My siblings ( Khonsavanh, Vorada) and I cross over to Thailand with our grandmother and step-grandfather at the beginning of 1975. My mom ask an acquaintance of hers’ and my stepfathers’ to bring us across. She picks that particular man to guide my grandparents across, because he is an experienced “guide” and he knows the safe route to take to avoid the authorities on both sides.
Once we cross, we meet my mom and step-dad at the Thai border close to the Mekong River. It was a bittersweet moment for my mom. She is beyond relief that we have made it safely, but overwhelm by an inconsolable grief that there is one missing. Before my mother can even voice her fear and what she already suspects, I blurt out what everybody already knows: Paramy is dead.
I was only four when my sister passed so I do not remember my mom’s reaction or understand what it means to lose a child. It would not be until years later that my mom finally shared her grief with me.
My mom believes in reincarnation and that belief helps her find a modicum of peace as much as can be experienced by someone who looses a loved one. When I was nine months pregnant, my mother had a dream about my sister. In the dream my sister tells my mom that her legs hurt and she ask my mom, “Mom, can I come live with you so you can take care of me?” My mom looks at her and said sadly , ” Baby, I’m too old for you to be born with me again, but you can come live with your sister instead.” My mom calls me the next day to tell me she knows what sex my unborn child is going to be. She tells me I was going to have a girl. I ask her how does she know because my husband and I had tried to go find out months earlier, but the doctor couldn’t tell from the ultrasound. The baby keeps hiding its gender.
With conviction, my mom said it is going to be a girl because she had a dream about my sister. My mom said since my sister can’t be reborn with her , my sister is going to reborn as my daughter. Sure enough, I gave birth to a girl. In honor of my mother and sister, my daughter’s middle name is Paramy.
When my daughter is about two months old, my mom and dad comes to visit me. She truly believes that my daughter is my sister reborn especially after she sees the birth mark (mongolian spot) on my daughter’s left ankle. My sister also had a mongolian spot on her left ankle and she had curly hair. Just with those two characteristics, my mom is convinced. Who am I to argue or tell her it is just a coincidence? If it eases her pain of losing my sister then so be it.