It’s hard to lose weight. It’s even harder when you’re diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Ironically, I was in shape and weighed in at 123lbs before the doctor diagnosed me. I suppose it’s the methimazole.
I’m a little depressed.
I hesitated when I was asked to write about this. It was not because I felt shamed or felt I needed to add some lies so that people would believe me. It was because this is the first time I was able to express my feelings, thoughts, and anger. I knew that you would come across my story and I wanted you to know how I feel. I also know you don’t care but because you are my cousin I want you to know this much. All these years I’ve kept quiet and now I am ready to share the pain endured. I was ready to be pointed at and called a liar but it did not matter to me. When I was writing I didn’t have to think; all the pain and tears wrote itself out.
I was able to allievate that pain and balance my life again. When my sister told me of what you said I was infuriated that you said I forgot to mention how you guys love us. Yes at some point in life, probably when my dad was still here, you guys did love us. I failed to mention that but am now. We used to be one hell of a family. I find myself thinking about how good life was back in the day and now it is not.
We are sad things came to be this way but we acknowledged it. When I wrote my story I also wrote that of my mother, brother, and sisters. This is not just about me but about them as well. We all share the same pain and we walked the same path. What one had to deal with, we all coped together.
I am not sorry about my life at all. I geniunely wish you guys the very best. To end I quote, “Ua Siab Loj.”
A month before my father passed away, my mother recieved a phone call from my aunt. In that phone call, my mother’s life would change forever. My grandma passed away. My mother was the type of person, who even at her weakest, would find the courage to smile. I didn’t know the pain she felt. I didn’t know how to comfort her. All I knew was, my grandma passed away.
My mother wanted to have another child. Her hope quickly faded as my dad quietly said, “I don’t want my children to grow up without a father.” The conversation would then lead to talking about my grandma’s death. My dad had said to my mom that if he was to be put on life support - for her to take him off. He wanted the time to be short and vague. He didn’t want us to remember the time spent at the hospital. He didn’t want any of that.
It was as if this had happened yesterday. I remember the conversation between the doctor and my mom. I remember seeing my mother clinging onto the doctor’s sleeves screaming, “Don’t let my husband die. I don’t want him to die. My mom just passed away. I’m not ready to lose my husband!” My heart dropped as the doctor replied, “I’m so sorry.”
The moments felt forever and it was as if time had slow down. I couldn’t find it in myself to get up and run towards my mom. Instead, I sat down starring aimlessly at the sky. I suddenly had a burst of energy as I thrust myself at the doctor, “I can donate my blood. I can donate my kidney. I will do anything if you would please just wake my dad up!” It was silent. I knew the doctors did all they could.
My mom told me what my dad had said to her. I knew then that it was only right not to let my dad or my siblings suffer anymore. The decision was made on a Wednesday night.
On that particular night, ‘something’ was bugging me. I was very scared and told my mom. She had asked that the pastor pray for me. As we sat in a circle and started to pray ‘it’ got closer. I was sitting in front of this big window. My dad had a chicken coop that was about 100 feet away from where I was sitting. ‘It’ made a zigzag motion towards me. My 2 dogs barked and followed ‘it’ until it stood right behind me. My dogs was on guard the whole night. The next morning as my relatives were cleaning around the house they found a very large black snake with its head chopped clean (behind the window I was sitting in front of). My dogs could not have done this as the results would have been otherwise. I didn’t think much of it then but now that I recall the incidents it was perhaps a bad ‘omen’ to come.
As days go by, my dog Simba, refused to get up. He was crying as he knew daddy was not coming home anymore. My other dog, Snetch, ran away. It wasn’t short after that they, too, passed.
My dad’s oldest brother came to me and asked, “Where do you want to bury your dad?” I replied, “Minnesota.” Before I knew it, they flew my dad to Seattle. I was so angry as to why they decided this without my acknowledgment. I wish I had known before; maybe then my mother and siblings would have had the chance to live a life without poverty.
This was when my hatred towards Hmong people started to build up. I didn’t understand why they were taking my family’s belonging. Even before we announced the death of my father, someone had already broken into his truck and took all of his tools. I was so angry since my dad was nothing more than giving. The very people that my dad helped; stole from him. (I just wanted to say, when my family moved to Florida in 2001, the Hmong population consisted of no more than 10 family. My dad considered everyone family.)
Someone even had the audacity to steal my dad’s chickens. I know chickens are chickens but they were my dad’s prized possession. I ran out the door and had confronted this man. “Why are you taking my dad’s chicken?” He did not respond instead he told his sons to hurry up and bagged all the chickens that they could. My brother, who was only 14, ran by me and said to the man, “Those are my dad’s chicken. You have no right.” I’m the oldest and yet what I said made no difference in this man’s eyes. Perhaps it was because I’m a girl. I felt disgusted and just wanted to punch him.
I just didn’t understand.
My mom was so devastated. She cried and would say that my dad didn’t love her. If he did he wouldn’t have left. She kept repeating that. I didn’t know what to say to her but for her to know that my dad loved her so much. That night my dad visited me in my dream. He was sitting next to my mom caressing her hair. He was dressed in a white suit. He looked so angelic. He looked at me and said, “Sha, tell mommy that I love her so much. I love you guys so much. I didn’t want to go but it was my time.” I woke up saying, “Daddy, don’t go.” I told my mom what my dad had said, she sat there.. crying.
My family left Florida to prepare for my dad’s funeral in Washington. It was the first day of my dad’s funeral that I would dream of my dad again. Only this time, he would say his goodbyes. “Sha, I’m home now. Tell mom and your siblings that I am safe. I’m happy. Tell them I love you guys so much.” I ran to my mom only to be greeted halfway. She and I both had the same dreams. I just kept crying.
“There you stood with eyes that glisten as if tears had just fallen.
Dressed in white you looked so pure and vibrant.
The sun gestured morning and the air peace.
You told me that you’re home now and for me not to worry.
A smile filled with so much love, you then disappeared.”
I didn’t see my dad since I left Florida. As I walked into the funeral home, I see his casket align with beautiful white roses. It felt so surreal. I didn’t want to believe that my dad was laying there. I didn’t want to believe any of it.
My dad’s oldest brother told me not to cry. If I did, then everyone will cry. I listened. I fought with my heart and held back my tears. The ceremony was so beautiful; just like the life he lead. After we laid my dad to rest it will take 2 years before he had a head stone.
I didn’t understand.
My dad’s oldest brother told my mother, siblings, and the rest of the world, that he will be our best friend. He and his wife both vowed to take in my mother and siblings until they were stable enough to move on. I thought he was the best uncle in the whole wide world.
I thought wrong.
Behind our backs they have concocted a scheme of lies and betrayal. Behind our backs, they planned their selfish way. No one knew of this; not my family, not the world, and not me. I didn’t know that at the hospital even before my dad was even declare dead – he and his wife had spoken to my mother. (Mind you, my mother was in a mental state of mind as she had lost both her mother and husband.) They started feeding her bullshit. They had said to my mother that if she put my dad’s life insurance money under their name they will invest it into their business and that money will thrive and ensure us (My siblings and I. My mother’s children) a better life. She only thought of us. Of course my mother felt she could trust them. She was their ‘nyiam txawj.’
Life went on and two years passed, still no head stone for my father. I was frustrated. Rumors began to spark. Rumors that my family was living off of these people. Why they were making a big fuss, I didn’t understand. If it was a burden upon your family, why did you bother telling the world and my mom that because we are family; it was no burden. I felt so helpless because my mother felt she could fend for all of our sakes. I wished my mother had said something to me instead of bottling up her anger, her sadness, and her depression.
$150,000 disappeared in 2 years. My mom would always begged in secrecy for them to give her her money so she can buy my sisters and brother a new laptop – the answer would always be no. Instead, they bought their son a new Hummer with my mom’s money. It’s devastating to know that we meant nothing to them. My mom lived day by day in hopes that maybe, maybe just one they would give my mom a few dollars just so she can buy us something. That day never came.
Thoughts circled my head endlessly. I didn’t understand what was wrong with the fact that my mother was a widow. It’s not like my mom chose this decision. I didn’t understand why the Hmong community shun down my family. I didn’t understand where we went wrong. All my life, my father was a man to help those in need. All my life my parents made due with what little we had and never once complain. My parents’ life connotes love. That was who they were and that was what people felt with their presence alone. I just didn’t understand. My mother- to the Hmong; was a shame. Because of what two selfish people said. My trust in family disperse.
“Love and death they both come unexpectedly and uninvited.
I wasn’t ready for death. I wasn’t prepared for it yet here I am, living through a spectrum of life that I do not understand. I’ve lived through it and still I suffer every day. I try not to think of all that has happened because reality is- he’s gone. I’m still here, I can’t shy myself from the world. I love you Daddy but truce is you would’ve kept pushing me forward.
Life- it’s unfair. My uncles taught me that every second of the day. They constantly remind me, life is not fair. The world will always throw you the odds of things.
I’m tired of running to a dead end.
You see, I don’t know how it feels like to lose a spouse. I don’t know how it feels like to lose your life long companion. I didn’t know. I was selfish. I am selfish.
Instead I would beat up my mom with words that I shouldn’t have said. I’m sorry Mom, I’m still that child and I hate it. I can’t take back the words I’ve said. I can’t take back those moments. I can’t. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
I didn’t see how lonely you were. I only saw myself in a world of pain. I didn’t care even when I thought I did. Death came. It took me away.
It’s a world I will never understand until I have lived through it. Sometimes some things are only to be understood if you took it feet first.
Startled by the sudden changes it collided with my heart. The richness that death brings remains arcane.
I attack others with poison. My words are faint to me but to others they are stones that leaves scars. I can be apathetic to the situation but knowing me, myself, I can never leave it at that. It’s a matter of wanting to listen, I attack because I know it holds truths to the fable life I’ve been telling myself to live.
Death came and left, I did too.I look at the saying, a walking zombie, in another way now. My mother, was a walking zombie. Her body was here, her mind elsewhere. Her pain was here, her heart yearned for more.
I know I can’t replace my father. I know I can’t replace what she lost. I know I can’t love her the way my father did. I know I can’t be on the same level she needs. I know I can’t.
And that was when Love came.
Love works in mysterious ways.”
My mother finally said no more. My family packed what they could and left. Although, we will never see that money, everything will be all right. My parents did not raise us to teach hate. They taught us forgiveness. Regardless of what these people may have said and done, my mother would always say, “He is still your uncle. You have to forgive him.” She has no obligations to these people and still to this day, she shows nothing but love. I am so proud of my mother. Unexpectedly she became not just a mother but a father as well. I know she still feels guilty for what she thought she did wrong but none of that matter. This whole ordeal has taught us that in this world as long as there is us and there is faith, we will get through it all. “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Matthew 5:39
My mother is my life. Without her, I feel I would be nothing in this world. She is our strength and love. She is the notion of love. She is my mother.
During this time period of trial and tribulations I believe my family’s morals and ethics in life was tested. In the end, the lesson taught is that without love there is no life and without life there is no love.
Pain is something that cannot be measured. And when you feel that the world has turn its back on you, take on the world with a smile. Everything will fall into place. As cliché as that may sound, that for me, is truths. Love.