There was a family of a man, his wife, three children and an old woman. They moved to a new neighbourhood and the family next door consisted of a both-working couple and their two little girls. Knowing that the two little girls were sent to day-care while their parents were at work, the old woman approached their mother.
She offered to babysit the girls, for a little income for herself.
The little girls' mother was surprised, for why would a grandmother of three want work? Shouldn't she be sufficiently occupied and contented taking care of her own grandchildren?
The three children were not her grandchildren, she explained. The family she was living with was not her own. She began her story.
She was a Ma Jie - a maiden maid, sworn to celibacy, who lived a life of servitude. Since she'd never married, she never had any real family. She, however, adopted a little baby girl whom she loved, clothed, fed and educated. Her adopted daughter was the only family she had in the world. In her effort to provide a comfortable home and life for herself and her daughter, she spent her entire life-savings on a house. She had then, both family and home - she thought she would be happy till the end of her life.
The girl grew to be an independent young woman. The independent young woman soon had herself a high-flying career and a husband. She informed her mother that she wanted to relocate, and asked her mother to come with her. Let her sell the house, she told her mother, and they can all move away together.
The old woman, with no reason to doubt the girl she had nurtured since infancy, gave authority to her daughter to sell her only property, and resigned to look forward to the care-free life she expected to soon enjoy. It would never come. The young woman, having obtained the money from the sale of her mother's house, went away with her husband, leaving the old woman behind, alone and destitute.
Alone and destitute she was, until a kind family with three children took pity on her and took her in. They treated her with so much kindness, like she was one of their own, for nothing, she felt quite overwhelmed. She wished to be a little less dependent, financially, in the least, which was the reason she asked to babysit the neighbour's little girls.
She had tears in her eyes as she concluded her story.
What you have read isn't fiction, though I am wholly unable to account for the accuracy of the details. I simply know this story, and happen to be in the mood for telling it.