Two brothers in China went through an intense ordeal in late April to help transport their sick mother home because she suffers from severe motion sickness, making motorised vehicles an unfeasible transport option.
Liu Bo and Liu Guang transported their 86-year-old mother on foot by pulling a handheld steel cart for 36km over seven hours to reach her home in a neighbouring city in Shandong province in eastern China.
The mother, Xu Guizhi, had been in hospital for surgery to treat an unknown illness and had been discharged to continue recovering at home. But her motion sickness is so extreme that it could cause a lot of pain to drive her home.
“My mother will vomit after less than 30 minutes in a car or even an electric tricycle,” Liu Guang, the elder brother, said. “She can only ride a rickshaw without feeling sick, but it does not have enough room for her to lie down.”
According to the elder brother, she vomited blood from severe motion sickness when they took her to hospital.
The two brothers had spent days discussing ways to get their mother home without causing her pain.
“We then considered hand-pull farm carts, and I spent an entire day looking for one at a local steel market but we could not find any,” Liu Guang explained. “I was prepared to buy wheels so we could build one ourselves.”
Eventually, the Liu brothers discovered a cart lying idle in their uncle’s yard when visiting their hometown. The brothers quickly retrofitted the cart to make it more comfortable for their mother.
“We were concerned that the surface might be slippery, so we padded it with a layer of sponge. We also put a layer of rain cloth on the top in case it rained,” the older Liu explained. “We also prepared a large curtain to block the sun.”
After making all of the preparations, the two brothers’ journey to bring their mother home began, and friends and family members flocked to lend a hand after hearing the news.
“We divided people into pairs, and each pair pulled two to three kilometres at a time,” Liu Guang explained.
He frequently stopped to check on his mother throughout the journey, who usually responded by asking him to rest.
“Do not worry about me; I’m not tired,” he assured his mother.
The planned 10-hour trip was completed in seven hours, thanks to the help from others.
“It’s the right thing to do to look after our parents when they’re old because that is how they raised us,” said the older Liu.
He said that his simple expectation of happiness in life is to have his parents continue to live for the foreseeable future.
“I love that they still respond when I call ‘mum’ or ‘dad’. I can still wash my mother’s feet and my father’s head when they need me,” he said.
“Something as simple as sitting next to them makes me happy.”
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.