My dearest Sombath

SB-MOI write with great sadness to let you know that your beloved mother passed away this morning. Her health started failing about 6 months ago. Although she was very weak, she held on, pining to see you one last time.

Your mother is one of the kindest and gentlest souls I have ever known; and it is so clear to me that she and you had a special bond. I often see how your faces light up whenever you see each other. As her first born, you definitely had a special spot in her heart; and you, as her eldest son, you saw it your duty to lighten her burden as a parent as much as you could. You often told me how hard your mother had to work on the farm, as well as take care of all of you. You spoke of her with such love and respect, telling me often about how she never complained even though life was tough. Looking back, you must have inherited many of her traits – her kindness, gentleness, patience, and how to work hard.

Sombath, your mother has to be the best mother-in-law one can ever wish for. She was a woman of few words, and it seemed that she did not even like talking very much. I have never, in all these years, heard her speak ill of anybody.

Not being a Lao, I know that I have often failed to observe many of the Lao customs and cultural practices expected of a Lao wife and a Lao daughter-in-law. If she had felt any annoyance with my behavior, she had never shown it, nor had I ever heard of her talking about this behind my back. She just accepted me for what I am, and treated me with kindness and love.

I am all the more saddened by the fact that your kind and gentle mother who had never caused any harm to anybody, had to suffer the pain of you, her most beloved son, being taken away from her side when she most wanted you to be with her during the last days of her life. Those who have taken you should be ashamed that they have done this terrible deed and will certainly have to pay for their crime one way or other. For now, I will just have to take comfort in the belief that our dearest mother has gone to a better place – a place where she will continue to smile upon us all, and more importantly, she will also protect you and keep you safe from harm.

Sombath, please don’t be sad wherever you are. Let’s celebrate the life of this wonderful woman, your mother, and may she rest in peace.

Shui Meng