‘Live On Without Me’: A Mother’s Love

What if you get attached to someone and one day have to give them up? Will you still live without them?

(Image: GagaOOLala)

Live On Without Me‘ is an award-winning series starring So Yuet Yin, Ng Kit Yan, and Hong Kong Film Awards nominee Hedwig Tam directed by Wan Kar Wuen. The story depicts Kayan, a divorced cafe owner who lives with her daughter, Tung Tung. Her life is renewed after meeting her lesbian partner, Shuting, who becomes part of the loving family. When Kayan dies in a tragic car accident, the grieving Shuting wants to continue taking care of Tung but encounters strong opposition from Kayan’s mother. At Kayan’s funeral, due to social norms and taboos, Shuting is completely sidelined and stripped of the privilege to bid farewell to the love of her life. She faces yet another dilemma, having to make the decision to do what is best for Tung Tung.

 

WARNING: Spoiler alert! Read at your own risk.

 

The film opens in Tung, Kayan’s daughter is having her piano lessons at their home with her partner Shuting. After practice, she sent a voice message to Kayan, telling her that she was bringing her daughter to the mall to shop and check for another piano to buy. After sending the message, she receives a call from someone telling her about Kayan. Her vision turned blurry after hearing the news about her. She went to the hospital with Tung after hearing the news. A few moments later, Kayan’s mother arrived, and her daughter hugged her grandma, telling her that her mother was gone and Kayan’s mom didn’t mind her presence there.

Shuting went home and stayed in the kitchen, having a smoke while remembering their happy moments together. She checked on the refrigerator and saw a bowl of strawberries. She remembered when Kayan teased her daughter, telling her that she had already finished the strawberry jellies. Her daughter got angry and grabbed the bowl from her. She grabbed the bowl in the fridge and cried so much after reminiscing about that memory. While drying Tung’s hair, the doorbell rang, and she told the child that her grandma was visiting them. The child greeted her grandma before going to sleep. Kayan’s mom grabbed a photo of her and told Shuting that she was bringing the photo with her.

Kayan’s mother told her that ever since their fight, the latter had never visited her again. She told her that their shop got busy, and she helped her with some of the paperwork. Her mother asked her about their daily routine when Kayan was still alive. She told her that the latter works in the morning, and she takes their daughter to school and takes her home after, and then she will make dinner after. And if the shop is busy, the kid stays with them at the shop. That’s been their setup for the past few years. The latter’s mom told her that she would arrange everything for Kayan’s funeral. She agreed and told her that she would pick pictures since Kayan didn’t want those standard ones. But her mother refused, telling her that she would arrange everything and asking her to take care of Tung in the meantime. She also told her that the child would live with her soon. Shitung got shocked and asked her mother if she wanted child custody, and the latter said yes.

The next day, their staff told Shitung that their customers were asking when their signature cake would come back. He also told her that their sales went down and he didn’t know how to restock. She told him that she would handle everything, and about the signature cake, she has the recipe but can’t make it taste the same. Kayan’s mom picked up her daughter at school. While walking home, she asked her if she liked her school. She also told her that she thinks the school is not good for her and that she wanted to find another school for her, but the kid angrily told her that she likes her school. Her grandma asks her if she wants a new piano for their Christmas recital, but the kid doesn’t answer.

Kayan’s mom arrived at their shop alone. She asks where the kid is, and the latter says she’s doing homework at home. They talked outside the cafe, and she asked what happened at school today. The teacher told her mom that they know what happened to their family and that Tung is always sad at school. Kayan’s mom asks her if she’s already told the child her plans, and she says she’s still thinking about it. Tung’s grandma also told her that she wanted the child to sleep at her house so they could go to the funeral together. She also told her that she had settled everything and that she could go anytime the next day because she didn’t want to hear any gossip.

At the funeral, Shitung saw Tung sitting beside her grandmother. The child waved and smiled at her after she paid her respects. The child runs to her immediately and asks her if she’s going to take her home, but she says that they need to stay for a while for her mom. Kayan’s mom shares in her eulogy her relationship with her. She says that she is her best friend. She took care of herself and built her coffee shop alone. She also says that she raised Tung alone, and now that she’s gone, she will take care of her child so Kayan doesn’t have to worry. Hearing those words from her mom, Shitung felt sad and disappointed because she was there. She was there for Kayan and Tung, and she helped them in every way she could. But her mother didn’t acknowledge it.

At the coffee shop, Shitung is talking with her staff. He asks how Tung is doing, and he worries about her because she’s taking care of her child and the shop at the same time. She says she can’t give up for the sake of her child. But his staff says that it will be hard for her to win the custody case because she’s not the child’s real mother. A few moments later, she receives a call from Kayan’s mom saying that she has settled everything about the funeral and that she will pick up Tung after everything is settled in court. But she refused to give custody to her. She said that even if it went to court, she might not lose. But her mother insisted that she was the real family of the kid and not her.

The two women attended Tung’s piano recital. Tung waved goodbye to her grandmother and asked Shitung to carry her. At that moment, her grandma saw how much she loved and adored Shitung. She continued running the shop, and at home, Shitung remembered what Kayan’s mom told her. She hopes that she understands that she just wants to give the best to her granddaughter for the sake of her deceased daughter. At home, the kid is surprised to see her grandmother putting all her stuff in a box. Shitung told her that from that moment on, she would live with her grandma. The kid refused, but she insisted that she had to live with her because she was her real family and not her. She walks away, but she hears that Tung asks her grandma to tell her not to abandon her. The film ends with Shitung buying a pink chair online addressed to Tung’s grandmother’s home.

 

Writer’s Thoughts:

‘Live On Without Me’ shows us that you don’t need to be blood-related to be a parent to someone. You just have to accept and love them wholeheartedly. And no matter what science or a paper says, you can always be a parent to them.

 

Watch ‘Live On Without Me’ on GagaOOlala.

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