The story of one 84-year-old man from Linyi city in Shandong province, who has patiently waited on his paralyzed wife for the last 56 years, has melted hearts all over the Chinese web.
Du Yuanfa and his wife Zhou Yuai tied the knot in November, 1958.
While working at a coal mine in Tai’an city, Du received a letter from his family one day that said his wife was sick in bed. He immediately asked for leave and rushed back to his hometown to see her.
His wife was very sick and soon became paralyzed. This all happened just five months after marriage, according to Du.
“Her back was too rigid to move around and her hands too stiff to grasp anything,” Du remembers. “Also, she needed to be fed and taken to use the bathroom.”
Du put his sick wife into a wheelbarrow and pushed her around to several different hospitals in the area for an accurate diagnosis. At each clinic, doctors told him that she would be confined to her bed for the rest of her life and unable to have children.
While many of his friends and family tried to persuade him to divorce her, Du told his wife that he would always be there to take care of her, he even quit his job in Tai’an so that he wouldn’t have to leave her alone.
Some doctors told Du that Chinese herbal medicine would cure his wife’s serious illness. He often climbs up to the hills and picks herbs. Du then feeds the medicine to his wife, after first tasting it himself to make sure that it’s not poisonous.
During the summer, Du helps to wash his wife every day to keep her cool. In the winter, he carries her out to get some sunshine and fresh air. He’s been doing all this for the last 56 years.
Du’s unconditional love for his wife has tugged on the heartstrings of many local residents, who often come over to lend a hand in buying medicine or groceries for the family. The local government also helps the couple out, making sure that they don’t have to worry about food or clothing.
Thousands of web users took to online forums to express their respect for the elderly husband.
A Beijing netizen @水镜门生 wrote, “I’m deeply touched and at a loss for words. I am moved by this man’s morality, responsibility and his love for his wife.”
“I’m really moved! I wish them happiness,” remarked @夏天吹过的清風
User @Mekua commented, “I give him a big thumbs up. That’s the power of love.”
Last December, a 79-year-old husband from Zhuozhou, Hebei province, similarly impressed netizens after they learned that the man had fed his wife mouth-to-mouth during every meal for the past 11 years, following her stroke in 2003. She has managed to far outlive doctors’ expectations, thanks in part to her husband’s care.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via iqilu.com]