When the “land exploded”, her husband was captured and executed. She and had two children at the time. Her son, 14 months old and daughter, nearly 3 months old. On her journey to cross the Mekong River, she carried her son on her back wrapped in a traditional baby carrier and her daughter in her hands close to her chest.
The stench of death filled the air minute by minute, she watched as children took their last breaths. Children placed along the path with only leaves to cover them, no time to dig to be buried. People sat along with corpse of their loved ones not wanting to leave them behind.
As they traveled through the jungle to the river, Yer give her children drops of opium to quiet them. Little did she know, they became quiet and then lifeless.
Guided by a Thai soldier, she traveled with fellow villagers. She was scolded by the villagers to leave her children as she was slowing the group down. Struggling to carry them through the muddy jungle floor, the Thai soldier pulls her off the path and told ask Yer to leave her dead children.
As she felt her children’s lifeless bodies getting colder, she agreed. The group of villagers sat and rested hiding beneath shrubs. She digs a shallow grave with her frozen weak fingers and place her children in. She wept as she covered them with the damp dirt. Tears streamed, heart shattered,she wanted to cry out-loud! The shooting in the distance stopped and it was silent.
They walk and continue to the river. Yer, only herself now, goes with the group unwillingly leaving her heart behind.
A mile down the path, something overcomes her. Yer pleads with the soldier to return with her to retrieve her children’s bodies. She would go by herself and risk her life knowing she could get caught, raped or killed along the way. It didn’t matter, at least she would’ve known she died trying to give her children and give them a proper burial so they would be together in the next lifetime.
The Thai soldier pitied her, finally agreed and went leaving the group in their place. As they got to the site where she laid her childrenthey, Yer sees her son’s hand digging out through the dirt. She digs for her children, she digs for her heart down there. She pulls the little blue bodies. They both are almost warm to the touch. One in each arm, literally holding on to “dear life” she continues to run back in the pitch black of night with the soldier to regroup.