Text ◆ Leong Man Hock (gerontologist), “Ming Pao”
August 8th every year is a special day for my wife and me; on this day 42 years ago, we got married. Although I may forget it occasionally, after this year, I will never forget August 8th.
Because on this day, we bid farewell to our beloved mother. To be more precise, she is my wife’s mother, my maternal mother-in-law. But in my heart, she has never been an “outside”. She is my dear mother and the elder I respect most.
(Hong Kong News) On August 8, 1981, my mother-in-law flew back to Hong Kong from Canada to attend our wedding. One week after the wedding, she hurried back to Canada because she was worried about her newborn grandson in that country. She is the number one caregiver for her young grandson.
Dinghaishenzhen for the whole family
My mother-in-law has three children, the eldest is a daughter, the second is a son, and the youngest is my wife. The eldest daughter moved to Canada after graduating from the United States, where she settled down, got married and had children. Living in Canada, if both the couple have to go out to work, it is difficult for the children to stay at home to take care of them. After the eldest sister’s eldest daughter was born, she was sent to a day care home. However, the eldest sister told her that her daughter did not adapt to the life in the nursery. She kept crying when she came home at night, which made her exhausted.
Therefore, when the mother-in-law learned that her eldest daughter was about to give birth to her second child, she decided to help and flew to Canada alone without hesitation.
This group has been helping for 6 years.
Mother-in-law is so important and popular in my eldest sister’s family. She is the pillar, she is the sweetheart, she is the tree hole, she is the sun… She is also the most precious mother-in-law to her two grandchildren. No one is willing to let her go. . But in 1985, my wife was pregnant, and this news changed my mother-in-law’s fate.
My wife showed signs of bleeding when she was 10 weeks pregnant. The doctor advised: “If you want to save the fetus, you must rest as much as possible. It is best to stay in bed for a long time until the fetus is stable before moving.”
When the mother learned about her youngest daughter’s condition, she asked her eldest daughter to buy a ticket for her to return to Hong Kong without thinking too much. In less than two days, my mother-in-law arrived at my house. She immediately shouldered the heavy responsibility and took care of my wife and I’s daily life, regardless of the time difference or adaptability to the environment.
The mother-in-law is often called the “mother-in-law”, or the image of the mother-in-law is often acrimonious, demanding a lot from the son-in-law, like a tigress. When others talk about living in the same house with their grandma, others may look sympathetically, pat their shoulders to show encouragement, and say, “Brother, hold on!”
However, my mother-in-law moved in with us and stayed with us for 38 years. During these years, I can only be grateful because we are so blessed to be able to live with her. My mother-in-law is our anchor. With her, we feel at ease. She is optimistic, positive, and happy-go-lucky. She does not force, be nagging, or care about anything, and she takes care of us without any complaints. Especially in the hearts of her grandchildren, she will always be the best mother-in-law and the best grandma. Over the years, my mother-in-law has lived a healthy and happy life.
Cognitive impairment worsens
However, slowly, she changed from being the best caregiver to being the one being cared for. Starting at the age of 85, we discovered that her memory was declining. She either forgot this or that, and she seemed unable to answer daily conversations. I arranged for her to undergo a test, which confirmed that she had early-stage dementia. From then on, everyone was mentally prepared that my mother would be taken care of.
At the age of 90, she had surgery to remove a colon tumor. Although the cancer has not recurred, her dementia continues to worsen and she can no longer go out. She just wants to stay at home and sit in her “throne” in the living room for a long time watching TV all day long.
However, I get up every 10 to 15 minutes to go to the toilet. In addition, I also found that my mother-in-law had difficulty swallowing from time to time. “Mom, if you can’t swallow the food, do you want to put food in your throat and feed it into your stomach?” I asked her.
“Oh, please don’t! I don’t want to have my throat inserted! If you can’t eat it, you can’t eat it. I’m old and I’m not afraid of death.” She made it clear.
In order to reduce everyone’s caregiving pressure, we hired an extra domestic helper to take care of her full-time a year ago. In mid-June this year, I went to Japan to attend a gerontology conference. Unexpectedly, less than three days after arriving in Japan, I received a message from my sister, a foreign domestic helper, telling me: “Pohpoh not moving all day. Only sit. No go to toilet.”
Why did you even change your habit of going to the toilet frequently? Is there something wrong with your body?
I hurried back to Hong Kong and found that my mother-in-law was in good spirits and could answer questions. However, although his upper limbs can still move, his legs are completely weak and he cannot even stand. He needs help to change positions. So she just stayed in her chair all day, motionless. I was afraid that she would develop bedsores, so I ordered the domestic helpers to turn my mother-in-law around regularly or help her to lie down on the bed.
However, my instructions were not implemented. Just when I was about to criticize, the worker sister hurriedly explained: “Sir, Pohpoh won’t listen. She doesn’t like.”
At this time, the wife also came to say something, “My grandma is so resistant and refuses to cooperate no matter what. My grandma has no demands now. Her greatest enjoyment is sitting and watching the TV. In this case, why should we say ‘for her'” Well, let’s force her to do something painful!”
Madam is right.
When life is at its end, why not let her enjoy every moment and do what she likes!
Follow your wishes and not enter the hospital
Degradation does come quickly, though. Within 7 days, she developed a bedsore on her buttocks and was no longer willing to eat. She only ate very little at each meal. The wife was worried and asked her, “Does it hurt? What else do you want to eat?”
My mother-in-law made it clear every time that there was no pain or discomfort, but she did not want to go to the hospital and just wanted to stay at home. My wife also told me that she was very reluctant to let my mother go to the hospital, and wanted to stay with her all the time, so that she could finish her life in the environment where she felt most comfortable. Yes, we all know that mom may be gone soon.
The wife informed the eldest sister and second brother. The eldest sister decided to return to Hong Kong from Canada immediately, and the second brother’s family also visited frequently in batches. When the mother-in-law saw her precious grandson, although she was very weak, she still cheered up and sang half of the “Cow Watching Song” with her grandson. She used this song to coax her grandson to sleep and entertain herself, so she often sang it. Everyone knows her well and can always exchange a word or two with her.
The mother-in-law was in a good mood that day, but she told her grandson that she did not want to go to the hospital even if she died, and everyone promised to follow her wishes.
Children and grandchildren accompanied old friends as they bid farewell to the hospice party, filled with gratitude
In August, my mother-in-law’s health took a turn for the worse. Not only did she completely refuse to eat, she was also unable to sit on her “royal throne” and had to stay in bed for long periods of time, falling into a drowsy state.
I knew something was wrong, and I guessed that her death was not far away.
However, my eldest sister will not arrive in Hong Kong until August 7. I arranged for relatives and friends in Hong Kong to visit her, picked up her best old friends, and then held a small “farewell party” for her at home for three consecutive nights. “. Mother’s beloved and many of her cherished children came to say goodbye to her one by one. Everyone felt reluctant to leave, but not too sad, more grateful.
Peace accompanies sadness
After saying goodbye, my wife’s best friend sent a message: “I envy you for having such a kind, kind, hard-working mother-in-law. She will only give unconditionally, love you, and love us. She is simple, but shows wisdom; she Easy-going, but clear about good and evil; she has no chance to receive education, but she is the best example of “knowledge in worldly affairs, knowledge in human relations”. In fact, my mother-in-law’s life is very rich, and all the achievements of her children and grandchildren have Her dedication is actually her achievement. In her last days, you took care of her impeccably, so that her dignity was not compromised in the slightest. Top-notch professional care is not to mention, but what is more precious is out-and-out open-mindedness. Let Xianghe accompany you and be sad. Although I don’t have the status to thank you all, but I really want to say: thank you!”
We firmly believe that farewell before death is more direct than mourning after death. When a person is dying, one day is one day, and it is never easy to wait for two or three more days. My mother-in-law was already in a dying state on the evening of August 4, but she was just lethargic, not breathing or convulsing. She still had a weak response to her granddaughter’s shouts in her ears. When the little granddaughter told her: “Grandma, we all pity you so much. Auntie is coming back, you must wait for her!” Her grandmother should have known, because she was really waiting.
A peaceful and comfortable death process
On the evening of August 7, my mother had not eaten at all for five days. I finally picked up my eldest sister from the airport and took her home. The eldest sister held her hand and told her mother that she was back: “Mommy, we are all fine. You don’t have to worry about us.” Miraculously, the mother-in-law opened her eyes, nodded slightly, and said “oh” in her throat . Yes, she knew, and she felt at ease.
The next day, my wife’s second brother came to visit. It was a rare occasion for the three brothers and sisters to get together. They sat in front of their mother’s room and chatted all afternoon. They talked mostly about childhood memories, and my mother seemed to listen. Although her breathing was weak, she slept very peacefully.
It was not until 10:10 that night that the little granddaughter who was accompanying her first discovered that her mother-in-law had no heartbeat. My eldest daughter immediately agreed with her sister that her mother-in-law had stopped breathing. The two girls couldn’t bear to part with their mother-in-law.
My mother-in-law passed away very peacefully, slowly in her sleep, without any pain; the whole passing process was peaceful and comfortable. I always feel that “good death and good farewell” is the blessing of the deceased and the comfort of the living.
Since 2015, I have been actively engaged in the work of “peace at home”.
The purpose is to hope that more people will
I feel that I have no regrets, that everything goes as planned, and that I am respected.
Farewell to my mother-in-law at home this time, I experienced it personally and gained a lot of inspiration. Hope to help more people in need in the future.
Farewell, mother, thank you for having me. I really want to tell you: early that morning, your eldest granddaughter sent a photo; she said it was taken by chance when she looked out the window early in the morning. It’s a rainbow that spans our roof. The rainbow is very beautiful, like a bridge. Mother-in-law, are you already on the bridge?