The pain of losing a father of a deaf boy

Ho Chi Minh City“Dad” is a rare word that Nguyen Thanh Phuc, 15 years old, can say, but it’s been four months since he has had the chance to call him.

The birth was not as normal as other babies because the mother had rubella while she was pregnant. The boy grew up in a voiceless world.

At school age, three children, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phuong, in Quarter 2, Phu Huu Ward, Thu Duc City, still try to balance their salary of more than seven million per month, spending more than two million dong for Phuc to go to school for children with disabilities. . “The kid who can’t talk to anyone is so lonely, he’s not allowed to go to school,” he told his wife.

So Phuc loves his father very much. Can’t hear, can’t speak, but he can say “ba, daddy”.

Happy with my mother on the morning of 11/26. He often comforts and encourages his mother and sister by gesturing, hugging, and patting his shoulder. Photo: Family provided

In addition to the tuition fee for Phuc, Phuong’s salary is also to take care of his eldest daughter, who is studying in college, and his wife, Nguyen Thi Phuong, 44, who has thyroid cancer.

As a driver at a seafood company, Phuong sometimes buys cheap fish heads and tails to increase protein for the family’s meal. The family is poor, but Phuong is still happy, when she is loved by her husband and has two good children. But the Covid-19 storm came, swallowing her little joy.

In early July, Phuong’s company had someone infected with Covid-19, so he had to go to concentrated isolation. Every day, he called back a few times, every time he asked Phuc what he ate, if he went fishing in the river. Seeing his father’s photo appearing on his phone, the boy jumped to his feet and brought it to his mother. Using sign language, he bragged to his father that he had caught some big fish in the river.

In the isolation area for a few days, Mr. Phuong also tested positive. Calls are dwindling. A few days with high fever, he called his wife and children just to see each person’s face. “The last time he whispered to send a few bags of fresh milk to the hospital. I didn’t know if I could take a bite, but the next day the policemen came to report my husband’s death,” Phuong said.

When his sister and mother fell to their knees because of the terrible news, Phuc dimly guessed the incident. The boy sat on the floor all day. Unable to speak, I could only pull my mother’s wet face down onto my shoulder. That day and the whole day his father’s ashes returned, he left the rice and kept calling “dad, dad”. Nguyen Thanh Phuc became one of 1,500 orphans in Ho Chi Minh City when the fourth epidemic broke out in Vietnam from the end of April.

Until the day my mother brought the picture of my father back to put it on the altar, new tears ran down Phuc’s face. “Feeling like how much anger, pent up today, it’s all out now,” Phuong said.

She opened a reportage about Covid-19 with the MC translated into sign language for Phuc to see and then gestured to explain to her son the reason for his father’s death. Phuc nodded, pulled the notebook tucked under the table, tore half a page, neatly wrote: “Dad Nguyen Thanh Phuong, died on July 19, 2021 because of Covid”. Mom asked what to write, he replied with his hand “so as not to forget dad”.

That night, her mother lay beside Phuc to comfort him, but both stayed up all night. The aunts and uncles stayed close to the house to cook some delicious dishes for their parents, but Phuc refused to eat them. Knowing that the student was afraid of the teacher, everyone threatened that if they quit the meal, they would “tell her”, Phuc also ignored it. It wasn’t until my sister My Hanh, 23, told Phuc to eat a lot to stay healthy and beat Covid so that he wouldn’t have to be away from his mother like his father, that he picked up the bowl.

Baby Phuc's photo taken with his father at the Zoo, 2015. Family photo provided

Photo of baby Phuc taken with his father at the Zoo and Botanical Garden, 2013. Photo provided by family

Once, Phuong and her daughter went to vaccinate for an entire afternoon, unable to make rice for her husband. Unable to give up halfway, she kept fidgeting and impatient. When she walked to the steps of the house, she saw smoke rising over her husband’s altar. Three bowls of rice and two plates of food were placed on the table. In front of the photo of his father, Phuc is clasping his hands and bowing.

“He’s just dumb and dumb, but he’s not stupid. His father passed away, he was sad and in pain, but he couldn’t share it with anyone,” My Hanh said. Hanh loves you the most when dad’s colleagues come home to visit mother and daughter. Looking at the familiar uniform shirt his father often wears, the boy pulls his mother or sister closer. Phuc pointed to the shirt, cut his neck with his hand, then rubbed his heart, saying “Dad wears the same shirt, but he’s dead, so he’s heartbroken”.

Every time like this, the older sister only knows how to hold my hand tightly, but in her heart, it is also confused. When her father died, Hanh became the breadwinner of the family. The girl who had just graduated from college rushed to find a job. The salary just working is not enough to pay for medicine for a mother with cancer and school fees for her deaf and mute brother.

Dang Thi Nga, chairwoman of the Fatherland Front of Tan Phu ward, said that the ward has four orphans because of Covid-19, in two families. However, Thanh Phuc is more pitiful when he is a deaf and mute child, his mother has cancer. “Governments at all levels have come to give material and spiritual encouragement to share the burden with the family. We also hope to have a sponsor who can sponsor Phuc for a better future,” Ms. Nga said.

Since his father’s death, Phuc has woken up every 5 am. The first thing the boy did of the day was to light incense on the altar and “go buy breakfast for his father”. For four months now, Phuc has kept the habit of watching albums every night. In it, there are a few photos of the father and son together while going to the botanical garden. Watching her daughter passionately touch her father’s photo, Phuong kept regretting that the whole family had never taken a photo together.

This year, cThe New Year of Hope program of the Hope Fund – VnExpress newspaper is expected to give 1,500 gifts with the desire to share the loss with orphaned children because of Covid-19. Interested readers and businesses can support through the program here.

Pham Nga

FPT is opening a portal to call for ideas and solutions for a boarding school to raise 1,000 orphans due to Covid-19. Readers can submit their wish to contribute to the school here.


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