HARBIN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Yu and her husband used to hide from family and friends during the Spring Festival, because the sight of happy families reminded them of their daughter, who died 15 years ago from leukemia.
Yu, who gave only her surname, is one of around one million Chinese parents who lost their only child, and the number is growing.
During the Lunar New Year holiday, Yu, who lives in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and 128 other families gathered together for a festival gala, organized by the local government and social organizations.
"My husband and I used to hide every Spring Festival. We tried to go out and travel, and once, we even spent Spring Festival in a bathhouse," she said.
Yu experienced the agony and helplessness of losing a child. "I have wanted to kill myself a million times since my daughter died. Now I'm trying to put my life back on track," she said.
In 2014, she and her husband began engaging with charity groups who help bereaved parents.
"Now we often get together to draw pictures or organize outings. I started to keep myself busy, so that I would not have time to think about things that make me sad," she said.
Liu Fuguo runs the public welfare center in Harbin that helped organize the gala for the families.
"These families should not be alienated from society. They may be sensitive and fragile, but we need to help them be involved in society and be strong," he said.
The Heilongjiang provincial government have set up funding to help these parents.
"What they need is more than support. Psychological counseling through various means are also needed," said Liu.