Forced separation amid Covid-19 pandemic
In July 2020, it was scorching hot in Beijing. The Covid-19 kept ravaging. Chunhui mama Yan Min was taking care of three orphaned children. She loved them dearly but most missed Rong Rong. It had been a long time since she last saw the girl. Because of the pandemic, experienced Yan was requested to care for more children with life-threatening diseases.
A short reunion
On a July afternoon, Yan took a newly admitted child of CCH to a hospital for his much-needed surgery. The hospital happened to be the one where Rong Rong was receiving her surgery too. Yan died to see Rong Rong, but had to be there for the newcomer child under her care.
After the child was taken into the surgery room, Yan stayed right outside for hours straight. Although she knew Rong Rong’s ward was no more than 20m away, she didn’t take even one step towards it until the newcomer child was wheeled out from the surgery room into the intensive care unit.
“The surgery went great. In two hours, you may take him back to CCH for follow-up care,” said the doctor. At his words, Yan heaved a sigh of relief. She watched the child through the window and, after making sure he was fine, she said: “I want to see Rong Rong,” her eyes welling up with tears. Walking down a long and narrow passageway, Yan got to Rong Rong’s ward. It was a room full of sunshine, the floor covered by colorful soft mats. Three Chunhui mamas and five children were playing a game. On the balcony, Rong Rong was sitting on a chair and looking out of the window. She was bathed in soft yellow afternoon sunshine.
Yan went over and gently touched her shoulder. Rong Rong turned around, saw Yan, stared at her in amazement and then with a big smile shouted “mama”. They held each other tight, for so long, beside themselves with joy.
In the following two hours, Yan massaged Rong Rong’s arms and legs, made her bed and fed her as usual. Rong Rong was as happy as a lark. She struggled to stand up and, supported by the bedside, staggered a few steps. She wanted to let Yan know that she never stopped practicing hard while Yan was away, and soon she would progress so much as to walk, run and go outside for fun together with Yan, as they envisioned in the earliest days. Watching Rong Rong, Yan’s eyes were brimming with joy.
Good times were always short. Before they realized it, two hours passed, and it was time to part again.
Separation that knew no end
“Rong Rong, I need to work and will be away for some time,” Yan faltered. Rong Rong’s smile vanished all at once and said: “But you just got back.”
Looking at Rong Rong’s pure, innocent eyes, Yan tried to hold back her tears. She had to leave the girl for other orphaned children that needed her more. She wasn’t sure how long they would be separated, but she didn’t want to let the girl down because she knew she was her hope---a hope that would lead her through a long journey of darkness to a bright future.
“Rong Rong, you look amazing now. Soon, you will learn to walk, run and go outside,” Yan felt her head, “but there are many other kids afflicted with severe diseases. I have to take care of them. When they recover, you will have fun together.”
Rong Rong hated to part with Yan and was too dejected to talk. The doctor came for
Yan, telling her the newcomer child was fine enough to be discharged.
Yan squatted down, faked a smile and said: “Rong Rong, be a good girl. Continue with your rehabilitation exercises and take your meals on time. Cheer up! I will come back again sometime,” after these words, Yan slowly stood up, forced a smile and walked out of the ward.
Seeing the back of Yan, Rong Rong burst out crying. She hasted to hold onto the balance support and stumbled in a flurry toward Yan.
Yan’s tears poured out. She didn’t have the heart to turn around or give Rong Rong any promise. Walking quickly straight ahead, she prayed for the pandemic to disappear and everything would be fine again.
Yan came back to the newcomer child who was fast asleep. But she couldn’t put Rong Rong out of her mind, and her tears fell like rain.
Many many more Chunhui mamas like Yan have been nursing the children with unfailing love over all these years. Emotional attachment is mutual; Chunhui mamas and the children are attached to each other. At such special times when the pandemic shakes the country and even the whole world, they need this attachment more than ever.