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😊
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.
No rest for the weary as both the human and ghostly community deal with their respective problems. Will Yu-ri’s own family and Gang-hwa figure out the secret she’s been hiding before they never see her again? How will the ghosts deal with the threat of the man in black in their midst? Only a few episodes left for Hi, Bye, Mama! but a lot of things need to be settled first before anyone can get their happy ending.
Out to buy salt for the daycare, Yu-ri witnesses an incoming motorcycle hurtling right towards an elderly grandmother getting out of a cab. Instinctively, she protects the grandma by hugging and spinning her away from the supposed collision. When she comes to a few seconds after bumping into the cab’s door, she sees the motorcycle driver bleeding on the ground and worried about the grandma. This is when Gang-hwa gets the dreaded phone call from Yu-ri.
Once at the emergency room, nobody sees what Yu-ri is seeing which is the elderly’s soul fighting in and out of her body. As Gang-hwa races to see her, she forcefully persuades him to check on the grandma’s well-being. He does so and orders a nurse to take an x-ray and contact the Cardiology department ASAP. Once calmed down, Gang-hwa asks Yu-ri how she could have known about the grandma’s condition when the doctors themselves couldn’t see any physical manifestations of her pain. Yu-ri dodges the question and says that it was just a gut feeling. He doesn’t sound too convinced but can’t do anything to get any other answer out from her.
Turns out that the man in black is an exorcist (Still can be interpreted as a Grim Reaper, hee). He is famous in his line of work and has a 99.9% success rate of exterminating ghosts. Mi Dong is nervous about his presence and talks about her low performance of only being able to send 2 ghosts up after 10 years. When he mentions Yu-ri and Seo Woo, she grows even more anxious and tells him that she’ll take care of them. Uh oh, what does this mean?
We get a rare glimpse of Yu-ri’s sister, Yeon Ji, outside the house so to know that she works at an optometry shop (I always thought she was unemployed, sorry!) is good. Before heading home, she notices a nice dress on a window display and buys it for Yu-ri. Little does she know that Yu-ri did the same thing, buying the exact same dress, earlier that day as well. They chuckle and realize in unison their thoughtful deed for one another, remembering a past memory where they fought over wearing each other’s clothes. Even Yu-ri’s dad gets a tender moment with her alone as he cries from seeing her sleep. Yu-ri hugs him tight and they weep together.
Things are looking grim (hee) for our family of ghosts in the crematorium as they are huddled together while nervously observing the exorcist choosing his first target. He wishes to send up those who committed suicide first and there are 2 ghosts who did that: a girl named Hye Jin and Kang Bin. The exorcist clarified that the latter did not commit suicide after all finally clearing up that part of his death. Keun Sang was right all along but what foul play could have conspired that led to Kang Bin’s wrongful demise?
The head b*atch of the nosy moms group intends to send a message to her possé, spreading the news that Min Jeong is going ahead with the divorce and that Hyeon Jeong’s husband, Keun Sang, got their car egged for misdiagnosing Kang Bin. She mistakenly sends it to the whole daycare mom group instead so Hyeon Jeong and Min Jeong were able to read it! An equally angry Yu-ri goes to find Hyeon Jeong because she also had a nasty encounter with the nosy moms, saying that Seo Woo is slower than most kids and inciting gossip, earlier that day. Min Jeong has had enough as well and finds both ladies at Hyeon Jeong’s restaurant wanting to take action. Excuse the happy cursing everyone🙂
Our 3 musketeers join forces and pick a fight with the nosy moms group once and for all. Dressed in black, donning on killer shades, and performing a probably unrehearsed synchronized strut, the 3 ladies seek out the nosy moms in a kids café. Hair pulling, spraying with water, and using a toy bat to beat the moms respectively, it’s an all-out fight fest between the the 6 women. Scratch that, it’s a massacre for the 3 musketeers as the nosy moms couldn’t even fight back, hahaha!😵
Finally getting their much awaited and needed revenge, they celebrate their victory over samgyupsal and alcohol. When Yu-ri excuses herself to use the restroom, Hyeon Jeong gets the courage to ask Min Jeong about the divorce. She answers that she’s not planning to get a divorce anymore. She explains that she did have a hard time marrying into a relationship that felt like she had to rebuild, alluding to Yu-ri’s death as the 1st wife, and that made her weary. In the end though, she admits to loving Gang-hwa too much to push thru. It must be killing Hyeon Jeong to hear this, not only because it squashes the chance for Yu-ri to live, but she possibly feels guilty thinking of the divorce as well becuase Min Jeong is her friend now too😓
Back at home, Gang-hwa plays with Seo Woo. He hands her a sticker of a girl and Seo Woo takes a framed picture of the Cho family to the table. She places the sticker on the picture and calls the girl, Cha Yu-ri. In a flashback (Yu-ri as a ghost), Seo Woo remembers her mom’s name because the Jang family called for her and Yu-ri was observing Seo Woo playing at the playground that time. Gang-hwa doesn’t know what to make of this discovery.
Late into the night, Gang-hwa and Yu-ri meet up so the former can tell the latter about Seo Woo saying her name. Yu-ri realizes that Seo Woo has been seeing her far longer than she initially thought and starts weeping uncontrollably. Gang-hwa hesitates to give her a pat on her back but eventually does so to try and comfort her. Gang-hwa starts getting fed up for our mama’s insistence to hide her identity from Min Jeong and Seo Woo. In a ball of sobs, she sounds regretful but remains tight-lipped about the truth.
A standoff erupts between Mi Dong and the exorcist (Named Guk-bong) when the latter finally meets and confronts Yu-ri. Mi Dong saves her from his clutches and explains that he is here to take Seo Woo under his wing to become either a shaman or an exorcist. The question on everyone’s mind pops up again about Yu-ri taking her rightful place and she still gives a decisive “no”. She professes to Mi Dong that Seo Woo’s favorite person is her mom, Min Jeong, and that she can never replace her. This is by far the most heartbreaking scene for me because it solidifies who Yu-ri truly is: a person that has so much love to give that even though her own child pushed her away to run towards Min Jeong, she still chooses to let her go and just care for her in the sidelines. With this answer, Mi Dong finally gives in and instructs her to protect Seo Woo until the end.
At the hospital, Gang-hwa and Keun Sang speculate how Yu-ri seeminly knows Min Jeong and about the grandma’s severe condition despite showing no physical signs of harm. Keun Sang recounts Hyeon Jeong becoming unhinged last night as she got drunk and kept spewing nonsense (At least to him) about divorce, saving Yu-ri, and loving each other (Min Jeong and Gang-hwa). The boys have a talk with Hyeon Jeong that night and Gang-hwa discloses his doubts on Yu-ri. No words, only tears come out from Hyeon Jeong as she is also speechless on what to do to make things better for her best friend.
Back at Mi-Dong’s house, the ghosts decide to stay with her afraid of the exorcist. Hye Jin is not with them and is told that she’s probably hiding since she’s the 1st one supposedly who’ll go up. She was bullied at work and couldn’t stand the agony so she committed suicide. Kang Bin says that she could have just quit her job but she didn’t think that that was an option then. The moment she killed herself was the same time she regretted what she just did.
Devising a plan to have Seo Woo spend the day with Yu-ri and her family, Gang-hwa pretends needing to do something and drops off our little girl at the Cha household. Seeing the family fawn all over Seo Woo was just what they needed after a long time of restraining themselves from seeing her. Gang-hwa told Min Jeong that he and Keun Sang would take the kids out for the day but when she meets Hyeon Jeong on the street, Ha Jun is with her. Hyeon Jeong wasn’t informed of the boys’ plan and this makes Min Jeong a bit suspicious.
On the way home for the day, Gang-hwa and Seo Woo stop and wait to cross the street. Guk-bong calls for the child but Gang-hwa catches her in time before he could take her away. Suddenly, the scene shifts to Gang-hwa running again. The exorcist proclaims Yu-ri’s existence as a ghost for the last 5 years and that she’s been with them all this time. He goes to see Yu-ri and he stops in front of her trying to catch his breath. Unable to look at her, he utters how she could have endured it all. With his head down, a mixture of guilt and pain surrounds him as he recalls all those times that Yu-ri must have witnessed him moving on with Min Jeong — stealing glances at her, laughing with her, getting married, and of course forming a new family with Seo Woo. Aww man, when can anyone catch a break here?😭
I realize that I’ve been focusing on Yu-ri’s married life family and not her primary family’s feelings on her 2nd chance at life. I don’t know how they’ll take the news of her 49 day rule but I’m pretty sure if she’s not upfront with them about it, this 2nd loss will be more devastating for them. I think the best gift Yu-ri can present with them (If she doesn’t become fully human) is the truth so that they’ll be prepared and come to terms with her possibly leaving them again.
Episode 12 is Gang-hwa’s breaking point — to feel ashamed and remorseful because you were able to move on from your wife’s death but knowing that she witnessed it all… man, that can seriously mess up a person. This is a non-issue to Yu-ri already and she needs to tell him that so he knows that he didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t know if Guk-bong also revealed her 49 days status but I’m guessing not yet. This has to stir up some kind of feelings for him but don’ worry, I’m at the acceptance stage already🥺 I’m sure he’ll always love Yu-ri in his heart… but I honestly believe that he’ll choose to stay with Min Jeong until the very end.
Now that we know an exorcist wants to take Seo Woo under their wing, it’s going to be one hell of a fight for our mama to keep her daughter safe. I have 2 scenarios in mind: One is that Yu-ri choosing to go up despite getting a second chance at life will be enough for the deity to spare Seo Woo in seeing ghosts. That was her judgment and she will pass the test. The other is more unlikely and the opposite of my 1st theory above. Since Yu-ri is seflessly sacrificing her chance to stay on Earth, the deity actually makes her into a full-fledged human being and ends up protecting Seo Woo herself. For her love life, I think a cameo by her real life husband, Rain, should happen and the possibility of them getting together is teased😍 A girl can dream right? Haha!