Caring for a loved one as she got older became a preparation of one’s own old age here, translated…
The year was 1949, I’d followed the service team that my husband belonged to to Taiwan, back then, my in-laws didn’t want to leave their homes behind, but they were convinced and persuaded by their wonderful son, fearing, that if the two of them elders stayed behind, they will be pressured by the Communists, and so, they’d come along with us too.
After China was taken, just as my husband had suspected, a lot of elderly people who’d stayed behind were kicked out of their own homes, and, they’d, starved to death.
Living in Taiwan for sixty years, at first, things went smoothly. After a long time, my father-in-law died before my mother-in-law, my mother-in-law had lost her partner for life, she felt lonely, and, became stressed out day and night, and quickly, she’d become, troubled with depression and bipolar. Since, my mother-in-law couldn’t even recognize her children and grandchildren anymore, and couldn’t take care of herself in daily living.
She’d tied up her sheets and quilts every single day with a rope, mumbled, “I’m headed home.”, it’d made us all feel bad, and, we had no idea how to help her out.
What’s most difficult was, back then, there were NO adult diapers to be bought, and so, I could only use those old sheets, and cut them up, and change my mother-in-law several times a day, and, if it was a rainy day, and, she ran out of clean cloth diapers, I’d had to add a pot of coal, to dry it up, and reuse. I’d done all of this, more than enough, until she’d passed away.
My mother-in-law had always been very strict toward her daughter-in-law, she had twelve children, whom she’d overseen the births of, after she’d wiped down her children, and wrapped them all up after they were born, she’d immediately returned to the fields to work again. She’d even said, “giving birth to me is like taking a difficult toilet break, I never even had the chance to stay in bed all day long, like you, to recover.”
And now, I am already ninety, and because I’d gotten my share of the hard times, caring for my aging in-laws, and so, a decade ago, I’d made the decisions to leave all of my kids, I didn’t want to trouble them at all. I’m really glad, that the place I chose for myself to live until I die is very peaceful and quiet, with the weather being nice. The thyme, osmanthus, and flowers I’d planted, allowed me to live in the nature long-term.
And because this woman had the previous displeasures of caring for her ailing, aging, demented mother-in-law, she’d decided, that she wasn’t going to impose on her own children, which was why she’d chosen to live up in the mountains, and, she’s healthy enough to live on her own too, so, that was, a blessing, perhaps, for caring for her demented mother-in-law for a very long time, who knows???