Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't Abandon Your Parents

Last week, I went for dinner with my friend P. As we headed back to the car after we were done, we saw this elderly woman, carrying a couple of bags of what seems to be junk or other stuff that she had collected. At first glance, you could tell that she was homeless. She wore dirty tattered clothes and her white hair was a mess. Her face appeared unwashed and stricken, while she muttered incoherently to herself. As we passed by, we could make out few words and presumed that she was talking to herself about her daughter.

P commented that she must have done something to be abandoned by her children. I just nodded in agreement, but at that point, I felt a sinking sorrow from within. I find it so despairing when I see old folks left to wander homeless by their family or totally abandoned by their children in old folk's homes. During my teenage years, I've had the chance to do some short charity work organized by the Interact club in school. For that event, we visited an old folk's home for a whole day. When every one of us filled the rooms to greet them, tend to them, accompany and talk with them, you can literally see the glow in their eyes. Of course, they were excited of this pleasant change in their daily mundane activities, but most importantly, they needed the company.

Sometimes, when they were faced with questions like,"Does your children come see you?", the life suddenly drains out of their eyes for a moment, sometimes making them stare afar briefly while momentarily engulfed in thought. Sometimes they would simply answer that their children were busy, while others just smiled to avoid answering it. My heart would drop when I see this happen, when a glimpse of their hidden sorrow suddenly permeates into my being through their eyes. Like it or not, whatever your reasons might be, your parents will never choose to be put in an old folk's or nursing home to live out the rest of their lives.

Unless you really have no choice due to certain medical reasons that requires special attention for them most of the time, you should visit them almost daily just to let them know that they're not forgotten. For those have the capacity to literally abandon your parents to live homeless in the streets, I have nothing to say except you will get what you deserve later on in this life, or the next.

My heart goes out to them because I always put myself in their shoes, and it's truly painful when I do. They gave you a life, gave you support and brought you up to where you are today, although not perfectly, but they did it somehow nonetheless. How lonely, painful and heart-broken they must feel when after all they've done, their children ignores them, treats them like a hindrance and ultimately abandons them to live the rest of their old age alone. It just breaks my heart. You can imagine how much I struggled to restrain myself from crying buckets in the cinema when I watched Money No Enough 2.

Sometimes there might be a lot of grievances, anguish, incongruousness and disputes between you and your parents, but ultimately, they are still your parents. While you may still have grudges, or have even come to despise them, they are still your parents. They are human after all, and capable of making mistakes along the way, whether they realize it or not. Even if you don't love them anymore, you still have the unspoken filial responsibility to at least ensure that they don't live in miserably in destitution, homelessness and total abandonment in their old age.

What I just pointed out was the worst case if the parents and children are not getting along. But what if they do and still choose to abandon their parents to nursing homes or to the streets? As I've said earlier, you WILL get your 'just reward' sooner or later.

Please DON'T abandon your parents, they gave you all the love they could give. Don't spit it back to their faces.

PS: Yes, I would've literally bawled my eyes out if I watched Money No Enough 2 alone at home. I definitely recommend it, not for the loud and funny stuff, but for the heart-wrenching 2nd half of the movie.

PPS: Have a box of tissues nearby while watching!


Anonymous said...

You know, this post of yours sounds as if it's written by me. Hahaha!!! Because my blog will usually publish such inspiring and sentimental post.

Anyway, I totally agree with you that unless our parents need medical attention that we cannot provide, we should never abandon them in those places.

The children should ask themselves if they like to live alone far away from their family members when they're old.

Mark said...

Well, that post was inspired by the homeless lady we encountered. Eh, I also try to be inspiring and sentimental lah =P

Anyways, no matter what, home is always better...because that's where the heart is.

Anthony Cirillo said...

I noticed your blog and was interested in seeing if you would like to link to mine and vice versa as we both write about aging issues. .

My blog:

In short I am a health care expert that fell into a mission for seniors. That manifests in many ways but at the end of the day my goal is two fold – assure respect and dignity of our elders and advocate for people to learn about and make decisions about aging issues earlier in life.

Look forward to your reply.