Five Life Lessons From Hi Bye, Mama

As the world comes to a screeching halt, I’ll run in the heavens and prance with the cosmos to greet you. Annyeong, yorobun! It’s been a while. I’ll end my K-Dramaverse furlough by sharing with you lessons from Kim Tae-hee’s small screen comeback, Hi Bye, Mama. And if you haven’t seen the series yet, make sure to prepare 49 boxes of tissues.

Hi Bye Mama yuri funeral

Hi Bye, Mama follows the journey of Cha Yu-ri, a ghost who’s been lingering around her young daughter for five years and suddenly came back to life. Yu-ri was given the choice to permanently live again if she’ll be able to take her place back as Seo-woo’s (Seo Woo-jin) mother and Cho Gang-hwa’s (Lee Kyu-hyung) wife in 49 days. On the onset, Yu-ri decided that she’ll just resolve Seo-woo’s issue of seeing ghosts, which she caused, and then pass on to be reincarnated, especially since Gang-hwa is already married to the sweet Oh Min-jung (Go Bo-gyeol). But after experiencing the joy and beauty of reuniting with loved ones, Yu-ri had second thoughts on giving away the precious gift given to her by the heavens.

Here are the five life lessons I’ve learned from Yu-ri’s second chance at life.

  • My life is not entirely mine.

Though there are numerous heart-tugging moments in this drama, the scene where the suffering of the ghosts’ families was shown struck me the hardest.  I was going through some serious health issues at the start of the year and thought to myself that it won’t be a big deal if I die. But after watching the series, I realized that my life is not just mine. It belongs to my family, to my friends, to everyone who cares about me. And it would be so selfish to end the battle without picking up the sword. It would be unfair to them if I give up without trying. My suffering may have end after I die, but the pain for my loved ones live on.

Hi Bye Mama ghost

  • Find meaning in the little moments that make up life.

Whether it was keeping her promise to pick up Gang- hwa when it rains or failing to do Yu-ri’s request to put the vacuum cleaner up, the couple went on their lives thinking that there will always be tomorrow for them. But when the next day never arrived, the two realized that those trivial things that we often overlook give meaning to life.


Perhaps, the moments that are not grand nor special and we often take as insignificant are the ones we should treasure.

  • Family is not defined by blood.

Yu-ri’s best friend, Go Hyun-jung (Shin Dong-mi) proved countless times in this drama that a family cannot be defined solely by blood relations. Hyun-jung is my favorite character not just because of her humorous antics but because of her undying loyalty to Yu-ri. Hyun-jung defied her mother-in-law’s order to skip Yu-ri’s funeral since she just gave birth and continued to post heartfelt messages on Yu-ri’s SNS page even after the latter passed away.

It’s also touching when Yu-ri’s ghost friends sacrificed themselves while protecting Seo- woo from the exorcist.

  • A mother’s love surpasses reasons and seasons.

Hi Bye, Mama was penned by Kwon Hye-joo, the same writer who gave life to Go Back Couple. And just like her previous work, Hi Bye, Mama focuses on the undying love and sacrifice of a mother for her child. Yu-ri thought that she was brought back to life after cursing the skies, but it was revealed in the final episode that the heavens heard her mother’s earnest prayers. Without missing a single day, Yu-ri’s omma, Jeon Eun-sook (Kim Mi-kyung), visited the temple to beg the deities to let her see her daughter once again.

Hi Bye Mama prayer

A mother’s selfless love was also shown when Yu-ri decided to let go of the chance to live again for Seo-woo’s sake. She’d rather die than live knowing Seo-woo will sufer all her life seeing ghosts.

Lastly, I’d like to point out Min-jung’s unconditional love for Seo woo. She may not be her biological mother but Min-jung genuinely cares for Seo-woo’s welfare and loves her like her own flesh and blood.

Hi Bye Mama minjung seowoo

  • Life is about parting. We have to say goodbye to meet again.

Aside from the theme of a mother’s eternal love, I think Hi Bye, Mama‘s most beautiful lesson is the importance of letting go and moving on. From Gang-hwa’s guilt, to Eun-suk’s pain, to the reality that Yu-ri can no longer see her precious child grow up, Hi Bye, Mama showed us the value of acceptance and moving forward. And although goodbyes hurt more as we get older and understand life better, we can always use the good memories to fill up the gap that we feel inside.

Hi bye mama let me go

Tipsy Musings

Though Hi Bye, Mama is filled with top notch actors and actresses, I think the real winner in this series is Go Bo-gyeol. From playing Ji Eun-tak’s friend in Goblin to Choi Ban-do’s first love in Go Back Couple, I believe this is the first time that she was able to showcase her acting skills.

This heart-piercing scene lingered in my mind after I saw it. Her sublime approach conveyed explosive feelings even in the absence of lines.

Tipsy Findings

Did you notice Kim Seul-gi‘s cameo on episode 10? Since Hi Bye, Mama and Oh My Ghostess share the same PD, it’s not hard to have the quirky virgin ghost Shin Soon-ae to appear on the show.

I think many of the fans are aware of this, but I just want an excuse to share Seo-woo’s cuteness. The child star who played Seo-woo is actually a boy.

Writer-nim decided to cast him for a female role because of his resemblance to Kim Tae-hee.

What ever it is that you need to let go, I hope the tears in your eyes will no longer block the beautiful world.

hi bye mama finale


~ Tipsy Ahjumma

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