One father in China is preparing his critically ill 2-year-old daughter for her death by allowing the child to spend time in her own grave.
When she was 2 months old, Zhang Xin Lei was diagnosed with thalassemia -- an inherited condition that affects oxygen in the blood, the Mirror reports.
Patients require lifelong treatments that range from medications to blood transfusions. The condition can be expensive to manage.
After spending roughly $15,000, her father, Zhang Liyong, realized his family could no longer afford to pay for the child's medical costs. While family and friends had helped, they could no longer provide assistance.
Heartbroken, he resigned himself to accepting her fate: Death at a young age.
"I could only come up with this idea of bringing her to play at this place," he explained at the grave. "This is where she will rest in peace. All I can do is accompanying her every day."
The father sits in her grave, cuddling the little girl while her pregnant mother sits nearby.
"We have been driven into a corner," said Deng Min, the girl's mother. "There is no other option."
Some condemn the parents for how they're choosing to approach the situation.
"This is awful she's two she shouldn't even no she'll go in a grave why would she?" commented one person on the Daily Mirror's Facebook page. "He should be spending time with her cuddling being happy she won't no what death is I think it's sick. Why dwell on her death, they should be making the most of the days she has left so they all have happy memories, not spending her remaining days in such morbid fashion."
Many on social media were heartbroken at the family's dilemma and empathized with their plight.
"I think I can understand why," one person commented. "Death is something even adults can struggle to grip with. Maybe by laying with her there it will make her less afraid. Maybe it will also help him and his wife too. Maybe they will have those memories and feel that link, remember the feeling."
"People judge the dad and comment on how sick this is but they don't comment on how sick a country is that makes healthcare a privilege," chimed in another. "Thalassemia shouldn't be a death sentence in a progressive country."
"What happens to China's billionaires?" questioned another. "Not saying they should forcefully help them. But if one of the richest countries in the world can not afford to help them, then they must be the heartless country in The World."