It had been a much-anticipated reunion for Mr Chang and his family. After years of estrangement due to the global pandemic, the migrant worker had been finally reunited with his wife and daughter from Henan. The joy of the long-awaited gathering was short-lived however, when thunderstorms began last Wednesday. Mr Chang’s family had come to Beijing to join him on his seasonal spice bazaar in the city.

The family had plans of visiting Tiananmen square that day, in what would have been a triumphant celebration of their reunion, but unforeseeable events would disrupt their joyous day. As night fell and the rains intensified, the storm brought heart-wrenching tragedy to Mr Chang’s house. A devastating flood caused by the heavy rains rose swiftly, filling their living quarters with murky waters and taking away their beloved daughter Miao.

The police and local rescue teams had been deployed to the area to evacuate and search for survivors. However, her body remained submerged until the waters gradually receded. Shocked family members mourned the loss of their daughter to the surging flood. Mr Chang felt helpless and spoke in shock of his beloved daughter’s sudden disappearance. Mr Chang and his wife, numb with grief, blamed themselves for not acting swiftly enough to protect their daughter.

These unfortunate events led the community to come together in solidarity and compassion. Residents, who were mostly migrant laborers, gathered outside the house to grieve. Some provided food and comfort to the distraught family, while others shared stories of human resilience and loss. A kind-hearted search party was formed, led by a group of older citizens, who doorknocked and searched for Miao in all the nearby flooded areas. They did not find her but their solidarity was a comforting presence for the grieving family.

Community members, including those who had not known Miao personally, approached the family in comfort, offering words of assurance and expressions of solidarity in their time of grief. Other individuals, saddened by this news, decided to come forward and support the family during these hardships. Donations collected by the community provided Mr Chang and his wife with some financial assistance, to bury their daughter and help make ends meet during this difficult period.

This incredible act of solidarity during a time of loss and sorrow was a testament to the connectedness of the human spirit, that remains relentless and resilient despite the grief and disasters that life throws our way. In the end, Mr Chang and his wife decided to forgo visiting Tiananmen Square and focus their attention on honoring Miao’s memory in any way possible. Together, the community mourned a life lost too soon and rallied for Mr Chang and his wife, demonstrating the spirit of community in its best form.