Feature Stories

Feature Stories

Weaving Away Worries

a woman with white hair, weaving a long scarf at the bench in the park

Life is sometimes like intertwined threads, full of tugs and pulls. But holding a thread and slowly weaving at one's own pace, finding the focus amidst the chaos, and creating patterns, brings a sense of fulfillment to Grandma Yuk.

"Whenever I have any worries, I focus on weaving, and gradually, I let them go." Grandma Yuk, in her seventies, started attending the "Wonder Weaving Class" at the Family Hub Parents/Relatives Resource Centre of the Hong Kong PHAB Association over a year ago. From initially being reserved and keeping to herself, to becoming a teaching assistant and actively helping other students, her woven creations are delicate, neat, and infused with her personal touch. The staff at the center say that Grandma Yuk continuously surpasses herself, making her a "miracle" in her own right.

"Where should I start?" Grandma Yuk is a little shy, admitting that she is not good with words. When she talks about her transformation, she carefully chews on each word, as if organizing her thoughts. After a brief pause, she says, "Taking care of my grandson made me feel so defeated."

Grandma Yuk had immigrated to the UK many years ago and worked as a nurse. Due to her responsible and diligent nature, her employer continued to offer her contracts even after her retirement. Over a decade ago, at her daughter's request, she made the courageous decision to leave her job and return to Hong Kong to care for her grandson. Nine years have passed since then, and it was only in the past two years, for various reasons, that she stopped her role as caregiver. With newfound free time, she began to develop her own interests.

"I have been living in Tai Po for so many years, but I used to only know the direct route from home to the market. I didn't know about the interesting shops along the side streets." Grandma Yuk reveals that she missed out on many things. "In the past, when friends invited me to have a meal and chat, I would refuse, feeling that I couldn't leave my grandson alone to play. Afterward, my friends stopped inviting me." Only recently did she realize that she had become disconnected from society...

Looking back at those nine years, she lived with her daughter and her family. After her grandson went to school each day, she would go to the market to buy groceries and prepare two meals, being extra careful due to her grandson's food sensitivities. From 1 PM to 7 PM, she would supervise her grandson in completing his homework, sometimes feeling like a tug of war. "If I didn't know how to teach or if he made a mistake, I thought he had to complete all the homework, so I pushed him..."

When her grandson was in the second grade of kindergarten, he was diagnosed with "special learning needs" and had difficulties with concentration. "He needs constant repetition to learn something. Sometimes it takes him three months of reminders to go to bed on time before he can learn it. But my daughter says I have no patience..."

Although she mentions it casually, when talking about her relationship with her daughter, Grandma Yuk furrows her brows. "Sometimes, I envy others with close mother-daughter relationships. Is it because we were separated for too long?" Her feelings of frustration are not only limited to her role in guiding her grandson but also carry a sense of guilt towards her daughter, as if there is an unresolved knot in her heart.

Ms Fung, the staff at the Family Hub Parents/Relatives Resource Centre, says, "Yuk used to be troubled about how to teach her grandson, but I have never seen her shed a tear. She is incredibly strong. The first time she cried was because she missed her grandson." After relinquishing her role as a caregiver, she started to allow herself to cry.

To dare to express one's vulnerability, rather than suppressing oneself for the sake of others, is a first for Grandma Yuk. "I used to not know how to cry. It took a long time before I finally had a good cry. Now, when I feel sad, tears flow... " Having spent most of her life taking care of others, she realized that she never knew how to take care of herself.

"Whenever I have any worries, I focus on weaving, and gradually, I let them go." Grandma Yuk says again.

It is both letting go and reclaiming her own thread.

"Dear Myself" Self-care Promotion Campaign: http://phab.hk/dearmyself