China's model citizen: 94-year-old takes care of paralysed daughter-in-law

Madam Sun Yincong (left) washing the face of her daughter-in-law Ren Caimei in Taian village, Shanxi province.
Madam Sun Yincong (left) washing the face of her daughter-in-law Ren Caimei in Taian village, Shanxi province.PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Here's a story that should warm your heart. A woman in her 90s has been taking care not of her husband or children but her daughter-in-law for more than two decades.

Madam Sun Yincong, 94, has been named one of the moral citizens in North China's Shanxi province of the first half of 2016, as she has been caring for her partially paralysed daughter-in-law for nearly 27 years, local newspaper Sanjin City News reported on Tuesday (Nov 29).

Madam Sun from Taian village in Shanxi has been called the most respected person in the village by locals, who volunteer to celebrate the old woman's birthday on the eighth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

"Sun has spent 27 years taking care of her paralysed daughter-in-law, and has never left her side. It's common to see daughters-in-laws looking after mothers-in-law, but Sun's case is just the opposite," said a villager, who refused to disclose his or her name.

In November, 1989, Madam Sun's husband died of illness, while their son died from gas poisoning just 10 days after the father's death.

Ms Ren Caimei, Sun's daughter-in-law, was so shocked by the tragedies that she got hemiplegia (partial paralysis) due to a cerebral haemorrhage six months later.

Madam Sun decided to take care of Ms Ren wholeheartedly then and there.

"My grandma never leaves my mother aside for a moment and looks after her. Once my mother got such a severe cerebral haemorrhage that doctors were ready to give up. And our relatives and friends also asked my grandma to give up the treatment. However, my grandma insisted on taking my mother to other doctors. Thanks to my kind grandma, my mother is still alive," said Mr Gao Weidong, the eldest grandson of Madam Sun.

As the two women grew older, Madam Sun could no longer carry her daughter-in-law. She needed help from Ms Gao Hongyu, Ms Ren's daughter, to put clothes on her mother and shift the patient between the bed and the wheelchair. Ms Gao lives in the same village.

Ms Gao said: "Each morning, grandma helps wash mother's face and comb her hair. Grandma usually takes my mother to enjoy the sunshine when it's sunny. And grandma is used to preparing meals after asking my mother's opinions with gestures. When my mother draws a circle with hands, my grandmother will serve her baked pancake, and when my mother draws a long strip with hands, my grandmother will prepare noodles for her."

Living next to Ms Ren's room, Madam Sun said: "Thanks to our family's efforts, our lives are better nowadays. No matter what happens, our family will keep on living full life."

"Great personality is embodied in everyday life. Sun is also very kind to other villagers. What she did teaches her family members, neighbors and other villagers," said Mr Zhang Chaoping, head of Taian village.