Monday, July 20, 2009

Rest in Peace, Thao Nuan.....


Yesterday I attended a service for a friend who passed away very suddenly last week. While I didn't attend the cremation, this was an "after service" to give him a send-off into the next world. (Buddhist cosmology. Too much for here.. but it's very nice.)

There were monks chanting, food served for him to take with him into the afterlife and plenty of praying, pouring water into the roots of a tree and saying our farewells to him. It was beautifully handled by a well-oiled community who made sure to not only take care of Nuan's passage but to take care of his wife as well. There were gifts of money, food and companionship. She, naturally, is still feeling tender and I spent quite some time just holding her. She's too young to be having this experience. She's only 42. Nuan was only 59. There was no warning. This kind of loss is for people my age, not hers.

I saw a lot people I haven't seen in a very long time since I stopped going to the wat several months ago. It was wonderful to see how all the factions melted. We were all there for one reason: to support his wife. I am so glad I didn't chicken out and not go. Her reaction made it clear that she wanted me there. She is a sweet, sweet woman! I wish I could take this pain from her. There was no room for my tears or regret then. I felt it strongly when I looked at the mirror mounted on the wall that he always used to get ready for work. But this was for her. My sorrow would have to wait. I shed a few tears in the car.

What I remember most about Nuan is that he immediately took me into the "family" the first time he met me. There was no hesitation. He began to plan and plot how to find me a man. My friend Mary translated all of this to me since he didn't speak very much English. (I'm laughing at the memory.) He was so adamant! Very animated! There was no acceptable outcome in his opinion, other than to see me happily settled into married life with a good, honorable Lao man. A woman shouldn't be alone, he said.

He was sincere. This wasn't superficial social chit-chat. He even discussed it with people in my absence.

And when I was around him, I felt safely wrapped in his integrity. He was a man who was committed to taking care of his family and his community. He didn't drink, use drugs or smoke. He was always trying to learn something new and after working all day, he came home and studied. He studied English, history and things related to his trade. He was an awesome father, providing a good education and a good home for his three children. He wasn't a leader in the community but anyone who didn't realize he was a pillar wasn't paying attention. He was an awesome friend.

He made me feel protected, embraced and accepted, all at the same time. That's quite a constellation of feelings. Whenever I would go to their house, I never felt foreign or like a visitor. I was just one of the family. The last time we did get together, I was still in a rather fragile emotional state myself - and he is one of the few men I trusted then.. or now.

He will be missed by all of us who knew him. He was a simple, honorable and kind man.

Rest in Peace, Nuan Xayavong. We, your community, your sangha, will take care of things here. You're free now.

May these few memories be a blessing to his family.


~*

16 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This was beautiful, Chani. We are all blessings to each other if we allow ourselves to be by opening to the grace and joy that surround us.

Chitri sounds like anything but a simple man, but then HH the Dalai Lama always refers to himself as "a simple monk." Even though I didn't know your friend, I will miss him, too, because the world needs more souls like him taking care of things.

flutter said...

may he sleep well

starrlife said...

So sorry for your loss Chani and his family's. He sounds like a wonderful man and you wrote a beautiful tribute.

Anvilcloud said...

You've written a fine tribute. I hope that it helps to uplift you in this time of grief.

painted maypole said...

i'm sorry for your loss, but grateful you had him in your life

Olivia said...

What a beautiful tribute, Chani, that in a short post conveys to us a sense of who he is. I too am sorry for your loss, and am very glad you went to comfort his wife. Much love, O

Angela said...

This man you describe was a wonderful gift to everyone he encountered it seems. Much like yourself, I would think. :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Chani, and for the loss of this wonderful man in terms of his family and friends.

I'm glad you had him in your life.

Leann said...

I am sorry for your loss. We greive, the afterlife rejoices.

Carla said...

Wonderfully written for a dear friend. I am sorry for your loss.

secret agent woman said...

What a lovbely tribute to a dear friend. My heart goes out to you in your loss and also to his widow. It sounds like he'll be deeply missed.

Cecilieaux said...

Post more about the Buddhist cosmology. I'm interested.

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