Bác Xuyến

I said, “Rồi cũng hết một ngày.”
Dad said, “Rồi cũng hết một đời chứ không những hết một ngày.”

Bác Xuyến passed away on yesterday, July 3rd, 2012.  I miss her already.

I could recall her face and what she used to say when she was alive.  I even quoted her not last week, “Ăn qua ngày, chờ qua đời.” I used to joke, “Biết/Hiểu chết liền.”  Although, we didn’t talk on the phone but I would hear stories and checking on her through my dad and mấy bác. I was so much in shock when dad told me that she passed away. I tried to call chị Ngân right away. Chị Ngân said that the doctors had revived her and that everyone is praying for her. I don’t know if I was evil or not but part of me had a confusion about her well-being. I was confused if she was dead or alive still.  I was thinking how it would be if she was dead.  The emotions and pain that everyone would have to experience.  Then I prayed that she was well and be alive because we loved her much.  I thought about how she had always afraid of ghosts and it would suck if she’s died because it would terrify her. Then dad said it was confirmed because chị Hiền called anh Thành to chở bác Ba Lạng đi nhận xác. I cried. The emotions dwelled up. It was sad. It was unsettling for me. I felt loss. I felt there’s hole in my heart. I cried.

Dad, bác Liên and I spent most of today, July 4th, running around, calling mấy bác and anh chị in Vietnam and Canada. I could feel my emotions drain, physical tiredness.

Again, after anh Kha’s and Ellen’s deaths, I could see and feel more clearly that the whole world continue to exist; activities go on; life moves forward. I could see and feel the importance of a person in people’s lives but it doesn’t matter how great and how much of that importance, everything moves forward, everyone who is or not directly involve continues on with daily activities and with their lives. the world continue to spin, the sun still shines, the moon still brights. but the dead’s world doesn’t exist. It is true that in life there is only thing; and that is to live, be living, and in dead there is only thing to do and that is dead. But I am confused about birth and death. I thought I have understood somewhat of the teaching, Dogen’s teaching, but unfortunately I have not. I hear people say about after life and where would the soul go. Isn’t it a bit far fetch to think about beyond the living, the current moment, the current live? there is no transitional stage because at any moment, there is that moment: either be living or dead…and no such things as “dying.”

Whatever stage I’m in right now, I know that I am sad. I know that people I love are experiencing loss and sadness too. There are pain and suffering. Those have been my questions since I was little, “Why there are pain and suffering? Why are we experiencing them? What’s the purpose?” The typical answers would be, “Learn detachment!” But where’s the line between being detached and being uncompassionated? can you be detached from someone and yet feeling and giving compassion to them? the lesson should be do not lingering or holding on to one thing. Everything is impermanent. Is impermanence including compassion? And why do I feel pain, void, and sorrow in my heart whenever I look deep into it? Why do I feel pain, void, and sorrow for people? How do I help myself? How do I help them not feeling pain and suffering? Why do we have to go through such things?

Questions for me to find my answer.  In the meantime, bác Xuyến please know that everyone loves you very very much.  Everyone misses you very very much.  You are in our thoughts.  We pray that you’re at peace and at ease.  Dad and the rest of us want you not to feel like you still have unfinished business here still.  We will do our best to take care of it.  Please feel at peace.  We love you and miss you much.

“Life is the realization of all functions; death is the realization of all functions.”


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