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The slow process of entering death

Observe Primo Levi’s depiction of the procession of ants traversing Via San Martino in Rome. In truth, he is metaphorically narrating the plight of the Jewish community during the harrowing times of World War II. “A lengthy tawny queue of ants extends along the railway track. Their countenances gently touch upon meeting, as if scrutinizing their forthcoming journey and destiny.” Subsequently, a multitude of fatalities ensues. “I am disinclined to delineate this occurrence, I am disinclined to portray this solemn march, I am disinclined to portray any tawny procession.”

Occasionally, the demise of both humans and animals follows a similar trajectory: observing their departure evokes sentimentality, while rendering one powerless. All entities possess their designated place, rendering any intervention futile. I bore witness to the demise of a stray feline, whom our family had embraced for over a decade.

We welcomed this vagabond feline into our lives for a span of fourteen years. Upon its ultimate demise, we remained oblivious to its true age—when it arrived, its wandering duration remained unknown. Unlike the pedigreed felines acquired at pet emporiums, each adorned with a birth name tag, allowing for the celebration of birthdays at any time and place, to gauge the owner’s felicity.

My abode occupies the ground floor. One day, upon returning home, an unattractive diminutive white feline loitered in the corridor. My attempts to shoo it away proved futile. It surreptitiously followed me inside, and thus, I granted it sanctuary. The sentient being meanders at my feet daily, imbuing the dwelling with commotion, disarray, and fetor. Curiously, it remains unperturbed, especially when teetering on the precipice of mortality. Pondering upon its vibrant past elicits desolation.

This spring, my family embarked on a journey to Luoyang to behold the resplendence of peonies. In recent years, whenever the entire family ventures outside, anxiety automatically befalls us. Our residence lies within an antiquated community, and the reason for our reluctance to relocate after an extended duration resides in our fondness for the capacious courtyard on the ground floor—a haven where flora and fauna may luxuriate. However, upon our departure, the flowers and trees in the yard received no nurturing. Moreover, our stray feline, now christened Wang Dami after our family name, remained devoid of sustenance.

Wang Dami possesses a distinct temperament. Though an adopted creature, it resists becoming wholly domesticated, necessitating periodic forays into the outside world. Consequently, we provided it with abodes both indoors and within the courtyard.

Throughout daytime, it frolics within the confines of our abode, while at nightfall, it ascends the courtyard walls and embarks on vigilance patrols throughout the entire community and even beyond. Its mysterious itinerary remains an enigma, with its route shrouded in secrecy. I’ve witnessed American zoologists affixing trackers to domesticated felines. Some felines traverse up to thirty kilometers during nocturnal rambles, generating computer-generated maps based on their trajectories. These nocturnal felines possess dominion over a significant portion of the city. Nevertheless, zoologists remain oblivious to the impetus driving their untamed escapades. Naturally, I am also intrigued by Wang Dami’s clandestine whereabouts, which remain utterly concealed.

With elongated hairs adorning the corners of its eyes, partially obscuring its gaze, Wang Dami assumes the likeness of a fox. Since its adoption, regular baths have enhanced its cleanliness, yet its disposition remains somber. On occasions when I idly bask in sunlight upon the windowsill, it catches me off guard by suddenly leaping into my embrace. Its eyes brim with reluctance, emanating a fierce glint from their periphery. Alas, I can merely redirect it toward my mother, the one responsible for its daily nourishment, urging her to cradle it instead.

When the entire family departs, lives within the courtyard necessitate care, and solely the hourly worker aunt, with her calloused hands and feet, fulfills this duty. The aunt has long been a fixture in our household, yet Wang Dami continues to harbor aversion toward her. It does not wholly elude her presence, but rather, evades her akin to any other stranger. Upon sighting an unfamiliar face, it promptly ascends the courtyard wall, departing momentarily. Upon the aunt’s entry into the house, it refrains from vanishing entirely, yet its aloof and distant gaze persists.

To demonstrate her fulfillment of responsibilities, the aunt records videos while tending to the feline’s meals. Recent years have witnessed a shift from dry cat food, which Wang Dami has grown weary of consuming, to more delectable morsels. Advanced in age and possessing decayed teeth, it exhibits acrobatic anticsand dexterously devours the soft delicacies.

During our sojourn to Luoyang, the aunt sent us daily video updates, assuring us of Wang Dami’s well-being. The feline, however, appeared listless and disinterested, barely mustering the energy to consume its meals. It would nibble at the food, casting longing glances toward the courtyard, as if yearning for our return. The aunt’s presence failed to fill the void left by our absence.

Upon our homecoming, we discovered Wang Dami perched atop the courtyard wall, awaiting our arrival. Its eyes, normally exuding aloofness, sparkled with a hint of joy. It seemed to have summoned its strength, for it bounded down and approached us, rubbing its head against our legs. The reunion was filled with a mixture of relief and melancholy, as we realized that our time together was drawing to a close.

In the weeks that followed, Wang Dami’s health rapidly deteriorated. Its once agile body became frail, and its appetite waned. We consulted a veterinarian, who diagnosed it with a terminal illness. The news struck us with a profound sadness, for we had grown attached to this stray feline that had found its way into our lives.

We made a collective decision to provide Wang Dami with the best care possible during its final days. We administered medication, hand-fed it, and showered it with affection. Despite our efforts, its condition continued to worsen. It withdrew into a secluded corner of the courtyard, seeking solace in its final moments.

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, Wang Dami breathed its last breath. Its departure left an indescribable void in our hearts and in the courtyard that had been its domain. We mourned its passing, reminiscing about the memories we had shared and the joy it had brought us.

Now, when I gaze upon the courtyard, I can still imagine Wang Dami’s presence. The flowers and trees stand as silent witnesses to its existence, and the echoes of its playful meows resonate in my mind. Its life, though brief and marked by hardship, taught us the power of compassion and the profound impact that even the smallest creatures can have on our lives.

In the end, Wang Dami’s journey mirrored that of many others, both human and animal alike. It faced adversity, found solace in unexpected places, and left an indelible mark on those who crossed its path. Its story serves as a reminder to cherish the fleeting moments we have with loved ones, whether they walk on two legs or four, and to honor their memory long after they depart from our lives.

  According to the information my mother has received since childhood, no cat will die at home. When the time comes, the old cat in the family will quietly travel far away, find an uninhabited place in the wilderness, and die secretly. Is this perhaps a unique habit of cats? My grandfather is a Chinese medicine doctor. My mother’s hometown is in the Northeast. There are more than 20 large and small houses in the house. In each room, there are cats, with their bright black eyes open, spying on the people walking in the house. They leave when death is imminent and no one ever sees the remains of a cat in the home. This custom of the life and death of cats in the not-too-distant agricultural civilization era sounds mysterious and melancholy, like a legend. I can’t completely believe it. Of course, modern people are limited in their own experience and have only been exposed to the death of pet cats at home.
  While I was comforting my mother, I was also thinking, I don’t know when this day will come. Will our Wang Dami run away from home?
  There is nothing to do while waiting for death to suddenly appear.
  We all know that the shadow of death hovers above everyone’s head. For old people, whether humans or cats, death is the sword of Damocles, but how many people look up? I still clearly remember the scene when I came back from a distant place during a recent trip. Wang Dami, who used to be waiting for us to feed him on the window sill, was no longer used to the sudden appearance of several people at home. He wanted to run away, but we pounced on him in surprise and opened the window. , waving the colorful cat strips in his hands, knowing that although this kind of food mixed with food attractants is unhealthy, it has an outstanding fishy smell. It was startled at first, then turned around to peek. Seeing that it was an acquaintance, it staggered down a little and accepted our bribe again.
  I completely reject the idea that cats only have a seven-day memory.
  2
  In the spring, I have been wandering around various places. My mother is at home, and Wang Dami’s food is definitely guaranteed. But I didn’t see my mother posting a video of her being begging for food at her feet, and I didn’t care. When I finally got home, my mother said a little frustrated that Da Mi stopped eating.
  In fact, there have been signs before. Cat strips are food that can be sucked, and it eats it with its head shaking, and for some reason only one of its sharp teeth fell out. I knew it was difficult to chew, but I didn’t expect it to grow old so quickly. I asked a familiar veterinarian, but there was no other way but to try my best to think about the food. Basically, we eat soft canned cats in the morning and evening, and occasionally eat some cat strips intermittently. Now, it is a little difficult for it to eat one. We need to try our best to trick it. You will feel that it is trying hard to finish it so as not to offend us. I still look at the yard indifferently, sometimes looking into the distance on the wall of the yard, the decline of my body is clearly visible, I feel a little sad, maybe one day it will suddenly leave?
  One day, Wang Dami climbed up the window sill with difficulty, and then wandered up the courtyard wall. At first, the tips of its ears could be seen on the neighbor’s glass roof. When it was time to eat, she did not come back. Can’t see it either. My mother went to the green jungle of the community five or six times that day to look for calls. Only at night did she see it sleeping on the window sill. Its emaciated frame was exposed, especially the backbone, where delicate joints could be seen. Connection makes people more sad. Is it really time to say goodbye?
  One day I had an idea, did I have oral ulcers? I found some medicine to treat ulcers and wanted to mix it in a can for it to eat, but no matter how much I coaxed it, it was useless. As long as there was an odor, it would ignore the canned food. The fur is getting dirtier and shaggy, and the butt and tail of the cat, which loves to be clean, are as sticky and gray-black as felt, and the domestic cat has become a wild cat. Find a special comb, clean it with effort, scrub it with alcohol paper, and at least let it leave with dignity.
  After thinking about it again, I decided to try harder and not let it leave like this. Not taking medicine? Then he opened his mouth and forced it, grabbed it on the window sill, and stuffed it with a piece of Bayer’s oral medicine for cats and dogs. Its sharp claws stretched out and made various whines, but my mouth was pinched and I couldn’t spit it out for the time being. The man and the cat fought for several minutes before swallowing, and fell asleep on the windowsill again. By the afternoon, they had managed to eat half a cat strip – comforting ourselves that eating was better than not eating at all.
  Then I took medicine, Bayer’s pills, ten pills in a box, for ten days, thinking that after taking this, it would be effective. Before she finished eating, Wang Dami had symptoms of diarrhea again. After asking the veterinarian, she bought some medicine to treat gastroenteritis. When she opened the bottle, she saw that it was erythromycin, a human medicine that had long since been eliminated. No matter, I just stuffed it, this time the amount was bigger, four tablets a day, it was difficult for a child to eat, let alone a cat weighing several kilograms? But he still resolutely fed me. Even though he hadn’t eaten well in a few days, he still struggled with great strength. He twisted and turned around, and the claws he held on broke free again, and his arm was almost torn by its sharp claws again.
  Unexpectedly, erythromycin, which I was not optimistic about at first, had a big effect. When I went to talk to friends in other places, my mother sent a video. Wang Dami, who had not eaten canned food seriously for a long time, started to eat cat food obediently. After eating, he would take the initiative to complain, The long sighs seemed to be the joy of rebirth. I was chatting with my friend, and suddenly my face was full of joy. He asked, “What’s wrong with you?” I felt that there was no way to talk about such trivial family matters, so I chose to avoid it. I just felt proud and praised myself, ah, I can treat the cat.
  He had to take medicine every day, and finally confined the big dog to his home. He was afraid that he would refuse to take the medicine and would not come home one day. For the first time in so many years, it didn’t let out at all. It looked around for a new sleeping place. The most common one was the sofa next to the table. The hair continued to be removed, and the hair was scattered and as thin as a gossamer. Sometimes it would float to the dinner table, but we were also happy to save it. Eating and drinking lazily, a small piece of shrimp meat, a plate of light milk, and a bucket of water. Diarrhea is a problem. Our big dog likes to solve its physiological problems outdoors. There is often its feces and urine in the yard and under the flower beds, which we clean. It doesn’t like to use the litter box – I don’t know if it’s due to the influence of its early wandering life, but we didn’t force it.
  There is a cat litter box in the corner of the room, and I can’t see it using it. I was a little worried that it would be pulled in the corner, but unexpectedly early in the morning, my mother said happily, you know what? Let’s go see the big dick in the toilet. It turned out that it staggered into the toilet at night and peed on the edge of the toilet. Maybe it’s an imitation of someone? After it left, I still didn’t know why—did its previous owner teach it? Over the years, we have actually not completed its toilet education.
  There are various signs that the little white cat had stayed in other people’s homes before coming to my house. It will wait next to us when we open the refrigerator door, maybe it thinks there is delicious food; when my mother eats breakfast, she likes to sit on a low stool, and she will lean next to it. When she eats her favorite multi-grain buns, she will He took two big bites, and when he was full, he quickly disappeared. He drank yogurt at night, which was also his favorite food. He even licked the residue on the lid of the yogurt box. He was obviously a lover of human food. It’s unknown what kind of owner it had, but they did give it a good education as a young cat. It didn’t steal food or be treacherous. I just don’t know why the original owner left it. But no need to think too much, now we are its owners for fourteen years.
  Every morning when I wake up, I can see its excrement in the toilet. The situation is getting worse and worse. It slowly refuses to eat and drink, even if a plate of milk is placed in front of it, it will not look at it. My favorite foods are yogurt and multi-grain bread. If my mother were to feed her, she might even take a few bites of them. When I feed her, she just stubbornly turns her head away. When I asked the veterinarian, they all agreed vaguely. They probably thought he was too old. In human terms, he would be in his eighties or older.
  My mother recalled her fighting experience. When she first came to our house, the stray cats in the community courtyard were basically submissive and did not even dare to climb up our courtyard wall. Since she entered old age, the black cat raised by the Italian next door actually once I almost bit a hole in its neck, and it took me a full month to recover from the injury. It has long since lost its youthful and heroic appearance. In its twilight years, it has basically lost its ability to fight. Now, there are often wild cats stealing food in our yard. , flocks of wild pigeons, coo, coo, coo, kept calling, treating it as nothing.

  I forced it to open its mouth and fed it milk. After a while, it all vomited out. After DaMi was recuperating at home for nearly ten days, we finally realized that we were about to lose him. It started to restless, sometimes on my mother’s bed, sometimes on the sofa in the outhouse, basically unable to lie down, and probably not comfortable anywhere. The pain in his body caused him to toss and turn, and he was finally placed in the big cat nest in the corner of the house, lying on his side, barely calming down, but he saw that he was getting thinner and thinner, and gradually showed a “skeleton look”. Suddenly I understood a scene in the countryside of Sichuan last summer. In the scorching heat, the car was always on the bumpy mountain road. We went to see Anyue Mingshan Temple hidden in the mountains. After swaying for more than an hour, we finally saw the Northern Song Dynasty Buddha statue in Mingshan Temple. I don’t know if it’s because it faces the wind outlet of the valley. Many of the huge statues carved directly on the rocks have been weathered to the point where only faint skeletons are left. The shape of the corolla is still there, just like the corolla was worn directly on the skeleton Buddha. Above the head, two black holes are where the eyes once rested.
  A shocking beauty. The Buddha statue has been etched by the wind and sand into circles of traces, which are like the direction of the bones. I just feel that it is more enlightening than the Buddha statue covered with green moss marks in the wilderness of Angkor Wat. As time goes by, they gradually disappear, or in other words, they are sparsely present.
  He lies on his side in the cat’s bed during the day and can basically go to the toilet at night. I don’t know why he still has excrement if he doesn’t eat or drink. We accompanied it and witnessed its departure. We couldn’t sleep well for several days. At night, we wished we could recite Bodhisattva’s blessing silently hundreds of times, but we also knew that it was emptiness, endless emptiness. The song of Huang Jiaju, who has passed away for many years, “I once hugged you in this space. I only have sad memories and silent and lonely tears.” Finally, one morning, the big microphone let out a long cry
  and died silently in his nest. , curled up like a baby. I couldn’t bear to see it, but my mother asked an acquaintance to handle the burial. In the last few days, we actually thought about whether it would die outside in a deserted place like we said before. I also tried hard to place it in the courtyard, and it didn’t take long for it to come back. It seemed that it still recognized this place as its home.
  There is nothing more sad than the lingering death. When I think of the joy of life, I immediately wonder, why is there still such a thing as death? But in general, death comes with life. The mystery behind God’s creation of human beings is that it is precisely the presence of death that makes people feel the preciousness of life.
  3
  In the past two years, when people have reached middle age, death is no longer a rare event in life, it is simply a daily existence, and I hear various news from time to time. I am an evader, and I am afraid of hearing people say this, but this kind of avoidance has no practical effect. They are right next to you, jumping out from time to time to scare yourself, your mediocre self. Death in the distance has nothing to do with me, but I have to face and even take over the arrangements for the life and death of those around me. My colleague of more than ten years is a chubby girl. My home in Beijing is not far from hers, and we would meet up for tea and dinner every day. One day we made an appointment to go to Sanlitun to eat Spanish food. The garden was just around the corner. We had to climb to the third floor. She was limping and asked what was wrong. She said she had sprained her muscles from yoga.
  The results didn’t heal for a long time, so I happened to go to a nearby hospital for a physical check-up. There were not many people, and the orthopedic surgeon was very responsible. As soon as I said my leg hurt, he asked me to do an MRI. After a long time of checking, everything was fine. At least I felt at ease, so I recommend it. She also went to register. Unexpectedly, I simply dismissed it and said it was just bones. People are like this. If you don’t check, you will get fooled. If you check, you can’t stop it. I went to a hospital famous for its orthopedics again, and received a serious WeChat message from her in the afternoon: “It might be osteosarcoma.” My
  friend knew a lot of people, so he went through various hospitals, and soon he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Two or three top-notch The hospital has already identified it, so there is basically no possibility of misdiagnosis. I’m just curious, how come “diseases that mostly occur in teenagers” occur in middle-aged people in their forties? The source of the cancer must also be investigated. It is possible that the bone cancer has metastasized from elsewhere. At first, in order to comfort her, we often joked that bone cancer is not terrible, and in the worst case, she would have to have her limbs amputated. Such cruel jokes suddenly lost their focus. Death strikes us in all directions and everywhere. Wherever problems occur in our bodies, they are completely beyond our control.
  Only then did medical knowledge become popularized, and it was most important to find out the primary focus of cancer. Of course, metastasis throughout the body is scary, but treatment still has to start from the original lesion. But the bigger the hospital, the longer the various examinations are delayed. Union Hospital said it would take more than ten days to get the results. When the disease reaches this stage, all kinds of strange things come to mind, seeking psychological comfort. I recommended her to get a fortune teller to at least check her own health fortune. I found a familiar friend who was good at recommending horoscopes, looked at her horoscopes, and said very seriously, your friend has a serious health problem, especially in the past few years, and he is very likely to have kidney disease. Her destiny is almost entirely water. Having more water means she is smart, but having too much water will bring bad health and luck. I sadly imagined the scene of a person frozen in a glacier. She was born in the first month of the lunar calendar. According to the horoscope, the water at this time is so cold that it pierces the heart and lungs and freezes the bones even if it touches it. When it comes to intelligence, it is also an extremely accurate deduction. She is the third place in the college entrance examination in a small coastal town in Zhejiang, which is well-educated. , is a local flower hunter.
  She tried her best to visit the top hospitals in Beijing. Fortunately, she usually had a wide network of contacts, but when it came to the stage of cancer, she found that no matter how many contacts she had, they were all in vain. There are probably people who are really capable, but they are not something ordinary people like us can match. The distance is too far.
  I heard from other friends that the resources of large hospitals are tight, and even retired leaders have suffered from severe colds and worsened their condition because they waited too long in the corridor for surgery, not to mention ordinary civilians. Friends are asking for help in various ways, that is, they want to know the original focus of the disease in advance. At this stage, if I delay for another day, I will be irritated and irritated, and no one can comfort me. I wanted to relieve her anxiety with a fortune book approved by a fortune teller friend. It said that her health would be extremely poor in 2021 and would be relieved in 2024. This at least shows that she can survive the current situation, so let her know more about it. A few days later, the test results from Union Medical College Hospital came out. The lesion was in the kidneys, an extremely rare form of renal cancer. We were all surprised by the accuracy of the fortune teller deduced by our fortune teller friends. I even took the year 2024 as the so-called remission. I took it as a placebo in Nian, thinking it would definitely delay my life and my death would be at least three years later. Of course I didn’t say this directly, but she probably took it as comfort.
  The fortune book also approved of her marriage, with too much water and bad emotions. She is nearly forty years old and still single. Her parents are in her hometown in the countryside and the situation at home is not good. Her father also had cancer a few years ago and just had surgery there. She can only hide her illness and not tell anyone at home. This bleak situation could only be turned a blind eye, and no one took the initiative to inform her parents.
  Many times, we like to comfort ourselves and the people around us with the words “there is destiny somewhere in the world”, but is there really destiny? I thought a little sadly. When chatting with friends around me, I often talk about how an acquaintance from a certain work unit was diagnosed with cancer during a physical examination and died hastily; a friend of a friend suffered a serious illness and underwent three or four operations, and his family was completely dragged into the abyss, and not only It is not an economic problem, but some deadly diseases that are like sharp knives, playing havoc in the hearts of the family. This friend of mine and I eat and chat every other day and are considered close friends. I didn’t expect that the disaster would happen to her. It was a completely different feeling than what I had “heard” about it.
  Listening to her next arrangements, the overall situation was still calm. She found a good doctor from Union Medical College and followed the steps step by step. She took a targeted drug and injected something into the blood vessels to prevent cancer cells from flowing along the blood vessels. It sounded painful. Although he couldn’t feel her pain, his heart still trembled. Her friends and I had nothing to say to comfort her. After all, we just needed good treatment, but they were basically empty kindnesses. Only then did we feel that at a certain stage, words are redundant.

  She lost weight very quickly, became pale and weak, and still limped when she walked. The tumor on her leg bone was probably caused by metastasis. After a full-body examination, it was found that there were metastatic cancer cells not only in the leg bones, but also in the lungs and liver. Even a layperson, at this stage, felt that wishing her recovery was too false. When I talked to her face to face, it was almost like whispering comfort, will it be okay? After all, there are targeted drugs, so there is no need to directly undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  In 2021, I happened to move back to Shanghai from Beijing, and I went to see my friend who was ill. She was living with a classmate, and one of her divorced college classmates took the initiative to take care of her daily life. The ward was tense, and she had never been admitted to the hospital. Every time she was treated with targeted drugs, she left immediately after the treatment. Her friends around her were very grateful. After all, with targeted drugs, it was not hopeless. Her college classmates formed a small group. Some people took her to the hospital regularly, others helped her manage various expenses, and some classmates stayed with her. From time to time, they would see the dinner dishes posted on her WeChat account. The kindness from classmates is indeed a ray of warmth in Beijing, a city with a huge emotional void.
  The distance in space has increased, which naturally makes her a little more distant. The WeChat contact is still close, and it seems that she is still very confident. I often hear seemingly good news. For example, after another test, a tumor somewhere has shrunk. Recently, my appetite has been very good and I can eat a lot. My family still doesn’t know. No one went to Beijing to visit her. She bought a heavy weight by herself. The illness insurance seemed to be of some help, as it could pay some high expenses in a timely manner; her company was quite respectable and allowed her to take leave frequently. Anyway, working from home was the norm at that stage – in fact, it was a small start-up company that was in turmoil. I remember she once I have been told that the person in charge of the company is deeply depressed and often disappears for several days for no reason. Many times, no one has control of the overall situation. As a small leader, she needs to encourage employees. She probably has no such thoughts now, but at this stage, who can care about the company’s affairs?
  This is the case in the huge Beijing. People die every day and companies disappear. This is the norm, even the norm that has not changed for a long time. Both locals and outsiders obey this. People living in the capital from outside the country probably die more easily and are not even commemorated. They are no better than the local residents, who at least have a family cemetery.
  Suddenly I thought of the ancient Zhang Henshui novel “Chunming Foreign History”. The male protagonist in it is the famous journalist Yang Xingyuan. Zhang Henshui used his identity as a man in the capital to write about his true experiences. My favorite is the Beijing restaurant where he ate with a few people, which is about the same as the food history of Beijing in the Republic of China. I especially remember that there was “Mu Guiying Fried Cake” in it. A chubby woman with unkempt hair opened a small restaurant. At that time, People call it “Muke Village”, and its favorite snack is ordinary fried pancakes. Cut the cake into shreds, stir-fry it with chopped cabbage and shredded beef until slightly charred, and add a little peppercorn oil. It’s a classic Beijing flavor that you can’t get at all in the south.
  When I was greedy while studying, I just stared at the food and gossip inside. All kinds of Beijing celebrities were walking around like a revolving door. There is a fair-faced and frail social butterfly based on Lu Xiaoman, Jiao Didi rowing in Beihai Park, quarreling with her husband, and pretending to jump into the water; a young supervisor based on Zhang Xueliang, smoking a big cigarette on the bed, his eyes blurred; the protagonist first He fell in love with a young man from Fireworks Lane, and later fell in love with a governess, Li Dongqing. The latter had a beautiful face and was as cold as ice. She had always matched his brother and sister, but could not develop love. She was probably Zhang Henshui’s fictional character.
  At first Li Dongqing was cold, but later she became familiar with him and often invited Yang Xingyuan to his home for dinner. Both of them are living in Beijing. Li Dongqing is struggling to make a living in the capital with his widowed mother and weak brother. The male protagonist is single, and his usual meals are served in the club. Li Dongqing then cooked him southern dishes in various ways. He would buy some “fire meat” from the southern goods store, which was probably ham and bacon, and then buy some braised crucian carp for him to eat, which he said was completely unavailable in northern restaurants. “Odd smell”, I ate it slowly and slowly, it was so long-winded – but I watched it with gusto, and it seems that my interest in watching it is still inseparable from eating it.
  The last few chapters are suddenly complicated and urgent. The male protagonist fell seriously ill and died alone in a guild hall in the capital. When he died, he took the photo Li Dongqing gave him and wrote a suicide note to his mother who was far away in his hometown. At this time, Zhang Henshui wrote that Li Dongqing had a hidden illness and could not marry him. In the end, the heroine left Beijing sadly, which was a depressing ending.
  It’s been so long since I watched it that I really can’t remember the exact ending of the heroine. Knowing that Zhang Henshui probably couldn’t continue writing, he hurriedly ended the serialized column in the newspaper. His novels were all serialized in a hurry, but the scene of the hero dying alone in Beijing was still horrifying. It is also a common situation described in ancient poems, “The capital is covered with crowns, but this person is alone and haggard.” The
  friend’s situation is really worse than Yang Xingyuan. It has been so many years since the time in the novel, but the situation of the patient alone in the capital is still waiting for death in silence, and nothing has changed.
  4.
  When you are seriously ill, probably everyone except your family members will only do superficial things. My friend is lucky. I have the care of my classmates and the care of my friends. One of her friends, who also had resources, obtained all the diagnostic information and made an appointment with a famous Japanese cancer expert for consultation online. The expert took a look and directly concluded that the survival rate of this cancer is extremely low, and it is only possible to live for half a year. Miracle. There was no way to tell her this clearly. Instead, I told a few of us to prepare the people around us.
  Doctors at Union Medical College conducted diagnosis and treatment step by step, and it was said that the therapeutic effect of targeted drugs would have to wait. My friend’s mood seemed to be improving, and he asked me if we could do Chinese medicine treatment together. Fortunately, I knew the Taoist brother from Qingcheng Mountain. I always knew that he was a good Chinese medicine practitioner, so I quickly asked him if he could treat it and how to treat it. Originally, it was useless to say anything without feeling the pulse and having in-depth contact with the patient, but because of my kindness, my senior brother still said that cancer can be treated in traditional Chinese medicine. You can understand it by reading the “Huangdi Neijing”.
  How can ordinary people have the ability to read the “Huangdi Neijing”? I just want to tell her quickly, hoping that she can enter the system of joint treatment of traditional Chinese and Western medicine. There is a legendary miracle doctor in a hospital in Beijing who specializes in prescribing prescriptions for cancer patients. It is said that the curative effect is remarkable, and the trustee finally managed to register him. However, the miracle doctor is probably too busy. He has to see hundreds of patients a week and does not provide much. Miracle medicines are some conventional spleen and stomach medicines that increase appetite. The doctor in charge of treating my friend at Union Medical College Hospital took a look and said very implicitly, you can eat it or not, but for the therapeutic effect, it is best not to eat it, because there are too many unknown ingredients in Chinese herbal medicine. The attending doctors in large hospitals are reserved in their words and will not give a definite answer, but they will not kill him with a single blow. My friend thinks that this doctor has a very good attitude and is an academic backbone in his early fifties. You can imagine the decisiveness in his daily speech, and being subtle is considered polite.
  In the midst of the tangle, my friend secretly took Chinese medicine, and we all expressed our support, treating a dead horse as a living horse. We all thought quietly in our hearts, what if? What if at some point, a mysterious power comes into play? Maybe people around me talk about Chinese medicine a lot, especially I always talk about the Taoist monks in Qingcheng Mountain. My friend really got interested and went up the mountain alone during the Mid-Autumn Festival. At this time, the condition was considered stable. The tumor had not disappeared, but it had not expanded further. There was a slim hope.
  Even though death was not far away, waiting, at least it didn’t pounce.
  I don’t know what she experienced on the mountain, but she felt a little happy and ambiguous. The senior brother is a native of Sichuan. He speaks sincerely and honestly. He feels the pulse of his friend, performs acupuncture and moxibustion. He also said that the tumors you have are “mass”. In our “Huangdi Neijing”, the masses can be cured. dropped. I can imagine the scene where the senior brother blinked his eyes to comfort his friend. He couldn’t make his words smooth, otherwise it would be too much, but at the same time, he needed to give her a little hope. My friend happily told me what the senior brother said: “He told me that there is no cancer. It can all be melted away.” As for us, we couldn’t bear to say more. But that’s right, what the senior brother said is not groundless. Indeed, many people in the traditional Chinese medicine community do not think that cancer is incurable.

  With this encouragement and the prescription prescribed by his senior brother, my friend returned to Beijing with confidence. There is something I want to say but I dare not say it: Otherwise, you can just stay on the mountain. But who can say it? Why would most people go to an unknown Taoist temple in the wilderness to find a Taoist priest without a medical license to treat cancer until the last moment? This is China in the 21st century. Large hospitals such as Union Medical College are the temples in the minds of ordinary people. They have already entered the temple, how can they easily come out? She held back her words – unexpectedly, she ended up going up the mountain, but that’s a story for another day.
  I have never been a family member of a cancer patient, so I don’t know the tortured mentality of a patient’s family, let alone the choices a patient’s family makes after being sentenced to death. I saw her again three months later, in extremely cold Beijing. This meeting was summoned by her classmates. In fact, the attending doctor of Union Medical College had already pronounced her death sentence to her classmates, telling them that her friend could only undergo radiotherapy. Of course, the effect could not be predicted or directly Sent to hospice. “The care for patients there is better than here. Besides, we don’t have hospital beds here.”
  It’s unclear how many patients’ families the doctor has to pronounce the verdict on every day. This is probably their normal life. From this perspective, the doctor is really the messenger of death in the world. He predicts the secret of death in advance, and then calmly and calmly announces the news to countless family members. In his eyes, they are all probably the same, right? Those who are haggard, anxious, panicked, and those with tears streaming down their faces are all normal appearances. Cancer doctors really need to be trained to be hard-hearted, otherwise they will need to spend a lot of money just for their own psychological treatment.
  Probably the ancients had already understood this mystery: in the sculptures in temples or the scenes of gods and Buddhas in the murals, there are always blue-faced imps and green-faced demons, surrounding the gods. They are statues of ancient messengers, who usually send people to the world. The world stares – modern doctors are also God’s laborers and need to actually pronounce death news.
  Hospice is an extremely scary existence for most people. Out of pity, the classmates did not announce this fact to her, but continued to hide it, and they could no longer hide it. The condition obviously worsened during the winter, and the tumor in the leg further enlarged and began to compress the nerves. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, I could go up the mountain freely, but by December, I was paralyzed in bed.
  5.
  I went back to Beijing from Shanghai to visit her. Her classmate contacted me and said that in this situation, she had always been thinking that the Taoist brothers on Qingcheng Mountain could save her life and asked me to go to Beijing to discuss it. She hadn’t been to Beijing for several months and exaggerated the severe cold at the end of December. She nervously put on a black and white mink fur coat and entered the relocation building where she rented with high spirits. The walls outside the elevator room are obviously for the sake of economy. No stone is used. They are all whitewashed. They are full of shoe marks. They are black and dirty. They are the embodiment of the anxiety and irritability of the impatient residents. There is no one there. I feel that this is my home and it needs special care.
  There are more than a dozen rooms lined up in a long and narrow building in Beijing. I vaguely checked the door. A middle-aged nanny with a fierce face blocked the door and refused to let me in. He shouted to the inner room, “A man said… Your friend, can I let him in? My friend weakly agreed inside, so I could go in. The room is small, and the window above can be seen from the door, which is a one-bedroom apartment with an unobstructed view. This was a house she had rented before. I had never been here before, and I didn’t expect that it would be like this for the first time.
  She was lying on her side on the bed with the quilt covering her legs, saying she was afraid of the cold. The heating in winter in the north is actually very warm, especially since the room is small. It feels like being suffocated in a quilt, with a bit of a fishy smell, but she is so afraid of the cold. I can’t help but think of what traditional Chinese medicine says, maybe cancer is really a disease of extreme cold? She said that it was especially cold at two or three o’clock in the evening and her legs would hurt so much that she couldn’t help but ask her aunt to get up and help her change a hot water bottle. The nanny who refused to let me in had worked as a nurse in a hospital and had taken care of various patients. She was not surprised at all. She had a calm but fierce face. She was dressed in the standard style of women in northern counties. She had short hair and bulging eyes. A bit haggard. No matter how good her health is, she still can’t stand the torment of working in the middle of the night. With this salary, she doesn’t want to suffer this, so she complained to her classmates again and again.
  My friend doesn’t talk much. When I encounter this kind of situation, I never know how to speak. I can only say, haven’t you been to a Taoist temple? how do you feel? If I want radiotherapy, would it be better to go directly to the Taoist temple? I couldn’t say too much, but I couldn’t explain it clearly – no matter what, it was not me who should announce the death to her. I couldn’t choose between a hospice hospital and a Taoist temple. While she was wandering, the classmate who took care of her came back. It turns out that classmates are now visiting me in turn. I met this classmate many years ago. He is from Hainan and has deep, black eyes that look like bottomless pits. I know that they have a very good relationship, and they even discussed buying a piece of land to build a house together in this classmate’s hometown. The house on the seaside has dense plants, and even the deserted beach will look full of life. Unfortunately, it has become a dream, and it is completely impossible. A dream come true.
  Along with my classmates, there are also classmates’ colleagues, middle-aged women in their fifties, who are probably more stable. Was it the classmate who called for help because he was afraid that he couldn’t hold on anymore? It’s also about companionship. Otherwise, being alone in a room with a patient would make you feel even more depressed. They both teach at a university. They briefly analyzed the situation with me and said that they should not persuade her to undergo radiotherapy or go to a hospice hospital. Anyway, they should not say anything too much and she should make her own decision. The three of us crowded around the small table by the window and whispered. Whenever my steady colleague said that she should make her own decision, she would pout to the bedside, which was also a habitual action. In fact, what can be hidden in such a small room?
  I don’t know if my friend understands this, but he is lying on the bed half-covered with a quilt, and the life is disappearing from his body bit by bit. We all vaguely know that radiotherapy is terrible, but we can’t explain how terrible it is. The doctor still didn’t give any advice. The effect of radiotherapy was beyond his prediction range. The modern hospital system refused to say a word.
  The result was like a hollow, hanging in the air, and we didn’t dare to look at it. “Or go to the mountain to find a Chinese medicine doctor?” I asked tentatively. Her classmate said firmly, let her decide for herself. What should I do if there is no painkillers for the treatment on the mountain? Now she started complaining about pain in the middle of the night, and without “pain treatment” on the mountain, it would definitely be worse. In fact, West China Hospital in Chengdu, not far from Qingcheng Mountain, is also a first-class hospital in the country. Painkillers are not difficult to find, and I won’t refute that. Perhaps when most people hear about Taoist temples, they always feel a sense of vague fear – is it still an unknown world, shrouded in a white mist of emptiness, and can they just be sent to a hospice to wait for death? An imaginable atmosphere, a group of half-dead bodies, forced warmth, and volunteers with their own thoughts.
  No one can help her make the choice. “Have you notified your family?” “I told you vaguely, but I didn’t say it clearly. There is no result. There are probably patients over there, and they are too busy to go away and see her.” There was still an empty silence.
  It was better to wait for her to speak on her own. In the small room, with several adults surrounding her, she couldn’t make up her mind. She didn’t say anything clearly, so she should know a lot in her heart? Should we give up Concordia’s radiotherapy program completely? Although desperate, many people will still seize the opportunity of radiotherapy, just like many patients’ family members swear, “As long as there is a glimmer of hope, I will save lives no matter how hard it is.” Go directly to the hospice to take painkillers, or really leave A long journey from Beijing to Taoist temples in Sichuan? To be honest, I really can’t make a decision. Of course, my arrival seems to be a driving force, a step towards the unknown Chinese medicine treatment. At least it sounds more mysterious and powerful than other options.

  ”I’d better go to Qingcheng Mountain. Can you help me contact him?” she asked weakly. Instead of feeling relieved, everyone felt even more nervous. My classmates asked a series of questions, “What should I do if you are in pain? Can it be solved there? Who knows what the mountains are like?” I was completely silent for a long time, and I broke it with one sentence, “Okay, I will contact you.
  ” The room, bedroom and living room are not dirty and messy enough to be cherished, but if you really give up, it will probably take a lot of trouble. The friend smiled weakly and said, “I packed it up quickly.” Then he added, “I also borrowed two books from you. I want to return them to you.” They were a few books she borrowed when she went to my house for tea a long time ago. I can’t even remember the name of this book. I vaguely remember that one of the books was “Tinko Batu”, which describes how a group of volunteers in Africa rescued classic cultural relics left behind in the area. What a far-away world. I quickly said, “Stop looking.” I was also in a hurry to leave here. The scene was really embarrassing. It wasn’t just a farewell, but it was also filled with a sense of irritability and despair throughout the room.
  I went back to Shanghai on the 6th
  and contacted the Taoist monks on Qingcheng Mountain for her. The mountain also has a set of charging standards for medical treatment. A year’s treatment fee, plus medicine, plus food and accommodation, also costs hundreds of thousands. For an ordinary person It is still difficult to pay. I bargained hard and helped her reduce the accommodation fee a lot.
  I don’t like doing this kind of negotiation or making such a show, but at this time, I am the only one doing it. Later I found out that her classmates were opposed to her going to the mountain for treatment. The biggest reason was still the same, “What should I do if it hurts?” Have they never thought about how popular painkillers are? Maybe it’s just fear. It is always scary to witness someone dying. She may not have hesitated. When the friend who helped her with medical consultation in Japan finally went to see her, he cruelly said the same thing as me. There is always a possibility in the mountains, but there is almost no possibility of radiotherapy in Xiehe.
  After making the decision, she acted very quickly. The rented house was quickly cleared, and most of the things were donated and thrown away by her classmates. She has been wandering in Beijing since she was in college. After all, she has twenty years of experience in Beijing. She didn’t expect that there are not many things.
  If there are too many, it will be troublesome to deal with. To put it bluntly, they are all external things. She only kept a small amount of clothes and books, and her classmates raised money to buy an 8,000-yuan electric wheelchair, which they went up the mountain with her as a gift. By this time she was paralyzed in bed and completely unable to walk. The choice to fly from Beijing to Chengdu and then take her up the mountain finally fell on her brother. If she couldn’t inform her parents, my younger brother would always say – I said I would pick them up at Chengdu Airport and then send her to a Taoist temple, which was an unavoidable responsibility.
  At this stage, many people felt that there was hope. The friend who helped her go to Japan for consultation drove a big car to take them to the airport. She called me and said, I think this is a good idea. I don’t know, she can be in the mountains. recover? Anyway, the Japanese experts have pronounced a death sentence, and I said categorically that it was absolutely right, and it is best that things are as they are now – the two of us have become optimists, and it is better to place our hopes in religious places than to have no hope at all. Human beings have been “resigning themselves to fate” since ancient times. These four words sound like a kind of optimism.
  My plane arrived first and I waited in the terminal for a long time. Her brother pushed her out of the airport. Sitting in the wheelchair, she was more energetic than before. To be honest, apart from being a little haggard, she couldn’t tell how seriously ill she was. Maybe I haven’t seen so many patients in my simple life experience, but who else has? We are all people who try to turn a blind eye to illness and suffering, and plunge into the world of pleasure, making our bodies happy to escape from all the unknown. While helping to lift the wheelchair, I realized that the 8,000-yuan wheelchair donated by my classmates was really heavy. It was probably of very good quality. It was made of all steel and had an electric motor. It weighed more than 100 kilograms, and it was impossible for one person to lift it. ,
  her brother is always mentioned by her, he is a very fat plumber. I know that his marriage, building a house, and raising children, including the children’s education expenses, were all funded by my friend, his sister. My friend is the exact prototype of the “little brother-supporting demon” that often appears on social media. But in that environment, I never heard her complain and thought it was all justified. When he was seriously ill, he didn’t tell his parents the truth. He was too kind-hearted and didn’t want to make his parents sad. This also shows that his friend was too self-suppressed. Self-suppression may not be a cause of the illness.
  Sure enough, when we went up to the Taoist temple, the first problem was the impracticality of the wheelchair. Senior brother’s Taoist temple is at the foot of the mountain, and there are stone stairs all over the place. Even a light wheelchair is problematic to use, let alone a wheelchair weighing more than 100 pounds. Her brother could only carry her on his back, and a few people walked up. I usually stood by and watched in such situations. It wasn’t because I was lazy, but because everyone felt that I didn’t really look like a working person, so they automatically excluded me. A bunch of people, who were already noisy, gathered around her, looking for a suitable room, arranging for them to eat, and discussing the next treatment plan. I simply wandered around the spacious hall alone. As the New Year approaches, there is no one in the Taoist temple. The statues of gods in the main hall look at me lonely. I can only say silently in my heart, let the gods save the lives of us people – it is important for people, but it may be easy for gods. matter.
  Early the next morning, the Taoist brother arranged an apprenticeship ceremony in the main hall. It turns out that it’s not just about seeing a doctor, but also becoming a teacher. You must promise not to go down the mountain for three years. During this time, you can cultivate yourself in Taoist temples. Even if your health recovers in a few years, you must be pure and have few desires.
  It turns out that the senior brother was also prepared, and it was right to think about it. For a patient whose cancer has spread throughout his body, who would think that treatment is easy to deal with? So there is this ceremony. Right in front of the statue, my friend worshiped his master in a wheelchair, swore an oath to his ancestor, and symbolically gave his senior brother a red envelope worth 100 yuan. I acted as a photographer and took a commemorative photo. The senior brother stood with a few little girls beside him. They were the two girls in the moxibustion room. In the following days, they took care of their friends and they were all simple people. My friend arranged for a nanny before going up the mountain, but he fled down the mountain within a week. He felt that the mountain was too quiet. She was wearing a bright red hat and sitting across from her dullly. She must be expecting something in her heart – if it weren’t for the red hat, I would have thought this photo was black and white. The ancient Taoist temple in the mountains, the desperate people, the monks who hastily took on the responsibility of saving people’s lives. An eternal proposition.
  After that, I went down the mountain and went about my own business. I placed my friend here, as if she was placed in a world outside this world, and I felt further away from us. Although Qingcheng Mountain is a place I often go to, I think so mentally and have less contact with it. The Taoist brother told her to keep her mind and focus on treatment. Occasionally, she received interesting WeChat messages from the girl in the moxibustion room in the Taoist temple. They were all about extremely weird treatments, such as grinding musk into powder. , put moxibustion on the kidneys, for example, let her go to the large balcony of the Taoist temple to bask in the sun and absorb as much yang energy as possible. I feel more and more that the world she entered has nothing to do with us.
  During the Spring Festival, people living in the Taoist temple temporarily celebrated together, singing and ringing bells, and she was also there. Everyone sat next to the charcoal brazier. In the dusty old house, the brazier was lit, but the cold could still be felt. They were all dressed in large cotton robes. The video sent was also very happy, singing “Orchid Grass” loudly. It was obvious that she had gained some weight and was in good spirits. I felt like I was on the right track. Although I made the decision to send her to the Taoist temple, deep down I was not sure whether this was the right thing to do. When chatting with friends, everyone looked at me and listened to the story as if reading a book from heaven. We are all ordinary people in the city, and the only way to get sick is in the hospital. When I heard this kind of treatment, I was a little confused and a little surprised. Although they all said in the end that you did the right thing, who can be sure that Taoism can save lives? Woolen cloth? Speaking of which, there are miracles everywhere, but who has seen the miracles happening around them?

  Unexpectedly, a miracle really happened.
  Not long after the Spring Festival, my friends and relatives in the Taoist temple sent me videos, saying that my friend had recovered a lot. She abandoned her wheelchair, used crutches, and walked slowly in the Taoist temple alone, surrounded by the light of the wilderness. . I was also shocked. People say that traditional Chinese medicine cannot shrink tumors, but if the tumors in her legs are not reduced, she will not be able to walk at all. The friend in the Taoist temple who sent me the video probably felt that a miracle was happening. He happily told me about this while chanting “The Supreme Lord bless me”. At this stage, I have almost become a propaganda ambassador for traditional Chinese medicine. All my friends who are half-acquainted with me have been told about this miracle – overflowing with enthusiasm and losing their rationality.
  I’m really not making up the story. In April and May, her health gradually improved. Not only did she no longer use crutches, she could also climb mountains. Senior brother’s Taoist temple is halfway up Qingcheng Mountain. She climbed up and down, slower than ordinary people, but it was not difficult. The photos sent are all of people eating, drinking and having fun in the ancient town at the foot of the mountain, admiring flowers and eating glutinous rice glutinous rice, just like us ordinary people. Occasionally, a thought occurred to me. Didn’t it say that I couldn’t leave the Taoist temple and not go down the mountain? Brother Taoist priest was probably very proud of himself. He yelled at me on WeChat that it didn’t matter if he went down the mountain to play once.
  7
  The existence of God probably teaches us all not to get carried away, never. Five months after going up the mountain, my friend and my senior brother organized a trip to Yunnan. The senior brother’s explanation was that my friend was exhausted because he had not left the mountain for five months. It happened that a group of disciples who were on the mountain and down the mountain wanted to go out, so they organized a self-driving trip. Tour, a trip of more than ten days.
  Next, there is the occurrence of bad news, a realistic manifestation of extreme happiness leading to sadness. Not long after, it was said that my friend started to fall ill just after returning to the mountain. Before the trip to Yamashita, she had stopped taking traditional Chinese medicine. During the trip, she could not take traditional Chinese medicine every day, so she simply stopped taking the medicine for more than a month. When I returned to the Taoist temple on the mountain, it was almost June, and my body suddenly became swollen. The senior brother did not dare to tell me, but Master Hu, the head of the house, whispered to me that it didn’t seem to be good. I thought her stomach was swollen, maybe she had ascites. Can’t get it out? I didn’t believe it at first. How could someone who had finally recovered fall into the abyss so quickly? Second, they really do not understand the mystery of traditional Chinese medicine in treating cancer. At that time, there was an epidemic in Shanghai, and I myself was inexplicably depressed. I had an unspeakable resentment towards them for traveling. Now that I heard this, I just asked my senior brother, “What’s the matter?” You have to tell the truth.
  One can imagine the anxiety of the Taoist brother. The patient who was about to be cured relapsed after stopping the medicine, but he stopped taking the medicine with his permission. This kind of suffering made him more anxious than his own illness – falling from a height was really worse. Always on flat ground. I even think that if my friend had not been able to walk freely so quickly and had been sick and recuperating in bed, the result would have been better than the current outcome. After all, after she went up the mountain, her pain was greatly relieved with simple treatment, and she could sleep peacefully just by taking herbs. No wonder my senior brother and I boasted, “TCM is very effective in treating pain” – at least the absence of pain is a comfort.
  It is even more comforting to die without pain or pain. I broke out in a cold sweat and suddenly understood that the issue of life and death that I had been hoping for her to be cured and unwilling to think about in detail was actually my own fear. The topic of “inevitable death” was covered up. Wasn’t it my delusion? Being able to die painlessly is probably the biggest thing I can do to help her.
  Thinking back to her classmates’ words about pain treatment, it was a middle-class delusion and an obstacle to us.
  The situation took a turn for the worse. The two girls in the moxibustion room and the head of the house, Master Hu, probably felt that it was necessary to inform me. In the past few months, no relatives have visited her in the mountain. They can only look for me. These are all women in Taoist temples, and they talk a lot in daily life: sometimes she doesn’t eat very much, sometimes she sneaks snacks, she is swollen and crying, in short, everything is fine if nothing happens for a day. I originally refused to listen to such a detailed report, and I don’t want to hear it even more now, but I can’t tell them, please stop talking. Maybe I am afraid that my instinct is to escape the shadow of death, so I said that when Shanghai is lifted, I will go up the mountain. Visit her and find out what’s going on. I also asked my senior brother several times in private, but he was not sure about life and death, so he still gave vague answers.
  Probably because of luck, I have always been far away from death: all my ancestors have passed away before I came into contact with them, and I have never experienced family funerals. I have lived with my parents in a third-tier factory since I was a child, and there are no relatives around me. Death in the factory has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with it; the most direct death case was probably his deskmate in junior high school. The school was on holiday the day before the high school entrance examination. He was a very dark and skinny boy, always naughty. He went swimming in the Yangtze River on his only day off, which was rare for us at that time. entertainment activities, and ended up drowning on the same day – the next day during the high school entrance examination, the seat in front of me was shockingly empty; of course, as an adult, there are always all kinds of bleak death news, but it is relatively far away, including sudden and violent deaths among classmates. The most news about the deceased is a few exclamations, such as how young he was.
  I have always avoided facing death. Although I have set a date to go up the mountain, to be honest, I am afraid of this scene. I always feel that I have to directly face the departure of my once close friend, and I don’t know what to do. I am a clumsy, simple person, and I have to struggle to say any smooth words. When things came to a close, I had to go, not to mention that the head of the family, Master Hu, kept staring at me and asking me if I wanted to inform my friend’s family. At least she always felt that my friend would die suddenly.
  I had just gone up the mountain and hadn’t gone to see my friends yet. The closer I got, the more timid I became, so I went to Mr. Hu’s house first. She first vividly told me the death story of one of her apprentices. The female apprentice suffered from breast cancer and was sentenced to death by the hospital. As a result, she made up her mind to go to the mountain for treatment. After more than a year of treatment, my health was in great shape. I played mahjong and picked vegetables with them every day. Everyone said, after three years, you can go down the mountain. “But how can you people in this world be willing to listen? She is also in great health, and her face is flushed after being treated. She misses her children. She feels that she is completely healed. She is completely healed. If she doesn’t listen, she will go down the mountain. Where can she stay? Live.”
  After a month down the mountain, the cancer recurred, and he passed away in less than two months. Before he died, he grabbed Master Hu’s hand and said that life on the mountain was the happiest. He regretted his disobedience and asked to be buried in the mountain after his death. As a result, Buried in the woods behind the kitchen. “Then tell me, my friend shouldn’t go down the mountain and do some tourism?” I asked Mr. Hu a little depressed. Master Hu nodded, “Yes, yes, we agreed not to go down the mountain.”
  Master Hu became a monk in her teens and was used to ups and downs. The Taoist temple often dealt with various matters related to life, old age, illness and death, but she was still entangled with my friend. Health gained and lost. “It was fine. Let me tell you, I watched her go down the mountain. She walked so fast. We all told Master Chen, who was treating the disease, that you had done a miracle.” Then there was a series of complaints, saying that it was because of the feelings of friends. He is restless and loves to eat snacks. He refuses to eat all kinds of healthy vegetables in Taoist temples and insists on buying all kinds of bread, cheese and canned ham. “They are all garbage.” In the eyes of Master Hu, who is used to eating simple vegetarian food, these are definitely not good. Worth eating. She also said that she didn’t like working. “After her health has improved, she comes out to sweep the floor every day. It’s such a good exercise, but she refuses to do it. She feels that those jobs are inferior and not hers.” After a lot of words, I just felt that this friend was talking about I don’t know anyone, at least not a friend I’ve ever been very familiar with.
  ”Don’t she like to work?” I asked in a low voice. “Where-” the voice was drawn out, with a slightly melodious tone in the Sichuan dialect, and it was all denied.

  The girls in the moxibustion room were also anxious to tell me stories. Maybe there was some kind of shock among them. They watched a paralyzed cancer patient get better, walk freely, and look better, and then decline in the blink of an eye. Like fleeting flowers, this face-to-face experience is so shocking. “She just wanted to go down the mountain. She was looking forward to it all day long. She originally agreed to stay for three years, but she forgot about it after she recovered. She told us that she was going to Shanghai to do stock business and how much money she would make. She also said that she The salary used to be high, but now she has no income in the mountains, what should she do? We have been telling her that it doesn’t matter, her life is her own, and she should cure her illness first, but she doesn’t listen, and she will go down the mountain to play when she feels better.” After nagging her
  . I understand a little bit what my friend is thinking. The lonely mountain life, the limited number of guests, and the hopeless waiting all disgusted her. On top of disgust, there is also fear – what to do in the future without income? After being cured, are you really going to stay in the mountains doing odd jobs? All kinds of thoughts haunted her like a nightmare. As a result, as soon as her body recovered, she immediately wandered happily. It was a prelude to feeling that she could return to the noisy world – her vow to stay in the mountains for three years was lightly left behind. .
  Among all kinds of thoughts, the fear of not having money is probably the darkest: it is boundless darkness. From wallowing in the prosperous world of Beijing, to suddenly going to the simple Taoist temple in western Sichuan, all that is left in the future is spending money, what future is there? I feel I understand her a little better. Although when we went up the mountain, both I and her classmates were concerned about her financial situation and made it clear that if she had no money, we could support her. But after all, for her, this sentence Words are like castles in the air.
  The little girl told me one thing after another that the person who managed the patients on the mountain for the Taoist brother was another patient, Sister Feng, who came for treatment. A lean woman, almost out of shape, the result of a severe thyroid disease that caused her body to collapse. I was originally married in Germany and was engaged in trading business, but was sentenced to death by a German doctor. I had no choice but to return to my hometown. After searching for a doctor for a long time, I finally met a Taoist brother, so I devoted myself to learning Chinese medicine.
  Sister Feng was arrogant, at least not verbally admitting that her Taoist brother could cure her. She said she wanted to learn medical skills to treat herself. She didn’t get along with anyone, but she was smart and capable. Not long after, her brother asked her to manage patients. There are still several permanent patients on the mountain, and she is responsible for their accommodation and meal expenses, including the cost of taking medicine every day. The Taoist brother was so compassionate that many ordinary patients from the mountains came to the mountains to have their pulses checked and treated, often free of charge. However, Sister Feng did not let go of anything, saying that she was poor in the mountains and wanted to save money for the mountains.
  The Taoist brother talked about Sister Feng many times, and she was very mean-spirited. She and I had long been known to each other. Finally, we met one day on the stone stairs going up the mountain. She was coming down the mountain and looked down at me. She was extremely thin. human form. I secretly joked with my senior brother, how do you arrange for a mantis to do odd jobs for you. The senior brother was quick to talk and passed it to her. She retorted and called me a panda. We both felt like the other was a character in a cartoon.
  Only then did I find out that Sister Feng had been pestering my friend for a long time after his senior brother agreed to charge less for my friend’s accommodation. She also scolded my friend in person several times. In her opinion, it was equivalent to giving an advantage to a friend and being unfair to other patients. But my friend really didn’t have any extra money, so he was sulking secretly, and he didn’t tell me. Maybe he knew that telling me would be useless. In addition to the accommodation fee, there was also the cost of daily medicine. Because it was a serious disease, it was inevitable to use some precious The medicine, musk and ginseng, depends on how much to use and how to use sparingly, and there are many more things. This kind of thing has made my friends suffer. At least once the medicine was in Sister Feng’s hands, I suffered a lot of grievances. The sorrow of life is everywhere – in the last stage of life, there is still so much embarrassment that it is almost difficult to escape, especially for those who do not have enough money, poverty is as cold as iron. These trivial things on the mountain are all trivial to talk about, but when life and death fall to the ground, aren’t they just these trivial things? Even in the mountains of western Sichuan, even in extremely remote Taoist temples.
  Sister Feng was not on the mountain, so it was not convenient for me to confront her. When I heard these trivial matters, I just felt extremely depressed and aggrieved. I felt aggrieved and depressed for my friend, but at the stage of life and death, I still had these complicated debris wrapped around me. But isn’t this the essence of life? Of course I don’t understand the fireworks of the world.
  I finally got up the courage to go see her, but I was worried again. Everyone in the Taoist temple was an acquaintance, and they all asked me to encourage her to live. I really had nothing to say. She was sitting on the balcony on the second floor, and the little girl in the moxibustion room was taking care of her to eat. She was sitting on a high stool, her face so thin that she was deformed. I came back from my trip in May, just over a month ago, and my body was so decomposed. I looked at her and had nothing to say, except the simplest greeting: Are you okay? Will be fine. Don’t be homesick, break off your family ties for the time being. You were probably impulsive when you went down the mountain. You can go down the mountain to play after you recover from your illness. There is no need to be anxious. You don’t have to worry about money, your classmates and I have prepared some for you. All the words I said felt pale and weak, and there was almost nothing that could comfort others, but what else could I say besides these?
  She looked at me lifelessly. Although death had not yet come, the permeating aura was already felt. Master Hu, the head of the house, said that her legs were swollen, but I couldn’t see it. In the middle of summer, she was covered with a heavy quilt, so it was probably extremely cold. Regarding my words, I just answered mechanically one by one. I can no longer enter her world, and I dare not enter it. It is an unfathomable black hole. Then she thought of her destiny book, the cold water in the first month, the cold that she dared not touch.
  It will be fine, it will be fine, I said as I walked out and retreated hastily. It was me who was timid and did not dare to face death. When she walked out of her room, she came across the expensive wheelchair, covered with dust. Hey, I know you, I said hello to it. There was a heavy rain in the mountains that night, resulting in a power outage all night. Listening to the sound of heavy rain in the mountains and the huge water flow, I couldn’t fall asleep, and I couldn’t sleep well. I got up many times, and I didn’t think about why I came here and why I sent my friends here. Is it our fate in this life? An unexplained proposition – this was the last time I saw her. Not long after, the master sent me a WeChat message, saying that she was gone and had not suffered. Suddenly, she fell back and died in front of the senior brother who was helping her fill her with medicine. in his arms.
  I still don’t want to ask, don’t want to know anything. I tried my best to isolate myself clearly from her death. That was something in another world. I was indifferent to what to do with various funeral arrangements, how cruel her family was, and what to do with the few properties she left behind. I just asked them to contact her family as soon as possible. The last news we learned was that her family, who had never gone up the mountain to visit her, hurriedly moved her body down the mountain and was cremated locally. The ashes were returned to her hometown. According to the village’s rules, an unmarried daughter died outside and was not allowed to enter. The ancestral graves in the village are buried in wild graves outside the village.
  Another news came a few months later: Sister Feng, who was very unruly and energetic, passed away not long after the death of her friend. Before her death, her body was swollen and no longer lean. Taoist urged her mother to take her to the hospital in Chengdu. She died so hastily that she didn’t even know the password to her cell phone. She finally unlocked the password and found that she didn’t have a penny in her card. She kept talking about how much savings she had on the mountain. She also served herself with good wine and tea on weekdays. She even got a room in the Taoist temple to make her own small kitchen. She stewed soups with various organic ingredients every day and enjoyed them by herself. He really looks pampered. But her wealth was almost all the result of bragging, and she owed her friends a lot of money. She managed patients’ accounts on the mountain, half of which went into her own pocket, and she didn’t save anything. Her death was as miserable as that of my friend.

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