(Minghui.org) It was Chinese New Year again. The air was full of the gunpowder smell from firecrackers, warm food, people's greetings, and kids' laughter. However, I had only tears and a broken heart.
On the eve of Chinese New Year 16 years ago, my mother was taken away by the authorities. Ever since, Chinese New Year has only been sad for me.
My mother practices Falun Dafa. Her parents and both sisters practice it. Then tragedy came to my mother and her family. Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader, launched the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999.
I had tracheitis since I was only one year old. To treat it, I drank a bitter Chinese medicine, but I still suffered from it about once a month. After I started practicing Falun Dafa with mom in 1996, the tracheitis disappeared. I no longer needed to drink the bitter medicine.
My eyesight improved. I maintained good grades at school. I won first prize in the National Elementary School Students Olympic Math Competition in 1999 and was accepted by the best middle school in our city.
Mom was arrested on the New Year's eve of 2000. From then on she was imprisoned most of the time until May 2012. My dad had remarried. I lost loved ones that had given me so much joy.
It was not until the winter of 2001 that I received mom's first letter, which she had managed to smuggle out of the labor camp. She encouraged me to stay strong. Holding the letter in my hands, I cried “mom” in my heart again and again. Tears kept falling down and wetting the letter.
April 2003 was a sad and yet joyful time for me. Mother was released! I went to my grandma's home to visit her. When we all saw her, we couldn't control our tears.
Mom cooked beef and many other of my favorite foods for me. I ate them with a bleeding heart. I so wished dad, mom, and I could be together again, like the happy family that we used to have.
Mom was fired from her government position and had no income. I had to stay with dad, even though I really wanted to be with my mom. I could, at least, visit her from time to time.
That small joy was destroyed six months later. When I came to grandma's home in October, mom was not there. I shouted for her. There was no answer. “Grandma,” I said in a a shaking voice, “Where is mom?”
“The police came and took her away.” My heart was broken again.
I graduated from high school in 2005 and went to the forced labor camp to visit mom the day before I left for college. The camp guards would not let me in, saying that I needed a letter from the local police station.
I rode my bike seven miles back to the police station. When I brought the letter back, the guards still refused to let me in.
I stood at the gate, and suddenly I saw mom passing by. I was able to say a few words to her. I told her that I brought some food for her, but the guards would not allow me to give it to her.
Seeing tears in my eyes, mom said, “Son, maybe you can tell the guard lady that you are going to college tomorrow and you won't be able to visit me again. Tell her this food carries your love for your mother. Maybe then she will let you give it to me...” Mom cried. I cried. So did the guard lady.
Mom was released while I was in college, but she was arrested again in May 2007 and sent to Hebei Provincial Women's Prison in February 2008.
One year, I went to the prison a few days before Chinese New Year. I was given ten minutes. We sat separated by a big glass wall and talked over a phone. When time was up, I choked back tears and waved to her. Mom told me later that she was in tears all the way back to her prison cell.
My mom's family was ruined. After the CCP's persecution started, my grandparents were followed and their phone was monitored.
Ever since mom was arrested in 2007, my grandma has sought her release. She rode a tricycle to visit attorneys throughout the city, but no one dared to defend her.
Grandma was so worried and sad that she had a stroke. She has been unable to care for herself since then.
Police broke into my grandparents' home in April 2009. They ransacked the house and arrested both of my aunts, who were there to take care of grandma. My elder aunt was sent to a forced labor camp.
This was too much for my grandma. She passed away 40 days after the police break-in.
My uncle, who had worried about my mom and his parents over the past ten years, couldn't bear it anymore either. He fell ill and was hospitalized a few days after grandma's death.
Three kids from the three broken families—my elder aunt's son, my uncle's son, and I—lived with my younger aunt, who also had her own son to look after. My aunt, in addition to facing persecution herself, cared for four kids, my grandfather, and handled the needs of my mom and elder aunt, who were in prison.
On August 27, 2009, my aunt took us four kids to celebrate grandpa's birthday. Rain poured from the sky all day, as if heaven was crying for our family's tragedy.
Grandpa couldn't bear the suffering of seeing his loved ones passing away or imprisoned. He left the world a year later.
When my elder aunt was released, the first place she went was the funeral home where my grandparents' ashes were kept. When mom came out, the first place she visited was also the funeral home.
How I wish the tragedy that came to my mom, me, and our family had not happened.