Today is the 31 anniversary of my father's passing-away day. I have always wanted to write something about my father since that unforgettable day 31 years ago, and now I finally have the opportunity to do so.
My father was born into a big peasant family in 1923 in southern
In mid 1940s, my father was forcibly taken by the nationalist army, in which he served as a cook. At some stage, he suffered a severe bout of malaria, and left in bed unattended. When he became too thirsty, there was no one at hand to even give him some drinking water. Unable to get up himself, he drank the water under his bed, which had been used to wash feet many days before.
When he slowly recovered from the illness, he decided to escape. One day, he went with two officers to buy supplies at a nearby market. On the way home, my father dropped his buckets, and ran for his life. The two officers chased him, and even fired a few shots at him. Luckily, the bullets did not get him. After jumping into a pond with a bunch of reeds, he hided there until later in the evening, and then found his way home eventually.
In the early 1950s, my father heard that some villagers nearby found jobs in a tungsten mine far away. He decided to try his luck there as well. One evening, he quietly departed the village with a couple of his friends, in order not to let others know their whereabouts, in case many people going there together might ruin their chance of getting employment in the mine.
The job in the mine was hard, but at least it paid a little better than working in the farm. As a largely ill-educated farmer, my father knew nothing about the danger of mine dusts. In fact, even during lunch breaks, he would stay inside the mine tunnels, where it is always cool in summer and warm in winter. In the end, my father developed severe miner’s lung disease within the period of a few short years.
As he became unfit to work in the mine tunnels, he was transferred to perform duties outside for a number of years, and finally became an invalid pensioner by 1969. An enduring memory of mine about my father was largely made of a sick patient, who had constant difficulty in breathing, coughed a lot and had bouts of unbearable chest pains.
While as a father, he was intensely proud of my school records. Every time when I got my exam papers back, he would try to read every line of them (as to how much he could understand it, I was not sure). He would then take my exam papers and showed them to a neighbor who also had a son in my class, and asked him what his son's scores were. My father would say to me that as long as you learned some useful skills, you would survive in whatever societies.
When his chest pains were not too severe, he would help some of his co-workers writing letters home, who did not know how to write characters while my father had at least four year schooling before. There was no doubt that my father cherished living, as he would try anything perceived to be good for his health and for his recovery. He even ate boiled placenta, which somehow worsened his disease and sped up the trip to his final destiny.
I was not in his bedside the day when he passed away, but I was with him day and night for a fortnight just a couple of days before his last breath. What I witnessed would remain with me forever, those intolerable chest pains, those suffocating breaths, those dripping perspirations, and those desperate desires for life. May my father rest in peace in his eternal world.
本文由 tugofwar 在 2005-8-19 05:27 發表於: 倍可親.美國 ( backchina.com )