(Minghui.org) Ms. Li Li was a native of Heilongjiang Province. She had a difficult life, losing her mother to an unknown illness in 1992 and her brother to brain tumor in 1994. She got married in 1981 and was a victim of domestic violence through most of her marriage. Her husband had extramarital affairs, eventually divorced her in 1996, and soon married the widow of her late brother.
Despite the hardships and heartbreaks, Ms. Li held to Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and even her ex-husband protected her after the Chinese Communist Party began the persecution of Falun Dafa in 1999. A TV reporter, a friend of his, intended to interview him and have him blame Falun Dafa for breaking up his marriage with Ms. Li. He firmly turned down his friend's request for an interview. While Ms. Li was being detained for her faith, he kept her Falun Dafa books in a safe place. After she was released but forced to live away from home to avoid further arrests, he took good care of their son.
Ms. Li later died as a result of the persecution. This 10-part series was her own account of her story.
Although I experienced misery and unhappiness, I remained cheerful and was kind to those who mistreated me.
Chapter 1: A Bitter Life
I was born on September 17, 1954, in Lunhe, a small town in Hailun County, Heilongjiang Province. It could be destiny, as the name of my birthplace is related to water, always moving from place to place. And that is where my life began.
I was born healthy, but at the age of eight months, I began to have frequent seizures. My condition deteriorated until one day an old man with a white beard came to our house. He gave me an acupuncture treatment. After that, my health improved. Grateful to this old man, my parents wanted to thank him, but they could not find him.
My parents had three more children. Then, we moved from Lunhe to the seat of Hailun County. But later, father was transferred to the administrative office of Suihua District, Harbin City. We stayed with mother in Hailun as she continued teaching in the county elementary school.
Helping With and Taking Over Household Chores
Because my parents lived apart, and due to mother’s poor health, I helped her with the household chores, learned to cook at the age of eight, and took care of my younger siblings. Every midnight, I went to the stable to sweep the leftover hay and collected the straw that fell to the ground to use as cooking fuel.
Gradually I became responsible for a lot of household chores. My mother praised me for being reliable, and my younger siblings depended on me. Even though I was a child myself, I often saved my favorite food and gave them to my younger siblings.
When there was a nationwide famine in the early 1960s, we only had potatoes, tofu residue, and distillers’ grains (waste from making tofu and wine) to eat. My parents often skipped meals or ate only one meal a day so that the children had a little more to eat.
Recalling My Past Feelings
Ever since I can remember, I was often depressed. Whenever I was alone, I liked to lean on the window frame, looked at the blue sky, and had tears in my eyes. Sometimes, I sat by the river and was saddened to see ripples blown away by the wind. I imagined that I was sailing on a boat, moving up and down with the ocean waves. My longing for a good life often brought me to the river where I could indulge in my imaginary world that existed just for me. Only then could I feel a moment of happiness.
In reality, I always suffered from numerous diseases, such as congenital heart disease, pleural adhesions, allergic purpura, acute hepatitis, and anemia, and so on. I often had colds, fevers, and a sore throat. I was thin and small. Father took me to various hospitals in Harbin to seek medical treatment. My school teachers all knew of my poor health. My classroom teacher took special care of me and would not let me participate in schoolwide activities. But I insisted on joining them because I did not want to miss out on anything that I could attend.
When I was 12, my family moved in together. However, just as our life had improved, mother became sick with tracheitis and emphysema. She had to retire early from her job because of that. She coughed all day, and could not lie down to sleep at night.
Taking On the Mother Role
I became mother's caretaker as father had to go to work to support us. I often got up in the middle of the night to massage her back and give her water to drink. I bought her medicines and took her to the hospital. I also took care of her when she was hospitalized. From when I was 12 years old, she was hospitalized yearly until she passed away 20 years later.
Since mother became ill, I also took over her role in the family. Before going to school each day, I got up early in the morning and cooked for everyone. As there was no running water in our house, I got water from the well every morning.
I was introverted and not fond of talking. I liked to think and do things alone. I often shed tears when I was by myself, not because I was tired of living or the mental pain, but because life was bitter. I was confused about the meaning of life.
Starting from middle school, I began to realize that I was not like the other kids. My classmates were good at expressing themselves and socializing with one another, and they seemed to be well informed, but I did not know anything. I tried to act like them but felt awkward. Father said I was withdrawn, so I decided to change. I tried to socialize with people to blend in with them, but I knew that it was not the real me.
However, hardships in life did not change my nature of being kind to everyone. Some classmates bullied me and stole my lunch that my parents had prepared for me. When I was sick at home, some classmates laughed at me and even called my name when they passed by my house. Although I never fought back, I could not understand how someone could be mean or do bad things to anyone. I treated everyone nicely, including those who bullied me.
(To be continued)
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