Cậu Thái

When I heard the news I was on my way out the door. A stormy Saturday, strangely fitting. I stood, staring at the dead leaves on the trees that line the edge of our apartment community, the rain falling steadily, just staring and wondering. I wondered how a simple text could change how the entire world looked. How the passing of one human being, thousands of miles away could render the air both emptier and yet pregnant with meaning, at the same time.


You loved us well. You taught us that we could love without the weight of responsibility. You were the fun young uncle. It is funny and sad that in most of my memories of you, my behavior was terrible. I was so angry at Ryan when he got scared during the TNMT movie and we had to leave, I was such a brat at the Giants game that we had to leave early, never appreciative and always demanding. You brought KFC to every family gathering and we loved you for it. You lived with us when you were the age I am now, and you were more generous and caring than I could ever imagine being with my young cousins, or future nephews and nieces. We were so happy that you found love at last. You married Co Jen and had four beautiful girls. You found God and a love for Christ, and I am so sad and so happy and so jealous that you get to be with them now.

It’s hard Cậu Thái. I wish I could have seen you again before you left. I find myself feeling guilty for not trying harder to visit you, and then feeling guilty for how selfish that thought is. You are in a better place now, hopefully a less confusing (and yet more mysterious and wonderful) place, and that leaves us here. I hope we can find it in ourselves to love your wife and daughters the way you loved us. That somehow we will find our family closer and happier that we were before. Rest in peace and so much more.


Cau Thai



~ by justinhong on January 12, 2014.

7 Responses to “Cậu Thái”

  1. thank you for so beautifully expressing so much…. he is smiling down on you, his beloved nephew.

  2. Thanks, Justin. I couldn’t help but shed some tears…

  3. Justin, that was beautiful and also brought tears to my eyes! Bac Thai lived with me in my first (San Jose) and second houses (Saratoga) for about 12 years. After we moved to Pleasanton, he also wanted to follow but, as you know, there was a minor hiccup (cancer) that made him change his plan to relocate somewhere else (Heaven).

    He was always gentle, understanding, kind and generous. And I would like to remember that he has saved some of us by motivating his siblings to get the colonoscopy screening before the recommended age of 50. Actually, new data indicates that this should be done from 40 as the median age of colon cancer patients is now 44.

    Our family has also made some diet changes, so we are very thankful to Bac Thai for his passing has taught us a good lesson!

  4. That’s a touching reflection man. I’m praying for your family 😦

  5. Our deepest sympathy to Jennifer and children, Bac Gai Tru and the Nguyen siblings in this time of difficulty and sorrow. If there is any blessing or consolation, Thai is now free of physical pain and sufferings. Thai’s gentle manner and smile and optimism, even when sick, demonstrated how strong a person he was. May you all find comfort that Thai’s departure is only a transition from the world we are living in to a better world with eternal peace and no suffering.

  6. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jennifer and the family at this sorrow time.
    RIP Thái! Your kindness, gentleness, humbleness, and smart young man will stay in our memories forever. Knowing you from being co-worker at Community Landing for 12 years to being our best man in my wedding 24 years ago, I always see your smiling face in my mind; what an optimistic young man you were as I am often thinking of you!!

  7. Thanks for sharing the touching memoir of your uncle Justin. How often we forget that we won’t always have each other in this world. How much more then to cherish the times we do have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: