For the love of his mother

During one of my visits to an old folk's home recently, I met a rather interesting gentleman whose sacrifice really touched me. In a world where there is increasing neglect and respect for parents, this man stands out as an extraordinary person whose story I'd like to share.

John (not his real name), 57, now resides in an old folk's home in Penang. His father died when he was three, and he was brought up by his single mother under very difficult circumstances of extreme poverty. She had to slog day and night to support him and his six other siblings.

He still remembers how his mother used to work in people's homes, washing clothes, plates and dishes, and then come back to do the housework and cook meals for the children. Rain or shine, sick or otherwise, she had to work.

He loved his mother very much and admired her for all that she did for the family. He did whatever he could to relieve her burden. He told himself that he will never hurt her in anyway and that one day, he will pay her back for all her sacrifices.

When he was in his 20s, he fell in love with a girl from a different race and religion, and wanted to marry her. His mother, being a traditionalist, did not approve of their marriage despite all his pleas and justifications. Finally, knowing that his mother would be heart-broken and he did want to hurt her after all she had done for him, he decided not to get married yet, but wait until her mother approved or when she was not around anymore.

Years passed but his mother did not change her mind. She lived to a ripe old age of 94. By the time she died, he was already in his 50s and he himself inflicted with the complications of diabetes which led to both his legs being amputated.

He lost both his lower limbs when he was in his late 40s when his mother was still alive. As she herself was too old to look after him, she sent him to the old folk's home where he has been staying since.

When his mother was still alive, she would visit him often and when she became too old, she would persuade her other children to visit him. After her death some years back, his siblings stopped visiting him and now he is all alone in the home. The only visitors he has are the occasional kind-hearted people who sometimes bring food and spend some time listening to his story.

Talking to him, I realised that he doesn't bear any grudge against his late mother and his siblings for the state he is in now. He does not curse and swear that God has forsaken him. Instead, he seems to have accepted his fate and looks contented waiting to be reunited with his mother whom he loved so much, to the extent of sacrificing his love life in order not to hurt her. That was the gratitude he had for his late mother whom he treasures even till today.

He's still relatively young but he sits in an old folk's home, lonely and handicapped without both legs. Even his own siblings, who are doing well in life, have deserted him. Only people like you and I will be the ones hopefully will be generous enough to spare a little time with him to ease his loneliness.

The question is, will we make the time for him and others like him?

This is about a man who went to the extreme to show his love for his mother. He sacrificed the love of his life so she wouldn't be hurt, in gratitude for all she had done for him. It may appear rather stupid but in his eyes, it was the right thing to do and he has no regrets. It's an extraordinary sacrifice which most of us might find hard to understand.

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