This past weekend my Dad’s funeral took place in Arlington, Texas and I had the honor of being able to deliver a eulogy for my Dad. I’ll probably write a bit more later in my blog about me processing things, but I just wanted to share a little bit about my Dad and also the gift that he gave to me through the eulogy I wrote.
An understanding of life, mindfully and truly living, and an appreciation and excitement for the end of our lives were the gifts that I was able to receive and I hope that I can be able to share that to y’all as I continue on my journey.
Kính chào Thầy và Sư Cô chùa tự viện Liên Hoa, các ông bà, các bác, va anh chị em vói các bác trong Hội Sĩ Quan Hải Quân Đệ Nhị Hổ Cáp Khoá 20
Tên con là Le Thi Hiếu Thinh Trưởng Nữ. Con có vài lời cám ơn đã đến đây viếng thăm Ba con lần cuối. Cho con xin phép chuyển qua tiếng Anh nói rõ hơn.
To Thầy and Sư Cô from the Lien Hoa Buddhist Temple, my family, The Vietnamese Navy Officer Class 20, 2nd Scorpion, and friends here today: from the bottom of my heart and my family’s heart, thank you for being here to remember my Dad.
My name is Thinh Le, or Tawn as friends call me, and I’m my father’s middle child and I’d like to say a few words about my Dad, or as we called him, Ba.
Stern, disciplined, principled, observant, rebellious, and kind are a few words that described Ba.
He always taught us to be good human beings first, above all else, and displayed this in many ways throughout his life and always led by example.
While the softer and loving side of Ba showed up near the end of his time, Ba’s actions throughout life always stemmed from a mindful act of love regardless of the circumstances. And this is something that is reflective in the strong partner he chose, my Mother.
Ba saw a lot during his lifetime, including the civil and political unrest in Vietnam leading up to the Vietnam War, the lost of country, his long imprisonment in post-war Re-Education Camps, his plight to escape Vietnam, the loss of his first child at sea, and finally his journey in navigating the United States as an immigrant and refugee.
Ba didn’t see his life the way I saw it, or the way many people saw it. For him, he lived a life of constant struggle and solitude.
But for many others like myself, he lived a life where he overcame adversity with actions anchored in his belief of human liberation, actions that gave people freedom, and actions that gave people the opportunity to live as they truly wished and as they truly are.
Ba risked his life and gave others the chance to experience freedom and liberation, and that is something rare.
He was responsible for planning escape routes that saved many Vietnamese people after the Fall of Saigon, and I’m forever grateful that he gave my siblings and I a chance to live and be free.
A place where we can live in our own truth and a place where the pursuit of imagination is not only endless but possible.
He didn’t know it then, but I’m sure he knows it today when he looks back at his life, that he, Le Trong Luc, led a purposeful life. One where each of Ba’s action was carefully thought through and the results from those actions continue to ripple beautifully to others for lifetimes to come even if he’s gone.
The Buddha once said:
Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp – a phantom – and a dream. *
Today, not only do we remember Ba’s journey in his life, his death is a gentle and kind reminder that we all must truly live in the present and in the most compassionate way we can. Each time we live, we connect, and we can create a gentle ripple that can can carry on lifetimes.
I ask that as you leave today, take a moment to reflect on the beautiful ripples that you may have experienced from Ba and from all of those in your life.
And then ask yourself if you’ve mindfully tended to your true loving actions and released a gentle and serene ripple from yourself onto others... because life is all about the little ripples we experience and give.
Like I said to Ba before he passed. While I am sad that he is no longer physically here, I am truly happy of his return to Mother Earth and back into the ocean of life.