Taking Care of My Mum
Written by: Cixin
My mum wakes daily at
8.15am. She has a habit of locking her room, for which I
need to unlock every morning. Any sudden noises from the
opening of the door or the turning of the door knob will
give her a fright and leave her very unhappy.
My mum sleeps late, at about 2am every night, sometimes
even staying up till 3 or 4am in the morning. Since our
bedroom is right next to hers, we can hear the sounds
from her room when she is awake at night. I try not to
wake her up early the next day so that she can have
sufficient sleep. However, every morning when she wakes,
her first words are complaints from her episodes of
discomfort last night, ‘I suffered whole night … aches
My mum is so weak and frail, simple tasks are demanding
to her. She had a fall 3 years back while making her way
to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Ever since
then, she sustained a fractured foot and has been
dependent on a commode.
In the mornings, I have always encouraged her to find
her own balance and pace in getting out of bed... I will
then assist her to the commode and make her bed. Following that, I will prepare a basin of warm water and
towel for her to wash her face. Getting the right
temperature is not easy since she is especially
particular about it and will be dissatisfied if the
temperature is not to her liking.
After which, I will get her a mug of water to rinse her
mouth… then a glass of warm water to drink. She likes to
drink hot water which she claims can help remove
feelings of bloatedness in her abdomen.
My mum’s favourite choice of breakfast is ‘man jian kueh’
(peanut pancake). Every morning, my husband will make
sure he prepares one for her. She takes milk too. I will
get ready many scoops of milk powder in her favourite
mug… mum will scold if the milk powder is too little. Poor mum, she has a lot of medicines to take... the milk
becomes tasteless after many refills with water, which
is the reason why she demands that many scoops of milk
powder. Mum is concern with the medical expenses which
poses as a financial burden. She often reminds us,
‘希望自己好，更希望别人好’ Mum never asked for more than a body
healthy enough for her to be independent and not be a
chore to the people around her. She wants us to have a
My brother is a taxi driver and takes care of her daily
lunch. I am fortunate to have him around; he is very
kind-hearted. Should he go for holidays, he will make
sure that I am coping well.
Mum has been a vegetarian for more than ten years, thus,
her choice of food is rather limited. An inappropriate
diet will upset her stomach or even causes her skin to
itch… We have to ensure that there is no fried food,
chili, ginger, pepper, or any food that is difficult to
chew in her diet. Nevertheless, we try to provide her
with a variety of choices… Sometimes we cannot be
certain if the meal we prepared is to her liking. When
that happens, we leave it to trial and error. It makes
me happy that she can take the food we prepared and
likes it. Since I cannot cook, my poor mum has to
make do with hawker food for all her meals.
My mum clears her bowels daily. If she can’t, she gets
angry and throws tantrums. My brother and I will take
turns to clear the waste in the commode. When I am not
around, mum will give a call to my brother every time
she empties her bowel. We have got her a phone with key
pads large enough for her to see easily.
I assist my mum in showering once a week. The process is
very tiring and sometimes she becomes breathless. I have
to watch her very closely.
Mum likes her hair short. I bring her to the hairdresser
every four months. We will walk hand in hand to the
salon because she dislikes being seen in a wheelchair.
Despite the salon being only a 5 minutes’ walk away from
our home, it takes us half an hour to reach because she
rests at many intervals to catch her breath. Nevertheless, I feel proud when we hold hands and she
certainly feels the same.
In the evening, I will get her a basin of warm water to
clean herself. I will then help her in washing her feet
and changing into clean clothing. My mum sleeps very
late and I will stay up to keep her company till 1 or 2
I am blessed to have the most beautiful mum in the
world! Mum, if I have made you angry or sad, I beg for
your forgiveness. May you be well and happy with both
wisdom and the blessings of the Triple Gems.
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