Bài viết của Dr. Bruce (Cường) Minh Nghiem, em rể của Chị Lê Thị Nhài
During this time of sorrow, I would like to take a moment and reflect on the memories of Mo. My name is Nghiem Minh Cuong, son-in-law of Cau and Mo.
In 2002, I remembered meeting the family for the first time. Mo opened her heart to me with her smile and her food. I can still hear Mo hum or sing her songs as she cooked in her kitchen or say as a term of endearment: Thang Khoa no thui qua. Mo’s kitchen was not any ordinarily place, it was a place of security and in many sense a Haven, where memories were built. Home was Mo’s kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin. No matter how many people showed up for any occasions, Mo always made sure there was a place for them. We will remember and miss Mo’s Bo Nhung Dam or Bun Oc. Though with any large family there are many dynamics, but Mo was always the person to go to. We will miss the long-distanced phone calls and updating Mo with the next new thing with the grandchildren. It is interesting that my daughter’s favorite song is ‘You are my Sunshine,’ and that was the same song that Mo would sing with Phuong and Tu(when they were little girls) while they were driving to pick up Cau from work. Before going to bed last night, my wife told me that Mo had a special story about each of her children. These stories revealed how much she enjoyed being a mother. All of those things we will miss so much.
During the last year, Mo suffered with in-describable pain. Cau was always there during those most difficult times. I will never forget Cau’s gentle way when he would tend to her. At this time in my life, I am still learning life lessons from Cau and Mo. Mo’s strength and will to survive will never be forgotten. Her sacrifice to her family will never be forgotten. There was nothing in life that was beneath Mo when it came to her family. Such life lessons will never be forgotten, and I promise to Cau and Mo that I will pass them onto my two daughters.
Not only did I see Mo’s enduring strength from her, but I saw this in her children- Chi Phuong, Anh Dzung, Chi Uyen, Anh Khanh, and Anh Kiem for their courage in holding strong for both Mo and Cau. Every spare moment out of their time was with Cau and Mo. A typical day for Anh Khanh was traveling back and forth from work with a 3 hours commute and spending the rest of his evening at the hospital with Mo. Chi Phuong would travel 4 hours from Pasadena weekly to aid in supporting Cau. Anh Khiem flew from Ohio bi-weekly to be closer to his parents during this time of trial. Anh Dzung in his own and private ways, helped Cau and Mo with what needed to be done. And we will never forget about Chi Uyen, who donated her kidney to Mo 6 years ago so that she may have a better quality of life. Even though Mo is not with us physically, I see so much of her in her children. Their willingness to offer every ounce of themselves is a direct reflection of what Mo and Cau would do for their children. This is the Tran family.
Vietnam was a special place. It is where we came from. Though it was hard for Cau and Mo to leave, they knew our future was not there. We are grateful for all of your struggles it took to leave it. In many ways, the way we look at the world is through the teaching of our parents. Our values, as you and Cau taught me, as my parents, Bo and Vu, taught me; will always be close to my heart and my children’s hearts.
About three years ago, I remember Mo talking to me about some of her regrets. Though I do not recall the exact topic of discussion, I remember that Mo said that life is a constant conflict and if we held onto such bitterness or conflict, life will not change. Sometimes we need to follow the Buddhist way and leave the past and let go. Letting go and moving onward, forward was what I remember the most with my talk with Mo. Thank you Mo for sharing another life lesson to me. I am fortunate to be surrounded by my immediate family and my wife’s family. This is a privilege and an honor that I will always embrace.
Mo, you will always be with us in our hearts and memories. It is our memories that matters the most. As I tell my daughter to make sense of what death may be: You are in the stars right now and you are still watching over us in some un-explained way, but I would like to let you know that we will all be OK and we will all look after each other as family should.
You are with us forever. We love you, Mo.
Mother Day May,9