Thursday, November 19, 2009


Untitled from Linh Nguyen on Vimeo.

In Vietnam, when a loved one passes away a poster is hung upon the door of the household of the deceased. It serves as both funeral announcement and brief biography. And, I’m sad to write to you to tell you of the passing of my beloved mother.
Vo Thi Bong was born in the southern delta region of Vietnam just a short distance south of what is now Ho Chi Minh City, the same town I was born in-An Huu. Her birth date was June 15, 1945. 
She is survived by her husband and three sons, who were all by her side in her last hours. Also, by her side were her adopted son Marc, her daughter in-law Marcy and her nieces Diem and Phuong. She also leaves a wealth of friends and distant relatives. Her funeral will be at her Mission Viejo home on Saturday, the 14th of November.
She is best remembered for her warmth and kindness to everyone she came in contact with. It is not uncommon for me to meet someone for the first time to find out he or she is a close friend of my moms, even though they have only known each other for just a few weeks. At her side intermittently for the last two weeks were half a dozen of these good friends.
She is also remembered for her great cooking. She was a master of southern Vietnamese dishes and if there was something she had not made before, from that region, all that was necessary to reproduce the dish was to taste it. Her chicken curry was out of this world great. Fried rice, porridge, the multitude of stews and soups were also the very best. And, I’m not saying this because she was my Mom. Whenever she wanted me to come home she would simply call and say that she was making Bun Bo Hue-beef noodle soup from Hue. She knew that this was my favorite. Then again maybe this was how she kept all of us around-her fabulous cooking.
Over two years ago my Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The prognosis initially was not too bad but upon further examination it was determined that the cancer was more advanced. She battled two rounds of chemotherapy and a myriad of complications associated with the disease. Her fight ended last night at 7:45pm.
I’m happy though that her struggle is over but I will be forever sad that she is no longer on this earth to warm our hearts with her cheerful smile and her great food. 
There is another Vietnamese term worth mentioning here-Chia Buon. It means to share sadness. The idea is that the more friends and family you have the more you can divide up your sorrow. So, please join our family in the mourning of my beloved Mother, Vo Thi Bong.