Grounded on core values of respect, love, and service to the elderly, the Xinyue Senior Center in Chongqing, China, promotes social work services for senior citizens and builds a harmonious living environment for them.
Oral account by Mrs. Wang Xiangrong
Recorded by Tang Ying (Social Worker)
I was born in February 1924. My father was an office clerk and my mother was a housewife. After I graduated from middle school at age 15, I chose to work at Sichuan Agricultural University as an assistant. During this time I got to know Mr. Zhao, and as time went by, we fell in love with each other. My parents did not approve. They tried to break us up, and we finally lost contact due to job transfers.
Later, my parents arranged a marriage for me. I married a son from a landlord's family, and we raised 3 children. After the liberation, my husband died. I had to take care of the children on my own. I worked hard and tried to be a model for the children. I then married again and gave birth to another 2 children. In 1965, my second husband died due to illness. I had to take care of 5 children. They have all graduated from senior high school or university.
After I retired, I happened to receive a letter from Mr. Zhao. We began to reconnect with each other. According to his letters, his wife had died and he wanted to continue the love we had when we were young. One day, he came and visited me without informing me in advance. He wrote a poem to me, and I still clearly remember every word of the poem.
At that time our love became very real, in a practical and tangible way. I came to Beijing and we lived together for 8 years. Our love was supported by our children, and they cared for us very much. During those 8 years, we traveled a lot and left our footprints in many different countries. We took pictures to record every moment of happiness. Meanwhile, we were trying to make up for the time we had lost. Those 8 years were unforgettable.
Since his passing, I often remember the times we spent together, which brings me happiness and joy. They are eternal memories. Those warm moments will stay with me every day. They are a blessing to me, and I hope they will bring health and happiness to everyone else as well.
Original article translated by Maggie Li, edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
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