Tales from Aunt Ming Zhu (Part 10A): Humanity, Loving Care and Affection

Xiao Mei

PureInsight | December 26, 2005

[PureInsight.org] Today, Aunt Ming Zhu told me stories about three women who have influenced her life. I was touched by their ordinary yet noble frames of mind, and also deeply saddened by the tragic ending of the last woman.

Now, let's listen to Aunt Ming Zhu tell us their stories.

In my working life, I have mostly worked with men. Under harsh working conditions, I could endure hardships, take bitterness, be brave and determined, and uphold righteousness and justice. My self-strength and dignity were based on great compassion and forbearance, which is different from what the evil CCP has propagated - "fearing neither heaven nor earth." I am who I am because I have benefited from three strong and kind women with selflessness and tolerance rarely seen in ordinary men. Their words and actions established deeply-rooted beliefs in my heart, which became principles that I've followed all my life.

First Woman: My Mother

My mother was a diligent and kind woman who loved to help others. Sadly she left this world suddenly when I was only 13 years old. She planted the seeds of kindness in my young heart, which has brought me endless benefits.

My mother loved us very much and never once hit us. But she was very strict and firm on certain things. For example, she had some rules that could never be broken, such as no taking things from others, no picking up things left on the street and bringing them home, no stealing from others, always respecting elderly people, showing sympathy to those who were suffering, being kind and keeping promises, and the like. Although she was not well educated, we all respected her very much.

Mother was the busiest person in the family. She got up first every morning and went to bed last, preparing food and clothes for everyone in the house. She never quarreled with my father and treated their friends and neighbors with kindness too. I grew up in such a peaceful and harmonious family environment.

Other than taking care of her husband and children, my mother also did her best to take care of elderly relatives in the family as well as my father's relatives. The one that I remember the most is my eldest uncle - my father's eldest brother. He was twenty years older than my father and was the most respected person in my family. When he was young, he chose to stay single himself so he could work hard to help his younger brothers settle down and get married. In his old age, my eldest uncle lived with us.

My eldest uncle used to live with my second uncle. He had been helping them out, such as doing the bookkeeping and managing their store. My second uncle was not very kind. He was lazy and used opium. My eldest uncle became very sick in his fifties. The second uncle felt that he couldn't work for them anymore. He asked my father to take the eldest uncle back, saying that our house was closer to the family graveyard. He meant that the eldest uncle was about to die and should just wait to die at our house. When my father picked the eldest uncle up, he was indeed very sick and on the verge of death. My parents went out to find good doctors for him everywhere, and my mother prepared Chinese medicinal herb soup and good food, and fed those to him every day. She took such good care of him that half a year later my eldest uncle made a miraculous recovery and could walk by himself again.

Back then, we didn't have much. The only way to show love and care for a person was to give him the best food and the best clothing. My eldest uncle was always given special treatment. My mother always placed good food in front of him whenever we had any When there was not enough to go around for the whole family, she would only give it to the eldest uncle. For example, when we ate dumplings, all the extra dumplings would be saved and pan-fried with oil for the eldest uncle for his next meal. As the 8th child, I was among the youngest ones in the family. I always sat next to the eldest uncle and he would give me more to eat. Sometimes my mother wouldn't allow this, saying: "Kids can wait to have good food later in life. Don't spoil her."

It was very cold in the Northeast. In the winter, every drop of water would be frozen almost instantly. Mother had to make cotton-padded winter clothing and shoes for the whole family. It was always done in order. She always made a new set for the eldest uncle first. Then she would make a set for my father, and then for all the children. She always made her own the last. Because of her hard work day and night, we all had enough warm clothes to wear in winter.

Mother established a warm and harmonious family atmosphere for us. When my eldest uncle recovered from his sickness, he was very grateful to my mother and wanted to help her around the house. He chose to do two major chores, fetching water from the well and splitting firewood for the stove. Both were heavy work and normally done by my father. My eldest uncle took on the chores in consideration of my father having to work in the field. Fetching water had to be done every day and it took five or six trips to fill up the large vat. Especially when it was cold, the sides of the well were all frozen. Mother always begged my uncle to be careful and gave him a small ax for the first trip to break the ice.

After the eldest uncle filled the water vat, his beard and eyebrows would all be white. My job was to open the door for my uncle. As soon as my uncle finished work, my mother would ask him to sit on the bed, which was heated underneath with hot coals, to rest. I would help him to take off his coat and hat. Then Mother would light up a pipe for him. You can imagine that our house was always warm inside even though it was icy and snowy outside in the winter of the Northeast.

Mother treated others well from the bottom of her heart. For others, she would even break some traditional customs. When I was eight, my eldest uncle passed away on the bed next to me. In our area, the custom is that a person should not be allowed to die on the bed. When one got very sick, the person was to be laid on a table in the living room. But my mother was afraid that my uncle would be too cold, so she let him sleep on the bed in the inner room until he passed away peacefully. This was against the local custom.

My mother was born the same year as my father and she passed away at the age of 52. After my mother passed away, many people came to introduce potential new wives to my father, but he insisted on not remarrying and remained a widower until he passed away at the age of 76. He lived 24 more years than my mother. Father often talked about Mother. He told us how she was always so kind to the monks and Taoists who came to our door begging for food; she was so kind to beggars and let them eat inside the house, and did not mind their being dirty. She also often gave them my father's clothes. Sometimes, my father couldn't find his own clothes even though he had just taken them off the previous day because she had given them off to beggars. Father often said: "Your mother had a kind heart. She just didn't know how to take care of herself. She had endured a lot after she married me." Sometimes, Father's tears would flow down his face while talking about Mother. Maybe it was the deep affection and gratitude that he felt for my mother that made him live alone for 24 years.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/10/22/34311.html

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