Li Zhao's husband committed suicide after the earthquake. She resisted her emotions and never mentioned her husband's name without being prompted.
Jing had no idea. She turned to the experience of Li Zhao for help.
Li and Jing found themselves in similar straits. Like Jing, Li's husband was also a county official at the time of the quake. And like Jing, Li's husband Dong Yufei committed suicide in its wake – the county's first official to take his own life in the wake of the disaster.
Dong's suicide also bore many similarities. Former head of Beichuan's agriculture commission, Dong too had lost a son in the temblor. Less than five months after the quake, he hung himself, writing he had "too much pressure."
The two families suffered the same pain. Feng, who lost his son and felt pressure from work, once said he and Dong "both had the same misfortune." Half a year later, Feng also took the same way out.
"Nowadays, I try not to think about that," Li said.
She resisted her emotions and never mentioned her husband's name without being prompted. Soon, she would attend a wedding of one of Dong's relatives – another family rebuilding after losing loved ones in the earthquake. But she was not willing to share her past memories. She smiled, but never said anything.
Who is more miserable, the dead or the living? No one knows. There is no proof suggesting women are stronger than men after a disaster, either. However, for the past three years, women like Jing and Li have been showing their quiet but perseverant hearts. Perhaps their example gives the best answer of all.