A son's tribute to his mother

Howard wrote this beautiful note to his friends and family after his mom lost her fight with cancer.

Howard and his mom taking in the Florence breeze.

Howard and his mom taking in the Florence breeze.

My mom passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. In her final days she was fortunate to be surrounded by people she loved - friends and family whose lives she touched, pouring their love back into her.

She will be remembered most for her kindness and humility. Over the past few weeks I've heard countless stories from family about my mom's limitless heart: the time, as a high schooler, she spent her entire savings to buy the first refrigerator for her family. The period where she siphoned off a large part of her paycheck to support a brother who was still in school. All the times she simply listened and offered her undivided attention to others. Stories I had never heard before because she never found them worthy of mention. To her, these acts of kindness weren't anything special - they were the operating code through which she interacted with the world.

Given her selflessness, it's easy to think of her solely in the context of what she gave to others. However, I never want to forget what she was like as an individual. Since her passing, what's made me happiest is remembering her peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies, the million little things that defined her: her innocent, yet brutal honesty (warning my college roommates that I "eat a lot" and always reminding me that my legs are too skinny and underdeveloped), the tiny, lilting laugh that would come any time something furry came into her vicinity (always taking a photo for quick future reference), the quiet strength and dignity with which she fought this awful disease.

In death, as in life, mom has us organized for what comes next. The Hsu boys will do our best to keep her trademark thoughtfulness, sharp sense of humor, and infinite generosity alive not only in our relationships with one another, but also with the world at large. Even if you have never had the fortune of meeting her, my mom has no doubt touched you in some way: every good quality I see in myself is directly traceable to something I have observed over the years in my mom.

She was the best of us. An angel from Heaven. My best friend. Everyone that encountered her is just a little (oftentimes a lot) better for it. If you have a personal memory of her, please don't be afraid to email or message it to me. (No matter how minor the memory, or how long it's been since we've spoken. It all matters.) Wishing you all the best.