Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Memories Of Love"

An incredible love story

An incredible love story has come out of China recently and managed totouch the world. It is a story of a man and an older woman who ran off to live and loveeach other in peace for over half a century. The 70-year-old Chinese man who hand-carved over 6,000 stairs up amountain for his 80-year-old wife has passed away in the cave which hasbeen the couple's home for the last 50 years.

Over 50 years ago, Liu Guojiang a 19 year-old boy, fell in love with a29 year-old widowed mother named Xu Chaoqin.. In a twist worthy of Shakespeare' s Romeo and Juliet, friends andrelatives criticized the relationship because of the age difference andthe fact that Xu already had children. At that time, it was unacceptable and immoral for a young man to lovean older woman.. To avoid the market gossip and the scorn of theircommunities, the couple decided to elope and lived in a cave inJiangjin County in Southern ChongQing Municipality.

In the beginning, life was harsh as hey had nothing, no electricity oreven food. They had to eat grass and roots they found in the mountain,and Liu made a kerosene lamp that they used to light up their lives. Xu felt that she had tied Liu down and repeatedly asked him, 'Are youregretful? Liu always replied, 'As long as we are industrious, life willimprove.'In the second year of living in the mountain, Liu began and continuedfor over 50 years, to hand-carve the steps so that his wife could getdown the mountain easily.

Half a century later in 2001, a group of adventurers were exploring theforest and were surprised to find the elderly couple and the over 6,000hand-carved steps. Liu MingSheng, one of their seven children said,'My parents loved each other so much, they have lived in seclusion forover 50 years and never been apart a single day. He hand carved morethan 6,000 steps over the years for my mother's convenience, althoughshe doesn't go down the mountain that much.'

The couple had lived in peace for over 50 years until last week. Liu,now 72 years, returned from his daily farm work and collapsed. Xu satand prayed with her husband as he passed away in her arms. So in lovewith Xu, was Liu, that no one was able to release the grip he had onhis wife's hand even after he had passed away. 'You promised me you'll take care of me, you'll always be with me until the day I die, now you left before me, how am I going to live without you?' Xu spent days softly repeating this sentence and touching her husband's black coffin with tears rolling down her cheeks.

In 2006, their story became one of the top 10 love stories from China ,collected by the Chinese Women Weekly. The local government has decidedto preserve the love ladder and the place they lived as a museum, sothis love story can live forever.


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