The Tuesday When Tears Fell

October 20, 2007

The following is a guest post.

Ginger, my little dog, died suddenly of natural causes. She was not even six years old, which made her passing even more saddening. My heart was stung with pain; my soul was broken into a thousand pieces.

I have cried several times in my life. I cried when my parents passed away alone in their home town, a tiny village in a poor and isolate area a few miles from the Kampuchea border.

I cried for a number of my classmates who left school to join the army. As soldiers, they fought and had fallen in battles away from home. These bloody battles were part of an endless war that went on for more than a decade in my poor Viet Nam.

I cried when I received a small parcel from my wife-to-be on a cold night of late winter after the fall of Saigon. The parcel contained some dried and salty fish and a couple of sweet cakes. It was handed to me by the skinny communist assigned to the section of the concentration camp where I was held.

My wife, my first son, who was only three months old, and I cried as we sat on the white sandy beach of a tiny island of Indonesia, a thousand miles from Jakarta city. We looked at our old wooden boat. It was less than ten meters long, yet it carried more than a hundred people, old and young, determined to escape the communist regime. After six straight days and nights on the open sea, the boat had begun to sink; its walls riddled with holes.

I cried when I stood next to the coffin of my mother-in-law who passed away due to dementia after spending more than a year in a nursing home in Melbourne. I waited for the funeral worker to close the lid of the coffin for the last time.

But as sad as those tears were, they did not compare to Tuesday’s tears.

It was a misty and smoky morning on the day Ginger was buried. In the small back yard, as quiet as a night ghost, I dug a tiny hole. Her body was wrapped carefully in a black and tough plastic bag, with her two favourite toys: a green rubber ball, and a piece of ivory bone. As I prepared to lay her down, I began to cry. I sobbed uncontrollably. Tears strolled down my face, falling onto the wet soil, mixing in with the gentle morning rain that had just covered my poor little dog’s grave.

That Tuesday morning, I had lost my Ginger.

It could be said, without neither love nor hate, that Ginger was only a dog like any other dog, so there was no reason to cry. But in my heart, Ginger was not only the family pet for the past six years, but also my most cherished friend during my lonely and sad days. The continuing failures in my life throughout these recent years, despite my determination and perseverance, sometimes pushed me into disillusion and desperation. In those painful moments, Ginger came to me as a savior. Quietly and patiently she would lay next to me in the isolate room or on the wooden bench in the back yard and listen to me pour out my heart. She made me realize that life still had something worth living for. Ginger said no words but looking at her little glistering eyes and her wagging tail, I knew she understood the self-doubt that I had always kept to myself. I could talk to her for hours and in return she would listen until I stopped. I would talk to her a lot as we walked together every Sunday morning as well.

Ginger was and will always be a part of my life; a life that has had more sadness than happiness. Truly, I believe that my dear Ginger is in heaven as she did not have a single sin. However, without doubt I have certainly committed a number of sins. God will decide whether those sins are forgivable or not. If, on the day I die, God chooses to punish me; I would kneel down and beg him a last mercy. Allow me to be in heaven long enough to see Ginger one last time. At that short precious moment, I would give my poor little Ginger an eternal kiss and tell her the remaining story of my plight and a farewell word. Only then would I be more than happy to rest for ever.

Thuyen Huy
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1 comment:

D.H. Nguyen said...

Knowing exactly what this post is about, all I can say is that it's a fine and heartfelt tribute. May she rest in peace in that special suburban backyard ;)