When it comes to their kids, the love of their parents are most selfless. They never thought of getting into the way of their kids lives. In their hearts, they always wanted the best for their kids even though they are lonely, they suffer and their heart pine for their grown kids and the grandchildren. And no matter how old their kid has grown, in their hearts their kid will always be their baby.
They work hard to be able to send their kids to study overseas. Some of them choose to settle overseas after landing in a good job and later getting PR or citizenship.
I don’t think any parents would complaint or protest when their adult children tell them they wish to migrate.
But here I thought I wanted to offer the perspective of how the parents would be feeling coz they will never tell their children what they feel because they don’t wanna burden their kids.
What is burden? When their kids were first born, they probably did not sleep well for few years to change nappies and feed the kids. It is even harder if money was tight. They never felt that their kids were a burden then. Ah anyway…
There are a few old folks in my neighborhood who stayed by themselves because their grown kids have migrated overseas. And often, seldom come back.
There was this old lady who stayed in a house not far from mine. Initially when I wad younger, it was herself and her husband. They used to sit by the swing quietly in the evenings when it was not so hot.
Then the old man passed away leaving the lady all alone by herself. For more than 10 years she stayed alone in the house. While she was still able, she would clean and keep the house quite clean. She would ensure the weeds got trimmed frequently by getting the grass cutters to trim.
In the span of 20 years or more I think I only saw someone visiting her once. I was told she had 2 sons who migrated overseas. And she did not follow because she did not wanted to trouble them. Also because she could not stand the freezing winter- it was painful on her arthritic body.
But with the passage of time, she got weaker and weaker. Her steps become slower and the house, more unkempt. Paints were peeling off. Often the weeds would go too long before a gras cutter was called in to trim. She became too weak to cook and would walk daily to the restaurants to pack for her meals. Even when she was going out, she walked so unsteadily. Essentially, she was just not fit to be staying by herself. She already required care but sadly she was still on her own.
That period I was working and had lots of things on my plate. But sometimes when I see her I would greet her and then she would try to chat with me. She was so lonely. She tried to conserve energy and the house was always dark.
About 5 years ago she passed away. She was must passed away all alone in that dark old house that a long time ago was complete with her family. After her death, the house were rented to foreign workers who treated the house like a sty. Weeds were growing up to waist level. It was so sad.
You may think if both old man and old lady are still alive, then it is okay. They can look after each other. But it is really not so easy.
Second example…there is another old couple in my neighborhood who I also heard that their child have migrated and started a family. Both of them are on their own. Each morning and evening they would walk out for meals. Sometimes they would go out..heading towards the bus stop.
After I left my job and become a caregiver, I often bumped into them while I went out to run errands or take my mom to the park. All I could see is loneliness in their eyes. I never saw them smile. And I could see their steps are wobbly and especially the old man was getting weaker.
During Chinese New Year, I don’t recall seeing anyone visited their home. What I can say is that it is not easy for two elderly weak persons to stay by themselves. Even in my case, if it is only me who is taking care of my mom, I will not be able to manage. When my mom had a fall before, I could not lift her up on my own. Both the elderly parents would need to worry when they need to get to doctors appointment.
Sometimes I wonder if they get enough money to use. If their kids do send them enough money. Coz I would see them walking to take public transport instead of Grab. The house is always dark and there is no internet or cable television (no Astro decorder).
Third example….there is another lady who always went everywhere with her husband. They are like a newly married couple. Quite sweet. So it was not an issue initially when their kids all went overseas to look for job. But then, the husband passed away unexpectedly leaving the lady all alone by herself.
I bumped into her recently… In an acupuncture clinic while bringing my mom there for treatment. She went for treatment because she was not well. All I could see is the acute loneliness in her eyes. She kept telling me my mom is lucky to have me to give up the job for her. But my mom is having Alzeimher and quite unwell.
From the conversations I could tell she is really feeling sad and lonely. No doubt, her kids do invite her over but often it is to help look after a newborn or something like that. And she had to travel there alone and exit within 30 days.
She was getting more tired of travelling, and honestly, if the kids only pester the parents to come and be an unpaid nanny, housekeeper or cook, it would make any parents felt used or unappreciated. Especially when you only ask them to come and look after your kids but never invite them for your Europe or Disneyland holidays.
What I wanted to say is in this world, I don’t think there would be any love as selfless as the love of a parents towards his/her child. When they raise us, they may not be the best parents in the world but most of them did the best they could.
Now that their old and weak, it is kinda sad to just cast them aside and forget all about them. While their kids are living a good life and choosing to skip on yearly visits, their parents are pining and missing them and yet would never say out because they would want to get their kids worried or inconvenience them.
Next time when their parents are no longer around, and when they themselves get old and abandoned, then they would think back of their childhood days and long for the warmth of their parents. By the time…it is already too late…