We celebrated Mom’s birthday.
I made a card (above) for her and used an old photo from her childhood and one from around 2005/07 with her wearing a moderned Hmong outfit. The inside was written with very simple words and then husband and I and the kids signed it.
Before everyone arrived, it was just Mom, Grandma, and me talking about life back in Laos and Thailand. She began by talking about the Secret War and the single file path that was crucial for survival, through the landmine they had no choice but to go through, if they wanted to get out alive. She has told me this story many times but each time, there’s a bit more detail. When she told this story again, the focus was on a family from a close by village. This family: a husband, wife, and a few kids, followed my parents and their relatives on the path, but for some reason, maybe they stepped outside the path, the bombs went off and took the husband’s arm and both his legs. Blood splattered everywhere. He was in a lot of pain and was no longer able to make the walk so was left behind to die. That was what they had to do because the communist soldiers were closing in. His wife was extremely torn.
They all came to a huge boulder and rested underneath where there was a small hiding place. While they were eating their meal for the night, the wife would call out to her husband to come join them by repeating, “Husband, come down from the top of that boulder and join us for dinner.” She was completely out of her mind. The strange thing was, when she called out, little rocks from the top of the boulder would fall down as if someone had crawled to the edge and in doing so rocks atop would slide down.
Mom then reminded me that, that was the family, when the the bombs went off, the blood splattered all over my legs. A young cousin was carrying me on her back and she and I were just a few feet in front of that family.
The conversation then turned to Mom’s memory of things I did when I was about 2 or 3 years old. Somehow we ended up talking about spirits and Grandma, who’s brought up Shaman, began talking about supernatural stuff that happened to her. All very interesting, but then everyone started showing up, and conversations about current things took over.
The photo I used to create Mom’s card was taken from this original photo:
The photo is of Mom with a few of her classmates/friends/relatives from the Catholic school she began attending at age 12. It is one of my favorite photos of her.
She is beautiful.
Here it is restored. I used Adobe Photoshop CS4 to clean it up. I am not an expert in photo restoration but I try.
Here it is with Mom colored before creating the card with it.
It was an utmost indescribable pleasure to restore it.