I’m taking a moment to reflect upon our current and tragic family events.

FoDog2 smlA couple years ago, my daughter brought home a boy. She described him as, “He’s Chinese and he’s wearing a Detroit Lion’s jersey.” I fell in love with him the moment I met him, and him being Chinese with a lion on his chest, I immediately adopted him as my Foo Dog. Foo Dogs have traditionally stood guard as the protectors of palaces and tombs. They are powerful and fearless. This boy carried those traits. I knew my daughter was in very good hands, and I could tell by her face, this boy was The One.

A few months later, she called with troubling news. The Foo Dog had before suffered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and was in remission. The words no thirty-year-old should hear once, much less twice – the cancer had returned. I would like to say my daughter did some deep soul searching before deciding to continue the relationship, but there was no choice, they loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, whether that time be 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years.

They were engaged April 2013 and planned a November wedding, but in September his health began to deteriorate dramatically. The treatments were doing as much harm as good, and cancer is a cold and calloused bitch. Reluctantly, the wedding was cancelled only a few weeks before it was to occur. Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with him suffering through yet more treatments and pain and drugs. January crawled with trips to the hospital for treatments to ward off the side effects of the initial treatments. We didn’t know if his rapid decline was due to the disease or the treatment or a combination of the two, but in the last few months, she took care of him twenty-four hours a day, hoping for a good day, praying for some good news, wishing for anything positive. I am awed and humbled by her strength and love for him. These two young people deserved so much more than what they received from the universe.

On February 8th, he was admitted to the hospital with dangerous, life-threatening numbers, and a week later, he was admitted into hospice. We stood vigil at his bedside night and day and were with him as he took his last breath at 10:30 p.m. on February 24th.

He was without a doubt the bravest man I’ve ever met. He faced the disease without a blink of fear, every setback without complaint, every failed treatment with “We’ll find another way.” He was intelligent and handsome and kind, but more than that he was powerful and fearless. He was my Foo Dog. Godspeed my dear one.

Trien Duong 

June 15, 1981 – February 24, 2014


14 responses to “Reflection

    • Thank you, Anna. I spent my downtime at the hospital reading your book, The Prodigal Son. I love Matthew and Alex! Can’t wait to finish it and move on to the 4th book. 🙂

    • Thanks, Nance.
      The more I think of the path we traveled and our walk through “the valley of the shadow of death,” the more I realize how amazing he was. He will be painfully missed.

  1. Beautiful tribute that brought tears to my eyes. How fortunate to have this Foo Dog grace your life even for such a short time. I’m certain he’s with you all in another way now.

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