Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tale Of 2 Grannies


The Star newspaper ran an article on Sunday about elderly citizens being abandoned by their children in government hospitals and old folks' homes
( and since then many people have put forth their opinions regarding this issue.

A parent wrote in to say that he didn't want to be a burden to his children since they have their own family to support. A man wrote in to tell his story of how he let his aged parents stay with him only for them to turn around and bad-mouth him and his wife. Another wrote to say that we should take care of our old and sickly parents no matter how difficult it is because without them we wouldn't be here.

Allow me to share a story about 2 grandmothers (not necessarily mine) who came from China a few decades ago with their husbands to begin a new life in a country known as Malaya...

The first grandma had 8 children. Her husband worked hard at various odd jobs while she stayed at home to care for her little ones. The naughty ones remember her holding the cane and disciplining them. Her husband worked his way up and soon owned a thriving business. He wanted all his children to have a good education, something that he didn't have, and most of them graduated from university.
When her husband passed away, she stayed with one of her many sons. Her children and grandchildren treated her like gold, and whatever she wanted she would get, although she never asked for anything except to have family gatherings on special festivals such as Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival. Every year her children would take her out for dinner on her birthday although she insisted that they shouldn't celebrate her birthday at all.
She fell ill and was wheelchair-bound towards the end of her life, but her children gave her the best medical attention possible. During the final few days, everyone in her family had come to visit and those who were overseas had called to speak with her.

The other grandma also had 8 children. It was difficult having so many mouths to feed and she had to give up one son for adoption, in hopes that he would have a better life.She was a strict but loving mother, and she worked hard alongside her husband in the government sector. Her children had primary and secondary education, grew up, secured jobs, got married and produced many grandchildren, some of whom she helped take care of while their parents were at work. She lived with one of her sons until she suffered a stroke in her 80's.

She was in hospital for about 3 months and her children came to visit regularly, a few even offered to let her stay with them when she got better. However, when it came time for her to be discharged only her eldest son and daughter-in-law took her into their home to care for her. To be fair, the others were working full-time and her daughter had hired a maid to take care of her mother's needs. To cut a long story short, the visits from her children became fewer and fewer and a few even refused to come at all, harbouring unforgiveness over incidents that had happened way back in the past. The funny thing is that when she was well, they had welcomed her into their homes and everyone was on good terms with each other.

Fast forward to the 1st day of Chinese New Year just a year or two before her passing...the old lady was in her eldest son's home surrounded by his wife and family, sitting in her wheelchair in her finest clothes, waiting for her other children to come and pay respects. The clocked ticked and hours passed by. The old lady had her lunch, then had her afternoon nap. No phone call, not a single visitor. It was soon time for dinner, then supper, still in her finest clothes, waiting and waiting...Don't her children know that what goes around comes around? That their own children might do the same to them one day when they are old and sickly...?

No comments: