There is an old saying that goes, “There is no filial son before the long hospital bed.” It means that when parents have been sick for quite some time, the children will eventually have to tend to their own needs and leave temporarily. More often than not, taking care of sick parents affect their children’s career and life.
Ji Maotian had a different interpretation of “filial piety.” He had proven this for several years through his determination to care for his parents, and his actions show that there are exceptions to every belief.
He travels 30 kilometers daily to his parents’ house and tends to them. His mother has become ill and later became paralyzed. Rain or shine for the past few years, he has not faltered to do so.
“As long as my parents are alive for another day, I will be filial in front of the bed for a day, no matter how the saying goes,” Ji Maotian said. “I will take good care of my mother in her later years and be worthy of their nurturing grace and my conscience!”
Ji Maotian and his older sister live in a small mountain village. Their father leaves in the morning for work while their mother takes care of them at home. Although their way of living is just average, the family of four live happily, and they are satisfied.
One day, the older sister came of age and married her fiance, Suichang. They lived in a house far away from their parents. Ji Maotian also found love while he was finding a job in Longquan.
After marriage, the young couple stayed and worked in the local area, living a simple and sweet married life.
Though suddenly, news of an accident shattered the peaceful and happy life of Ji Maotian’s family.
In 2016, while working in the farmlands, Ji Maotian’s mother, Yang Xianglian, fell while she walked home. She called for help, but to no avail. After a few minutes, villagers who passed by helped and brought her to the hospital.
Upon hearing the news, Ji Maotian and his wife immediately rushed to the hospital. Seeing his mother unconscious on the hospital bed, Ji Maotian cried.
After a series of tests done by doctors, it was discovered that Ji Maotian’s mother suddenly fell because of a stroke. At the time, Yang Xianglian was 74 years old, and Ji Maotian was 40 years old.
Ji Maotian often advised his mother to minimize working on the farmlands due to her high blood pressure, which was prone to accidents. Her age could be a hindrance to her work, too. Although, Yang Xianglian still insists that she is in good health. She may have high blood pressure, but she assumes that she is still capable of doing farm work. Accidents can happen if they will, though Ji Maotian is just too nervous.
When she felt better, Yang Xianglian resumed her work at the farmlands, setting aside all advises her son gave her. This time, Ji Maotian was right. One day, she fell again while at work.
Ji Maotian thought that this was his time to take care of his mother since he was grateful that she raised him the best way she could. While she was still confined at the hospital, Ji Maotian’s wife and his sister took turns delivering meals, while he never left the hospital room. For several days and nights, he kept “an eye open” to monitor his mother’s progress.
When Yang Xianglian gained consciousness, she has surpassed the dangerous period. Ji Maotian’s family sighed with relief.
However, due to the condition left by the ischemic stroke, a cerebral infarction occurs resulting to disrupted blood flow to the brain due to problems with the blood vessels that supply it. Yang Xianglian’s left part of her body was completely paralyzed. She stayed in bed and could not speak. The paralysis also brought incontinence that she was unaware that she urinated on the bed.
After Yang Xianglian was discharged from the hospital, her husband stayed home and accompanied her 24 hours a day, and took care of her meals.
Still, Ji Maotian’s family felt restless. His mother is paralyzed and bedridden, and his father has lung disease and a weak heart. He was having difficulty cooking her meals. Ji Maotian decided to help since it was only the elderly couple who were left at home.
His sister lives in far away with her husband, Suichang, and it was not ideal to let her travel daily to her parents’ house.
At this point in their lives, parents can’t be left alone at home. What can their children do?
After weighing his options, Ji Maotian secretly decided to quit his job in Longquan City and stay in Longzhen.
His parents will have all the help they need with Ji Maotian, and he can find a job in a nearby town.
After resigning from his job, he was lucky to immediately land a job in Longzhen.
“I travel more than 30 kilometers every day going back and forth between my parents and the company.” Ji Maotian said.
To balance the time between his parents and the company, Ji Maotian wakes up at 6:00 in the morning, and cooks breakfast, changes the diapers of his mother, then takes his mother outside to bask in the sun for a few minutes. While enjoying the morning sun, Ji Maotian takes this time to feed his mother breakfast. She then returns to her room afterward.
When his parents have already settled down, Ji Maotian hurriedly eats his breakfast and goes to work. At 11:00, he hurries back to his parents’ house riding his motorcycle, and cooks lunch for them. He brings his mother’s lunch into the room and carefully feeds her. Ji Maotian hurries back to work after his parents had eaten.
In the evening, when he gets off work, Ji Maotian hurries back again to his parents’ house and makes dinner for them.
Every day, after sunbathing in the morning and taking a bath, Yang Xianglian spends her days lying in bed. Hence, she is often constipated. Ji Maotian was required to wear disposable gloves to help his mother defecate, then he brings hot water to bathe her and then changes her diaper.
Yang Xianglian has poor breathing, and her condition is unstable. Every once in a while, she needs to cough out phlegm and drink her medicines on time. If one of these has been missed, a problem arises. To monitor his mother’s condition, Ji Maotian stayed by her side every night, takes a nap, but gets up almost every hour.
Additionally, he has to check on his father’s condition every now and then. If his father is asleep, he checks up on him carefully so as not to wake him.
Ji Maotian has been a good son and took good care of his parents, but he had to deal with his own affairs, too. By this time, Ji Maotian was already exhausted.
After everything he has gone through, Ji Maotian still never thought about giving up. Though he is strong and determined, he cries in secret. He often wonders: “Why didn’t I create better conditions for my parents? As a son, what else can I do for them?”
Observing from the sides, his wife decided to step in and help. Ever since her mother-in-law, Yang Xianglian, got paralyzed, she noticed that her husband was busy balancing his time between his parents and work. She felt the pain in her heart.
“My husband’s mother is my mother, too, and I can’t just sit back and watch,” she said.
So, his wife also joined Ji Maotian in caring for his parents and helped ease the burden of having too many responsibilities.
When Ji Maotian was at work, his wife would take over taking care of his parents. She would make nutritious meals for them but in a different way. It is the common wish of a married couple to make their parents feel more comfortable.
Under the watchful care of Ji Maotian and his wife, Yang Xianglian’s condition gradually stabilized, and his father was feeling better.
Every time Ji Maotian remembers the day when his mother came home from the hospital, he finally sighs with relief: “During that half a year, I had serious lack of sleep, so that I still have the sequelae of light sleep. But now I’m used to it. I just want my parents to have a hot meal every time.”
Even without the experience, we could only imagine how difficult it was for Ji Maotian to endure busy days and sleepless nights for so many years.
Ji Maotian stays beside his parents’ bed every night and goes to work during the day. He travels back and forth 30 kilometers to cook meals for his parents. One can only imagine how difficult it is for Ji Maotian to pursue such responsibilities for several years.
For Ji Maotian, it is not even enough…
Seeing her son so busy with work and taking care of his parents every day, Yang Xianglian knew he had little time for his family. She assumed that she was getting so old that she has become a burden to her son. Oftentimes, Yang Xianglian admits, the thought of ending everything crossed her mind.
Every time Yang Xianglian wants to do something that was forbidden, she would do something unpleasant. She will not eat well, refuse to take medicine on time, and will not make a sound when she is not feeling well. Ji Maotian looks after her mother every day. How can these “little tricks” escape his eyes?
Ji Maotian always knew in his heart that his mother loves him, and she used to be very strong before being paralyzed. She thought, “Now I can’t take care of myself as I lie in bed. My self-esteem has been hit, and I feel like I’m hurting myself and my son.”
There were times when Ji Maotian almost knew what his mother was thinking at the moment. This was his mother. How could she just give up after being so strong for decades!
Ji Maotian took the time to accompany his mother and talk about wonderful past events. He even revealed to her his plans, so she could completely forget about the unpleasant thought of suicide and stop worrying.
The following days turned out to be happier days with his parents, and he was more eager to take good care of them. Not only does he constantly travel 30 kilometers every day to cook hot meals for his parents, but he also never forgets to guarantee a clean environment for them.
Based on his belief that “If the environment is clean, the mood will become better,” the life of his parents would be more favorable. Every fortnight, he would wash their bed sheets and clean the room where his parents sleep. The house would appear harmonious.
After, when you go into the room where his parents sleep, it will no longer smell of patients who have stayed in bed for a long time.
However, the inevitable happened. Ji Maotian has been so busy taking good care of his parents and going to work that he has neglected his married life. He blamed himself for the matter. He said, “Since my mother got sick, I haven’t slept fully. I also neglected my wife’s feelings. I feel very guilty.”
Indeed. Since his mother became paralyzed in 2016, Ji Maotian has been busy juggling his time between work and taking care of his parents, and he has neglected his wife. At this point, they still have no children.
Although Ji Maotian didn’t have much time for his wife, he never heard her complain. She assisted him in taking care of his parents. Not only does she help in delivering meats and vegetables, but she also helps in managing the family affairs in an orderly manner.
Ji Maotian often said: “I am very lucky to have such a wife. I am very moved by what my wife has done for me.”
One day, Ji Maotian’s wife received news that her mother has suffered from breast cancer and needed caring, too. His wife had to go back to her parents’ house to help. Just when they were already very busy taking good care of Ji Maotian’s parents, she further received the news about her own mother. Ji Maitian and his wife had to be separated.
Many relatives and friends persuaded Ji Maotian to give up his marriage if he will take good care of his parents full-time. Many of them also said that he was unwise enough for neglecting his marriage just to take care of his mother.
Ji Maotian said: “I never thought about giving up, and I never felt how much attention I gave to my mother. Everything that I am doing now is just what I should do as a son. It is my responsibility. No matter what, the kindness of your parents is incomparable. As long as your parents are alive for one more day, you must be filial for one day.”
Today, Ji Maotian is still looking after his parents. After several years, with the help of her son, Yang Xianglian’s health gradually improved. She raised and took good care of her son while he was growing up. It was time that he returned the favor as a “filial son.” For this, neighbors praised Ji Maotian.
Learning of these compliments, Ji Maotian said, “I only hope to take good care of my parents in their later years, to be worthy of my parents’ nurturing grace, and to be worthy of my own conscience.”
Family and friends hope that Ji Maotian’s parents feel better and their conditions are stable. May they no longer suffer from any pain and live the rest of their lives in peace.
In Ji Maotian, the famous saying, “There is no filial son before the long hospital bed,” does not apply to him. Instead, he chose to take good care of his parents with all the time he has available.
How many people nowadays would quit their job to take care of their parents? How many people would travel 30 kilometers back and forth just to give their parents a hot meal every time? People who are aware that their mother is paralyzed for life and needed to be cared for, do the tiring job without any complaints, how many people would sacrifice for their parents day after day for several years?
Ji Maotian did it! Without asking for anything in return, he has set a perfect example of being a “filial piety son.” His virtues deserve compliments a hundredfold.