Families bid farewell to their beloved children

Writer: Chen Siqi  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-04-07

These are two stories about families bidding their farewells to their beloved kids.

Zaozao’s mother didn’t expect that her baby would live at the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Shenzhen Children’s Hospital for seven months.

When Zaozao was about to turn 1 year old in 2022, she started to fall ill. She had a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, unwilling to eat and drink and always fell asleep.

The mother was struck with guilt at first as she always thought it was her fault to let the infant eat her cosmetics while feeding, causing lead poisoning. “I thought I would die with her at that time,” the mother told Southern Metropolis Daily.

Test results showed that the baby was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder and the mother’s sense of guilt lessened, but the pain would not go away.

Luckily, the medical workers treated Zaozao well, which comforted the mother a lot. “They communicated with me quite often, sending us messages and pictures when Zaozao lived at the PICU,” the mother said. “I really appreciate the nurses and doctors, giving so much love to my kid.”

“The hospital notified us three times that Zaozao was in critical condition. Each time, they helped me get more prepared to say goodbye to my daughter. Nevertheless, when the day came, I cried the whole day,” the mother recalled.

According to Zaozao’s mother, “we will experience dealing with losses our whole lives, but love lives forever.” Even though Zaozao is gone, her love empowers her mother to rebuild her life and love the people coming into her life.

Zaozao’s mother dreamed about her and would write in her journal: “I kept all of her photos, videos and memories. So, when a community worker asked me if I would like to be interviewed, I would do so. Because I think this is one way to show love, and I wish my experience could help others.”

Before Yunyun, a young leukemia patient, left the world, she wrote down many notes on slips of paper to her mother when she stayed at the PICU at Shenzhen Children’s Hospital.

Yunyun’s mother holds up notes from her daughter. Courtesy of Yunyun’s mother

The hospital workers delivered the 8-year-old girl’s notes to her mother, which read: “Mom, thanks for your hard work. I really loved the dishes you cooked last night. I almost ate them up.” “Mom, I hope you don’t feel sad about my sickness. I wish you are happy all the day.” “Mom, I’m sorry for my previous behavior that always made you angry.”

The notes between the mother and daughter stopped when Yunyun was sent to a regular room. As she was about to reach the end of her life, Yunyun’s family made the tough decision to give her palliative care.

The great thing was Yunyun felt happier when she moved out of the PICU because she was able to talk with and hug her beloved ones.

As they counted down on Yunyun’s remaining days, her father brought her dishes she wanted to eat every day. The hospital workers prepared a mini concert for her, read her stories, took care of her and even helped her family cope with their gloomy moods.

A few days later, Yunyun left the world peacefully in her mother’s arms. “We visit her weekly. Yunyun left with blessings and love, she is not alone,” Yunyun’s mother said.

Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. In 2019, Shenzhen became part of the first batch of cities to pilot palliative care in China. In June 2022, Shenzhen Children’s Hospital set up palliative care for children.