Written by: Erin Qian
“To me a suicide is a LOUD statement. A brave act that screams to the world there needs to be more love here.” Erin Qian.
She lived until she thought she could no longer, she believed that there’s absolutely nothing worth living for in this world. She didn’t want her daughter to suffer as she did. She chose to make the jump out of their apartment on the fourth floor of the grey apartment complex. Together, for the last time. Her daughter was only three. Her daughter did not choose to fall. Nor did her daughter choose to be alive without her mother at that young age…
The little girl woke up still unable to move in a hospital bed. “Where is mama?” was the question that she was not going to get a real answer to, well at least not for a long time, it’s not like the adults have anytime to worry about where dead people went.
Most of the world didn’t even know that something like this happened. Out of the ones who knew, it was not fair for the ones who cared the most because they were the ones that hurt the most. To live with the pain of losing a loved one, a caring daughter, a loving wife, not knowing if they will truly forgive themselves for letting something like this happen.
One thing at least, for now, the little girl survived. The daughter of the caring daughter, the daughter of the loving wife. the granddaughter of the grandparents who just lost their daughter and the daughter of the father who just lost his wife.
Can she really live up to the expectation of the hope she carried for them? How has this one fall affected her growth and maturation into adulthood?
I am here now. But I don’t have to be. I am here because I choose to be. Everyone’s life has the potential to be a curse or a blessing and it’s up to you to choose.
I have had to learn this the hard way, going through some tough tests and trials of self doubt. I don’t have all the answers either. I have just learnt to live day by day and tackle each new problem as it comes.
If there is a problem, there is also bound to be a solution. Sometimes I wish I had known this earlier, so I might be in a better position now, saying that, I don’t regret anything that has happened to me.
I was born in 1989 in Hefei, in the capital of Anhui Province in the People’s Republic of China. In that year, the proposal to the World Wide Web was just produced, the Berlin Wall was opened. But the most significant event that would break the hearts of many, especially those of the youths of China at the time (including my parents) would be the massacre that occurred on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Students protesting for democracy were faced with head on military tanks and shot for standing up for what they believed in. They were true activists.
I do not want to over generalise anything but from what I experienced growing up, there’s a huge divide between the educated and uneducated populations in China. My dad was born the youngest of four kids in rural China. Back in the days my Granddad worked long distance in a steel factory to provide “bread” for the family while my Grandma along with the children looked after a farm growing vegetables and looked after poultry and bunnies.
My dad’s childhood was filled with doing chores from as far back as he could remember and going to school was his favourite part of the day.
On mom’s side, my Grandparents were both university graduates who majored in Chemistry, which back in those days were a rare case. Especially in the case of my Grandma, being a female graduating from one of the most prestigious universities, Nanjing University (the university that my dad also graduated from where he majored in physics).
I am telling you all this as it is relevant to understanding a popular misconception people had. In almost all parts of rural China people believed that boys were superior to girls. You often hear of girls being left and other stories that would break your heart now.
Sadly it was also what my uneducated Grandma from my dad’s side believed and so when I was born, my Grandma gave my mom a hard time. Me being left handed didn’t help either as back then in rural China it was seen as a bad omen too. That only added to the problem as my mom got all the blame from my dad’s mom.
To this day the reason behind why my mom chose to end her life will be a mystery but I can only guess that under such social pressure at the time, it is understandable that she chose to do what she did.
I use to think she was stupid for not thinking about how the people who loved her would feel. It was only after I had gone through a period of depression myself that I understood. When someone is as sick as wanting to take their own life, they are actually tricked into thinking they are the problem themselves and that by getting rid of themselves it would be better for everyone around them including the people they love and that loves them.
Funny how the first memory I ever formed was of me lying down on the hospital bed with my leg hung up in the air and me unable to lie flat which made my body sore. That was after I woke up from the fall.
Lucky how seeing me alive would keep the grown ups busy. The question of where mom went would not be talked about much to me from that point on and as a little kid it was okay, well maybe I started to be a little nosy and perked up my ears whenever the adults were talking just so I can gather some clues.
It became my quest growing up trying to find the answer to that question. Most times I still just behaved as a happy child who forgot the pain of a broken leg and hopped along in the river of life with a big smile on my face. Can you imagine how spoilt I was now being the centre of attention? Aunts and Uncles, older cousins all entertained me.
After I could walk again, my great-aunt, dad’s eldest sister, adopted me for a couple of years while my dad went to work. My aunt to me was like my mother and you couldn’t have asked for anyone better than her at the time.
I had a really happy early childhood education going to kindergarten during the day where I remember doing origami. In the evenings my aunt would sometimes read to me and sometimes let me play with blocks, one of my favourite toys, or would get me lessons to learn the keyboard. Little did I know that this comfortable life was going to be changed…
My dad tells me now that he married again so I can have a complete family again. I believe him now but it took me a long time to trust in his words. This is because before my dad married my new mom he didn’t even bring her to meet me.
When I was six years old, I just suddenly got dropped into a new environment moving in with my new mom while my dad still went to work travels outside. My new mom didn’t treat me like I was the centre of attention and I could feel that looking after me was more like a chore for her. I don’t blame her, she was just 30 years young at the time and wanted to go out and do things too. For quite a number of years I resented that. Now I can look back and say she was a blessing in my life so that I got the discipline needed growing up and didn’t get spoilt.
The hardest part for me growing up was when we first arrived in New Zealand in May 1997 when I was eight years old. It was then for the first time that dad really started to be present in my life. It was just the three of us, just like any other typically Chinese family at the time, with the one child policy and all. All was planned so that we could have a new start to life.I was not to talk anymore about what happened in the past as somehow it was shameful to talk of such things in China.
I remember some of my biggest critics were my dad and new mom who I will call mom from now on. They would critique me on my schoolwork, they would critique me on my progress learning English, they were typical Asian parents. I didn’t take it well especially when at school the teachers treated me different. I really enjoyed going to school except I did feel a bit of racism between the kids. There was a “white” group who were also the popular group. Then there were the immigrants from China, Sri Lanka etc.
I am thankful for all the new situations and environments I had to adapt to early on in life which paves a ways for me to love new challenges in new environments and has made me into a more accepting person.
Source: I would like to thank Erin Qian for sharing not only with me, but with us, an insight to her life and her experience dealing with depression and its consequences. Erin is a world explorer focused in helping make this world of ours a better place.
Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. We need to open our eyes and stop judging what many can´t understand. Depression is an illness that requires love and attention not judgement.
Photo credit: Enoch Kim.
If you wish to see more of his amazing work please visit his site at enochkim.com Cover photo: Pixabay.com