Sâm, 97 — Loss and the Vietnam — American War
Sâm, 97 — Hoi An, Vietnam
“I had many kids (9 kids), but most of them died in the (Vietnam-American) war . They (soldiers) shot them. Now I just have 1 son and 1 daughter left. Seven of my kids died. I didn’t fight during the war because I didn’t know anything, I was just working. I have been living here my whole life.”
“During the war, we had to run away. My husband died from a bomb in 1970. I brought my kids to the forest. They were sitting there, the soldiers thought they were their enemies, then they shot them. Four of my sons died at the same time. I always cry (thinking about it). Every night, when I lay down in bed, I feel misery and cry.” As she is telling us her story, her eyes fill with tears and a deep sadness then she looks right into my eyes and I begin to cry.
“In this area, where my house is now, they were bombing a lot, so we ran to the forest. At night, they bombed. Whoever died, died. My neighbor has 3 or 4 sons, but they are all still alive but 6 of my 7 sons were killed. That is my fate and I have to grit my teeth and endure it.”
Sâm, 97 years old
Hoi An, Vietnam
Returning to see Sâm
We’ve spoken to many people who fought or were affected by the Vietnam-American War but never have we witnessed such sadness. Sâm has outlived 7 of her children, with a broken heart, for almost 50 years, crying every day.
We returned to visit her with a care package of food which she was very happy to receive. Talking to Trinh cheered her up and she said: “You have such a sense of humor. I wish you lived near here so you could help me erase my sadness.”