An old man takes care of three mentally ill family members, a 70-year-old nuclear researcher’s sad late years
Gazing down from my balcony, I can always see this seventy-plus year-old man [pictured above], carrying pots and bowls in a plastic bag, walking alone in the afternoon sun. I heard that this old man is delivering food to his daughter who suffers from schizophrenia. I started to pay attention, and noticed that every day, no matter what season or how terrible the weather, he never failed to come. Not long after, I heard that this white haired man’s surname was Wei, and in Huangdao [in Qingdao], he is considered famous, one reason being that he was one of the early researchers of the atomic bomb, the other reason being that his family is riddled with tragedy. A family of four, his wife suffers from schizophrenia; his two children, one is schizophrenic, the other congenital mental retardation, [the children] both nearly forty years old, without jobs, without families of their own.
His wife and two children are all unhealthy, with many people all saying it is due to nuclear radiation. Nobody’s tried to prove these claims, the old man himself keeps his silence. His days are like a flowing stream or a wispy breeze, quiet and unnoticed.
The retarded son [pictured below], I am quite familiar with. He used to sell cassette tapes along the street corner. But he doesn’t know how to greet customers and his head was always lowered. After a while, all his cassettes were lost. Sometimes, local thugs would pick on him and beat him up. Perhaps it’s because of his condition, but he never seemed to mind and aways smiles when he sees people. The daughter, I heard she has trouble sleeping at night, and has severe obsessive compulsive disorder. Her living space is very dirty and full of dust. But it can’t be cleaned because moving items will agitate her. A few times I saw the old man taking her to the hospital. She was so thin, only around 70 lbs, and was in a daze, the sight was truly pitiful! It’s easy for mental patients to be tired of the world. Two years ago, both the wife and daughter tried to commit suicide. One took sleeping pills, and wasn’t found until 20 hours later. The other slit her wrist, and dyed the floor red with her blood! Thankfully both were saved. But after ground-shaking events like that, there seemed to be no aftershocks. The old man was still quiet, wise, walking down the same road day after day, taking care of his unfortunate family.
The burden of taking care of this family falls entirely on the small old man, it’s truly remarkable. Everyday, I see the old man bringing home groceries. Sometimes, he would take a walk with his wife, hand in hand. He ignores the perspiration on his own forehead, but takes care to wipe it away for his wife. Obviously, he’s very caring towards his family. Honestly, someone his age giving long term care to 3 patients, no one could take it. I have no idea how the old man’s own health is, I just see him persevering through the seasons. The neighbors see this and sigh: when he collapses from exhaustion, how will his family survive!?
A while ago, I went to his home as a student volunteer. His place is very small and narrow. It was unimaginably run down. An old computer and a broken swirl chair were basically everything he owned. Books and medicine dominated the undecorated bedroom that was 50 to 60 square meters. The entire morning, the old man bustled about, giving his wife a massage as he chatted with us. We felt the benevolence and amicability of an old man. He’s very knowledgeable and optimistic, and laughs as though he doesn’t know what worry is!
Afterwards, we found out that the old man’s name was Wei Shijie, had worked on nuclear research for 26 years, and personally participated in research and experiments for our country’s first atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons! He is also a known author, having written more than ten books. No wonder there were many awards and trophies on his walls and bookcase. It’s clear that he made many contributions to our country: “Department of Nuclear Industry Honor Medal”, “Outstanding Science and Technology Employee”, “Qingdao Outstanding Communist Party Member”
Frankly, I don’t know how much longer this old man can keep going. But, we grow old, time doesn’t stop, watching the old man getting weaker everyday, I don’t dare to go down that line of thought…
This year’s Senior Day is fast approaching, I think, we can’t let this old man who’s contributed to our great country continue to suffer. Hope our society will take care of this old man, and all seniors that need to be cared for!
Comments from Tianya:
I can guess the content of the replies below. But, how is this any of my business?
Believe in the party!
Believe in the government, believe in the party.
Poor old man.
I’m just looking..no comment.
I’ve heard about one too. Both parents are nuclear researchers. Two sons both with cerebral palsy. They lock the children at home when they go to work.
A country’s elite turned so dreary, my heart is cold!