New Life on the Road

A Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Spe­cial Gift for Par­ents Saved the Life of His Can­cer-Stricken Fa­ther

Special Focus - - Contents - Mu Zi

Gu Yi was born in a poor fam­ily of Yancheng, a city in Jiangsu Prov­ince. It was not easy for his par­ents to raise three chil­dren and send them to school rais­ing crops on their own land. When Gu Yi earned a house of his own and got mar­ried in Chongqing, he ea­gerly brought his par­ents to live with him to­gether so that he could take bet­ter care of them.

How­ever, in March, 2013, af­ter a rou­tine health check ar­ranged by Gu Yi, his fa­ther Gu Quan­ping, was di­ag­nosed with later-stage stom­ach can­cer. Gu Quan­ping re­ceived a surgery which re­moved four-fifths of his stom­ach, and un­der­went six­months of ex­haust­ing che­mother­apy, dur­ing which his weight dropped from 70 kilo­grams to around 40 kilo­grams.

The doc­tor told Gu Yi that his fa­ther’s days were num­bered when Gu Quan­ping was rechecked. Yet sur­pris­ingly, his fa­ther’s health seemed to be bet­ter and bet­ter af­ter be­ing dis­charged from the hos­pi­tal.

The doc­tor’s words told Gu Yi that he should do some­thing. He had al­ways wanted to travel with his par­ents, but had failed to do so for var­i­ous rea­sons. He knew he would re­gret it for the rest of his life if he didn’t take ac­tion. So he planned an over­seas trip for his par­ents.

In the au­tumn of 2015, Gu Yi ar­ranged a trip for his par­ents to visit Aus­tralia and told them that they were just vis­it­ing their grand­son who stud­ied there. They ended up tak­ing a three-month jour­ney that gave them a new life.

It was the first time his par­ents had ever been on an air­plane, in their past over 70 years of life. Gu Yi wrote in his di­ary, “My mom snug­gled with my dad. When their ex­pres­sion changed from ner­vous­ness to ex­cite­ment, I was even­tu­ally re­leased from up­sets and anx­i­ety. From the mo­ment they

boarded the plane, their cu­riosi­ties were ig­nited by the un­fa­mil­iar ex­pe­ri­ences and un­known jour­ney that awaited them. They looked out of the win­dow, amazed at the beauty of the clouds and sea. From time to time, they would ask me about the ar­range­ments and de­tails about the trip.”

Gu Yi never ex­pected that his par­ents would be so dif­fer­ent when trav­el­ing abroad. They be­haved like a young cou­ple, who were ex­cited about jour­ney, and full of en­thu­si­asm and as­pi­ra­tion for life.

They be­gan to take self­ies like the young­sters in Bris­bane. His fa­ther even learned to play gui­tar at Queens­land Univer­sity and per­formed for stu­dents, his ter­ri­ble health con­di­tion en­tirely for­got­ten. When they saw the black wat­tle for­est ex­clu­sive to Aus­tralia, his par­ents ex­claimed with ex­cite­ment that they had never imag­ined there could be such kind of bark on earth.

One day, when they were walk­ing on the road, his fa­ther stopped at an old tree with strong branches and said to his mom, “Be­lieve it or not, I can climb this tree.” With­out a mo­ment’s hes­i­ta­tion, his fa­ther did climb up the tree and laughed hap­pily. Touched by his par­ents’ new-found spirit, Gu Yi couldn’t help fol­low­ing their smil­ing faces with his cam­era and record­ing this cheer­ful mo­ment with shots af­ter shots.

On the 50th an­niver­sary of their wed­ding day, Gu Quan­ping got up at 5:00 in the morn­ing and picked a bou­quet of wild flow­ers. He put them in the back trunk of their rented RV and woke Gu Yi up qui­etly, seek­ing his ad­vice on the words he wrote for his wife. In the beau­ti­ful morn­ing sun­shine, Gu Quan­ping sang those words in the air­port and then knelt down with the flow­ers he picked up and said loudly, “To­day, our son plans to cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary of our wed­ding in Aus­tralia. Now I pro­pose to my beloved wife. Will you marry me?” Tears ran all over his mom’s face when she heard those words.

Gu Quan­ping was a bit shy when he re­flected about the ro­man­tic act and said, “I didn’t give your mom a de­cent wed­ding cer­e­mony when we were young be­cause I was poor. That’s why I pro­posed again.” Then he blushed a lit­tle.

In the fol­low­ing days, Gu Yi took his par­ents on a he­li­copter and they tried tan­dem sky­div­ing to­gether as sched­uled. The door opened when the he­li­copter climbed up to about five kilo­me­ters above the Great Bar­rier Reef, then his par­ents and he jumped out of the he­li­copter as in­structed by the coach.

All the fear, pes­simism, and de­spair caused by the dis­ease were all cleared out from his par­ents’ minds dur­ing the happy fam­ily trip. They longed for a new life in the fu­ture. In Fe­bru­ary, 2016, the happy fam­ily re­turned to Chongqing from Aus­tralia.

When they re­turned, Gu Yi found he was more open than ever with his par­ents and his par­ents’ health was im­prov­ing grad­u­ally. Ev­ery day, his par­ents wa­tered flow­ers, fed fish, and took a walk af­ter din­ner. Their life was sim­ple and peace­ful. The three-month jour­ney also brought an un­ex­pected gift for them. His fa­ther gained five kilo­grams of weight and ate more than be­fore. When his fa­ther went to hos­pi­tal for a health-check, the doc­tor told them that the can­cer had not spread and sug­gested him in tak­ing a lighter, pos­i­tive treat­ment.

Both of his par­ents looked more en­er­getic than be­fore—they even won­dered about the next trip. His fa­ther ex­pressed his will to live another decade with good health so that he could travel with his fam­ily. He now even as­pires to learn to drive so that he could one day drive them around the world.

(From Mod­ern Fam­ily, August 2016. Trans­la­tion: Li Li)

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