees the name Cha Yu-ri on the family nameplate outside of the gate. She cries a little bit but composes herself before leaving. Yu-ri’s family along with Hyeon Jeong have a hearty meal and drink together. They also take a picture together to commemorate the moment.
After what must have been an emotionally heavy night for Min Jeong, she cries again the next day as she accepts the fact that Yu-ri is alive. She is frustrated at Gang-hwa for saying that he didn’t tell her the truth because it’s been awhile that she seemed happy being with other people. Like Yu-ri, she points out that Gang-hwa ought to deal with his own scars first before minding someone else’s wounds. Ouch, but true😕 Contemplating about both women’s words, he decides to try and join Dr. Jang’s surery as a way to get over his trauma.
Yu-ri accompanies her mom to the hospital for the latter’s heart check-up. She overhears 2 nurses talking about Gang-hwa finally attending a surgery but that he rushed out of the room only after 10 minutes. He is having a panic attack somewhere in the hospital and only Yu-ri knows where to find him. This has already happened before and Yu-ri as a ghost watched him experience this previously. She does find Gang-hwa in one of the emergency exits and tries to calm him down. His sharp and ragged breathing slowly stabilizes as he looks at Yu-ri intently.
We only get the full story now thru a flashback that Gang-hwa refused to operate on a VIP patient because he was already scheduled to operate on another patient currently who needs his help immediately. He tells the nurses and assistants to lock the door and cut off outside communication until he finishes the surgery. Little did he know that this was the time Yu-ri was admitted into the emergency room from her accident. All this time I thought that he was the surgeon who operated on Yu-ri and that’s why he feels so guilty… it turns out that he didn’t even know she was in a life or death state already and it was too late for him to have done anything.
Keun Sang relays what happened at the hospital to Hyeon Jeong. To cheer Yu-ri up, she decides to send the pictures she took the other night to Yu-ri and gets a text reply that she wants to live! Keun Sang doesn’t understand what this means and Hyeon Jeong finally reveals the other big secret that Yu-ri is going to die soon. A stunned Gang-hwa enters the restaurant hearing what she just said and is enraged on why she has to die again. At the same time, Yu-ri declares to Mi-Dong that she didn’t do anything wrong and that she wants to live.
Gang-hwa gets a thank you letter from the wife of the patient that he insisted on operating on the day of Yu-ri’s accident. She thanks him for saving her husband. This riles up Gang-hwa as he looks at a picture of Yu-ri and pushes the gift basket that came with the letter off his desk. Keun Sang enters his room and tries to comfort him as he sees Gang-hwa bursting into a fit of tears.
This has got to be the saddest episode ever for everyone as Gang-hwa and Min Jeong finally discover the truth about Yu-ri being a ghost and coming back from the dead. I honestly don’t know who I feel most sorry for at this point because like Yu-ri pointed out, everyone is in some sort of pain because of her. The most confused and hurt I can say right now is Min Jeong because I’m sure she feels betrayed by Gang-hwa, Yu-ri, and Hyeon Jeong. How do you process the fact that the person you grew to love as a friend is your husband’s supposedly dead 1st wife? I hope that she can eventually forgive them and know that no matter what happens, she is still Seo Woo’s mom and Gang-hwa’s wife.
On the flipside, I’m so happy that Yu-ri has finally decided to want to live. I didn’t think she would change her mind but now that she has, I sincerely hope she does become human again. What if she offers to take Seo Woo’s place in becoming a shaman instead? Gang-hwa revealing his repressed feelings to Yu-ri and finding out her impending death could have stirred up his unresolved feelings for her, but I still think our dear doctor will stay with Min Jeong. Yu-ri will be okay without Gang-hwa as a romantic partner, but I can’t imagine how her loved ones can accept losing her all over again.