Thursday, June 16, 2011


Tam Nguyen

Tam was deaf. It was struggle time for her life. She got anger from her siblings and people around her without understanding the reason. Her Dad took her to see Doctors, but she never got full treatment. They gave her antibiotic for infections, but it never a full core for that. She also didn’t know why she got her hearing lost. No explanations why it was. Nothing for hope of treatment.

One person to hang around her was her Dad. He told her, “It is not important what happened to you. It is more important how can you deal with it.” He was patient, talking close face to face, and taught her to listen to sounds around her by feeling vibrations, by her heart, by hearing things with eyes, and by her spirit hearing without ears.

Her friends were grass, flowers, trees, insects, and birds. Those friends never ever laugh at her or mad at her, either. They taught her to be patient as her Dad in listening to the moving around of sounds. She put all her senses on. She imagined in her brain a sense of an aura she got without understand what it was.

Her Dad gave her a compensation for without hearing by ears, opening a third eye for her to feel life still wonderful and meaningful. She learned to love garden. She enjoyed with garden and watched the spider work hard and patiently to make his web and caught prey on spider’s web.

She learnt about sounds by looking at plants. Depending on force of wind, the plants move gentle or strong. If she stand, she will feel the wind on her face and the blowing of her hair. That was the way her Dad describe the sounds to her. Rustle of leaves, clamorous branches of trees attached to each other. Even singing of bird is a melody of song.

She hated herself. She hated to be deaf. She just felt confident with herself at a private corner of the house. She spent most of time by herself. She did not care about noise or people surround her. Other children ran and played, but she stayed inside herself. Run and play cannot study. In her deafness, she learnt to be student.

That was also the reason her uncle thought that she didn’t like him. Her uncle asked her a favor, but she did not hear what he told her. She did not respond to him or acted something to him. Her uncle was so angry. She not know why or who made him angry until he came and pointed to her face. She hold all her emotion and put deep inside her soul. She really wanted to punch to her uncle, but she hold her hands back. She wanted to fight back, and screaming back.

Her Dad had to come and talked to both.

Her dad supported her. He talk to her close face to face. He told her to get out into the world for travel miles far away with a first single steps. He took her with nature and taught her a meaning of life. And he gave her hope that a miracle will be appear to her that she will see the right situation and right person will fix it for her. Or choose an optimistic thinking for living. She took trips hiking with him, doing farms job, and take care goats for him. He kept telling her about technology, developing science will be changed. A girl, she did not have concepts in that but years later she did. She got a passion from him. When she grow older, she look back on her Dad and realize he taught her to meditate. He took her out of her corner and let her walk to a farm, to a city for college, and now she stayed at another country.

Her hearing got fixed in America. Proof for her about things her Dad told her. She appreciated her Dad changed her life by education in a right way. Deafness and her Dad gave her love of garden, life to study, meditation.

Tam Nguyen, a Master Gardener, is a student at NAU and the Literacy Center where Dana Prom Smith is her tutor. Also a Master Gardener, he edits GARDENING ETCETERA and can be reached at


cherie foster colburn said...

What a lovely story. Those of us who receive the unconditional love of a father are blessed. Those of us who receive that love from a GARDENING father are twice blessed! c:

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