My father passed away six years ago, at the age of 64, he clashed on a majiang table in the village. This photo was taken by me, shows him standing in front of our old house built by him. It was winter, right after Chinese New Year holiday. This house looks strange because it consists of two parts: the left dark gray building was newly added, with tile flooring and larger windows, my father and mother built this part because the old clay wall house was embarrassing for a proud father of two educated kids: I am the second college student in the village, and my sister was the third.
One year after my father passed away, I took down the right part of the house shown on the photo above, the clay house, and built a six storey country inn. The tallest building in the town at the time.
64 is a young age to die, but his death was not that surprising in this town because many people, men and women of his generation, died young due to various medical reasons: cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure related problems. My father left the world in just one or two minutes while playing majiang with three men, his put his face on the table, other men thought he was just thinking…they did not call an ambulance, or sent him to the hospital because it was too late when they realized something was wrong about my father.
He has high blood pressure and diabete, just like many many people of his age in China, they cannot/could not adjust their old lifestyle to the modern times of abundance. People of his age from the rural areas in China lived their entire lives in civil war, political movements, hatred, exhausting laboring works, uncontrolled pesticides, hunger and very limited educational opportunities. After retirement, when they had the opportunities to pay attention to their health, their foods, they just couldn’t because nobody really cared for them literally, and they still ate like they were still in hunger, and had to work like a slave year after year, in a commune.
I had a uncle, my father’s older brother, he died of blood cancer at the age of 54, also a roof tile maker and hard worker.
Their parents, my grandpa and grandma, went through all the wars, political movements like the crazy Great Leap Forward Movement which led thirty million Chinese peasants’ death in the massive famine. Somehow, they lived much longer than their two sons. And it’s not just them, in general, my grandparents generation lived much longer than their children and they had no cancer, diabetes, etc. I wonder why. One of the reasons I can think of is, those old people spent their childhood and youth time before the communist party took over. Before the taking over, there were more wars but people were not crazy, they were poor but they had dignitiy, they were uneducated but they appeared to be wiser than their kids with limited education.
to be continued.