Abandoned by children, elderly mother longs to see them again
KATHMANDU, April 15: Whenever there was not enough food at home she would eat only after the children were done and if there was some leftover. During cold nights, she tried her best to keep the kids warm and did not mind if she was pushed beyond the mattress to the cold floor.
Kanchhi Thapa, 70, still has vivid memory of those series of struggles during a phase of her life when she was soaked in motherly love for her four children.
But now that they are grown up the same children who would feel heavenly pleasure in her warm lap and sometimes even fall sick if distanced, no longer need and want her. Their ways parted when the roles reverted, Thapa became physically weaker the children tougher.
“Nobody comes. Nobody comes to see me,” says the old lady in rather a very cold and straight forward tone. Not hard to feel her that she is just done with the infinite waiting for her family. “It´s fine. They need not come. I´m okay without them.”
One of the occupants for the last eight years in Aama Ghar, an old age home at Ravibhwan of Kalanki run by philanthropist Dilshova Shrestha, Thapa used to desperately miss her three sons and a daughter and shed tears for them as recently as two years ago. With her left leg and hand paralyzed due to diabetes a few years ago, the limping mother actually wished one of her sons took better take care of her.
“Until two years ago, she had tears in her eyes most of the time,” said Shrestha. “All her sons are living in Kathmandu for long but none ever come to see her. I can understand that she missed them a lot and such neglect can´t be easy for any mother to bear, especially when her health is gradually deteriorating.”
“One son lives in Gurjudhara, another works somewhere in Tripureshwar and the youngest resides in Bhaktapur and they were doing fairly well when I saw them last. My daughter is also here in Kathmandu,” said Thapa, who opened up to this scribe only after frequent visit to the place.
“I raised my children with great difficulty. My husband was an alcoholic. Besides our own, I used work in other´s field to make ends meet,” she reminisced.
Born in Batase gaun of Sundarijal to a Thapa family, she was married to a Tamang resident of Okhaldunga when she was just 18 and gave birth to all four before she was 26. “As the children were of similar age, I had many sleepless nights when they fell ill,” she said. “Now all of them are married and have children of their own. The last time I saw them was 8 years ago, before coming here,” Thapa added.
According to her, the boys began ignoring her after she had some health problems. “I was a burden for them when I became weak due to diabetes and my left leg and hand were paralyzed. But when I am not living with them would it cost them much to come here and see me once in a blue moon?” Thapa said as tears flowed uncontrollably. “But they never turn up.”
Shrestha says Thapa´s story similar to other elderly people living in her old age house. “Thapa´s case is not exceptional. In these 17 years, I have seen a number of mothers living with similar fate,” she remarked.
“The old people need nothing more than a little care and love. They do not eat much. They do not demand big things. Yet I don´t understand why today´s people have become so selfish. Why can´t they understand that life cycle is a wheel and their children are also going to treat them same way when they get old.”