Shock. Grief. Disbelief. These are 3 emotions that began yesterday when I got a text message from my sister who is in the United States. All of my optimistic plans for the new year got derailed in less than a second. I cried alone in my dormitory. I denied the truth in order to attempt to successfully participate in my class. I failed halfway through the class, returned to my dorm, and resumed. Despite being close enough to witness the event, my sister still can not believe what happened. She is still patiently waiting for him to come home.
I worked at the hotel with my friend Mong for many years. The man had many nicknames including, “Mong the Monk,” or, “Buddha.” Both names were appropriate because when his bald Lao man laughed one could hear Buddha. His dragon tattoos may have intimidated many people upon first impression, but quickly he or she discover Mong was a gentle man. This man happily invited many coworkers, including myself, to his home. At his home he would host get togethers and make delicious food until ones pants would not longer fit.
This pain is made worse because I am so far away that the only thing I am able to do about the tragedy is cry and pray. Right now I can not hug my sister, who dated and lived with this man for about 5 years. I have no idea when or where the funeral will be. I still believe that after a 30 hour plane ride followed by a 13 hour bus ride, that this man will be there ready to greet me. This pain will not go away, but it will be temporary pacified by denial. That denial is shattered every time I see his face as a result of logging into Facebook. Mong has touched the hearts of several people.