In Loving Memory
My mother, Mrs. Chongdee “Noi” Phromyothi, passed away on Monday August 20, 2007 (Bangkok time) / Tuesday August 21 (Pacific time) of complications from metastasized lung cancer.
She was surrounded by her family and friends (except for me) a few hours before her passing. Knowing mom, she knew she already bothered everyone too much when they rushed to her bedside at 3 a.m. She chose to pass away on her own time after everyone had gone back to bed. I got the news of her passing while on the commuter bus.
Be Kind For Khun Noi
Mommy was unmatched when it comes to being thoughtful and kind. A shopping trip was never without a little purchase for her friends. Nobody ever went hungry on her watch. You would do me a great honor by living a life of kindness everyday, but when you can’t do that, a few days a year would be just fine.
In 2012, I started the “Be Kind for Khun Noi Day” campaign. Every August 20-21, I encourage people to be extra kind to others. Buy lunch for a bum. Feed someone else’s parking meter. Pay for coffee of the guy behind you in line. Donate to a charity. Anything!
Then in June of 2016, I took the day of kindness into a monthly service club. From harvesting a non-profit farm to making dinner for families at Ronald McDonald House, from raising funds for Italy earthquake relief to helping the needy do their laundry, our group performs community service once a month in Long Beach/Orange County area in California.
Mommy was a great supporter of the Thai Red Cross Society, particularly with donations for treatments for the monks and meals for poor patients. Please feel free to make a donation in her honor.
My brother Onk has started donating blood in Mommy’s honor since she had taken ill back in 2005. He still donates a few times a year in her memory. I tried to do the same but except for once in 2014, I was disqualified due to weight. I hope you would consider giving blood in my place! For Thailand, click here. For U.S, click here.
Also, we have a scholarship foundation set up in my late mother’s honor for teacher’s training program in Thailand. The General Mangkorn Phromyothi Foundation was founded in my grandfather’s name but with my mom’s love for education in mind. My grandfather was Thailand’s Minister of Education back in the days so the Ministry of Education asked to use his name for the newly established foundation for their Teacher’s Training Program. Essentially, the GMP Foundation funds the development of the training program for teachers with a goal to better prepare them to teach children in the rural area of Thailand. The Foundation also provides scholarships for those seeking training in this program. Please contact me if you’d like to contribute to the fund.
Pictures from her funeral can be found here on Flickr.
I translated the eulogy written by Mommy’s best friend Sida below. It doesn’t quite to justice to the original Thai version but I did my best.
Khun Noi was born on November 29, 1941. She was the third of four daughters of Mr. Suvit and Mrs. Lamiad in Surat Thani Province [in the south of Thailand]. Noi received her elementary education in Baan Poang district in Ratchaburi province, then to St. Joseph Convent School and Amporn Paisarn School in Bangkok. After graduating from high school, she continued her studies in the UK. With an associates degree from secretary school, Noi returned to Bangkok and worked at Rama Hotel.
It was in England where Noi met Jed. They were each other’s first loves. The courtship began there and they remained close while Jed continued his studies in Oregon, USA. Noi later followed him to the U.S. where they got married. She remained by his side while he attended graduate school in Missouri.
Upon their return to Thailand, they began their family. Noi and Jed had 3 children. The oldest Ake is married to Pim. The second son is Onk. And the youngest daughter Oh (aka Oakley) is married to Brandon and they live in the U.S.
All of her life, Khun Noi had put everything into her family, keeping close eyes on her children’s education and well being. She also took care of all of her family members and friends. Nobody was ever left unassisted if assistance was needed. She never said no. Her house had become the hub for her friends and their children. Everyone knew Aunty Noi and adored her as if she was their second mother.
Noi had always been the healthier one of the bunch. She quite literally flit around everywhere. She was always pleasant and had a wicked sense of humor. Every time she came back from her annual check up, she would tell her friends how he felt sorry for Jed.
“I think I’m one of those wives who get old fast but can’t die fast enough,” she said. And we’d laughed at that.
But in November 2005, Noi came out of her physical with bad news. At first, the results showed that something was wrong with her heart. She sought a second opinion, and her heart was perfectly fine. It was her lung where a mas was found. The biopsy was malignant, so they removed a part of her lung along with the tumor, and sent her home. [Oakley’s note: that’s right. No chemo. No radiation follow up. Don’t even get me started…]
After 9 months, we found out that the cancer had metastasized to her brain and liver. Noi went through radiation and chemotherapy, and suffered a stroke during treatment respectively. She fought on a good year before finally succumbing to the disease on Tuesday, August 21, 2007 [Bangkok time].
Noi’s unexpected death brought on much sorrow for her family and friends. We believe that everyone here today feels the same profound loss. If Noi’s spirit could hear us, we would like to tell her that we love her very much. To us, she is never truly gone as she will always be in our hearts and memories forever.
With all the good karma she had in this life time, we pray that Noi’s spirit will enter the heavens where she truly belongs.
Noi was 65 years and 9 months old.