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WHEN A HOME IS NOT A HOME from the Writing Collection of Jacinta Ramayah, Malaysia

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Jacinta Ramayah, Malaysia

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WHEN A HOME IS NOT A HOME

This was her home now and had been for the past three years. She was sent here, the year she turned eighty. She had no complaints, for the people who took care of her were kind and friendly.
She had a room to herself with a bed, a cupboard and a table for reading. Her window faced the main gate and she loved watching the visitors who would enter and leave every day. It was the festival season and she could see hundreds of cars stopping by. A few volunteers would usually come on weekends to keep her company. There was one with her now, Cindy, a girl of nineteen, who was eager to know about her past.
“Grandma,” she asked. “Where were you before this?”
Usually she would not speak of her past but Cindy reminded her so much of her grand-daughter and the girl looked so eager that she decided to tell Cindy her story.
“I used to work as a secretary,” she said slowly. “Then I married a businessman. He earned a five-figure salary. He was a kind man. Once I had my first son, he asked me to give up my job and stay home to care of my son. I didn’t mind. The money he gave me for housekeeping was ample. Then I had another son and last of all a daughter. We were a happy family. Their father saved enough for their education. During the holidays we would go sight-seeing or visit our parents. My children enjoyed being with their grandparents and cousins especially during the festivals. When they started studying overseas, my husband bought three houses for our children. We lived in eldest son’s house.”
She stopped for a while remembering the happy times she had.
“Where are your husband and children?” the girl queried.
The tears welled up in the old woman’s eyes.
“My husband died when he was fifty-five. We had planned to go on a cruise, just the two of us. Our children were working at that time. I paid up the mortgage for the three houses after his death. I kept some for myself to pay the bills and other daily expenses. Then both my sons got married. Each of them had two children and I would babysit my four grandchildren – two boys and two girls – when their parents were out at work. I loved taking care of them.” She smiled. “They must be about 16 to 19 years old now,” she continued.
Cindy was perplexed. “Why aren’t you with them?”
The old woman explained. “As I told you, I lived in eldest son’s house. There were four rooms. The children had a room each. Their parents took the master bedroom. I was given the room at the back. Now they have a maid. She needed a room for herself. The room was too small for both of us. Son number two had the same problem. My daughter married five years ago and is staying with her husband and his family. She sold the house her father bought for her to pay the down payment for her husband’s house.”
“Aren’t you lonely, grandmamma?’ Cindy asked quietly.
“I have my books, I read, I pray. In the evenings I watch television in the sitting room or play games with my friends. We don’t usually reminisce about the past because our stories are the same.” Then her eyes strayed towards the window. “What I love most is watching the people come to this home.”

WRITING A LETTER
Poems about feelings
CHEMO – BLOW BY BLOW

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Jacinta RamayahHello Iris. My mum is 90 years old now. I've been taking care of her from the time I started working, cooked her meals and supported her financially. I didn't ask help from my other six siblings because I was well enough to care for her. Even after my surgery (cancer) and during my chemo and radiotherapy my three children took turns taking care of her. Early this year I was told that I would have to go for a knee replacement surgery. Three months ago, my eldest brother agreed to take her into his home till I got better. She was bed-ridden for a few months this year when she was with me. My brother says that she's able to walk without help now.Malaysia12/6/2012 9:10:20 PM
iris brooksTouched my heart..my daughter is the head nurse at an assisted living/nursing home..so many are dropped off and forgotten about..It's so sad.. I lost my Momma a couple of years ago..(read "Momma" if you have time).. it's actually a song and was sung at her funeral.. Can not imagine having her just put in a home and forgotten.. She did everything for me..I may share your story at church.. tho me and my husband are struggling with environmental poisoning and he's on oxygen, we still go play music and sing at these homes when we can.. it means so much to know somebody cares..too often the elderly are forgotten about.. Love your story and hope the right people read it..usa12/6/2012 5:28:23 PM
Jacinta RamayahMarie, I wouldn't dare send my mother to a home.... So I found her a three-room house (near my place) with a small plot of land for her gardening. I walk over with her meals daily. She seems glad for the company.Malaysia4/24/2010 11:13:21 PM
Lee Emmettvery moving story, Jacinta ... congratulations!Australia4/24/2010 10:17:59 AM
marie smiththis made me cry, i have told my daughter who is my only living relative that if i get too ill she must put me in a home but i don't think she would the story you told was about unconditional love of a mother i wonder is it you who visits heruk4/23/2010 2:36:44 PM
Jacinta RamayahTo Dr Sudarsan and the rest - thank you. When writing this document I thought of my mum who is 88. She lost her home and all her savings last year. One day she collapsed and was warded due to depression. Could not take her into our home because she had too much stuff she had collected over the years. She is also independent and prefers to stay alone. Found her a house four doors away from mine. I am able to visit her every day. At least now I can keep an eye on her. Malaysia4/15/2010 4:24:00 PM
I felt I was the 19 year old and the children who had let her down. You made me think Jacinta. Thank you4/13/2010 9:44:53 AM
A blending of joy, hope and melancholy in this write-up,Jacinta. Thanks for bringing in the story of the aged among us, they who often are forgotten because we would rather highlight the glamour and achievements of the youth.But the aged in our midst have much wisdom to teach us. Thanks and congratulations. 4/11/2010 9:18:08 AM
drsudarsan prasadThe most precious thing that any one should crave for she has got at last . Some body to care and a place under the sun to call yours as your own ,A Lovely and moving story and a true winner. Congratulations , Jacinta for this double honor- every inch richly deserved !india4/11/2010 3:25:55 AM
Jacinta RamayahJJ, Khadera and Dowell, thank you. Heard a lot of horror stories of parents being abandoned. Malaysia4/6/2010 7:43:56 PM
Dowell ObaA sad and moving plight of an old woman in an abandoned home. Congratulations, Jacinta, on another fine win.Nigeria4/5/2010 4:05:26 AM
Khadera Nargis Jacinta Hearty Congratulatulations on such a grand victory May God gives you further strength in writing such valuable and sweet documents..Its so interesting as it made me lost so panic too.Even I have written sort of similar can have glance entitled 'Never Ignore'.India 4/5/2010 2:32:26 AM
JJCongrats!USA4/5/2010 2:07:59 AM
Jacinta RamayahThank you, Mary. it is cruel that children leave their parents in homes. They should be taking care of their parents. Malaysia2/26/2010 6:25:49 AM
Mary KariukiI love your story, it reminds me of a home i had volunteered to work, when i was 19 only in my case there was n elderly man who loved sharing his snacks with me as he told me stories of yester yearsKenya2/26/2010 5:17:22 AM
 
 
 

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