With Christmas round the corner, many would relish in the joy of receiving and spending time with family. For some, this can only be a dream. Mdm Wong Mee Har’s children have never been able to buy themselves a Christmas present. Neither will they be spending Christmas together as a family.
Mdm Wong, aged 43 years old left her job as a seamstress in a clothing factory after her two daughters were born. Since then, her husband, Mr Tan Kok Chuan, aged 46 years, was the sole breadwinner of the family, working as a stall-helper. He later had multiple aliments and chronic pain and could no longer tolerate standing for long hours and relied on odd jobs to make a living. The family got by with social assistance and lived in a one-room rented flat and with some help from Mdm Wong’s friend.The family’s ability to cope with minimal financial resources was dealt a blow when Mdm Wong was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in June 2017. She could no longer look after herself or the children. Mr Tan had to assume the role, and the physical demands took a toll on him. He could not look for work and the family stopped having income.
Mr Tan continued to struggle with the added responsibilities; even with his multiple ailments and chronic pain, he tried to make his way around on his motorised scooter. Mdm Wong’s condition worsened and she was transferred from our Home Care service to our Inpatient service. Mr Tan then had to shuttle between visiting Mdm Wong in the hospice and their home in Chai Chee estate, and picking up the children from school and seeing to their daily needs. We supported Mdm Wong’s family by covering the cost of Home Care and Inpatient care, seeing to the meals for her children, and reimbursing Mr Tan for transport. Art therapy was offered to the children to help them cope with the imminent loss of their mother, and to create art to express their love for their mother.
Despite the comprehensive care that Mdm Wong was given at Assisi Hospice’s inpatient service, Mdm Wong, like many patients, wanted to spend her final moments at home. Our team made arrangements to ensure that Mdm Wong could be well cared for at home by providing nursing support, as Mdm Wong needed two people to care for her. She was transferred home Saturday morning on 16 September.
This journey home was important for Mdm Wong as it was her wish. That same afternoon, Mdm Wong passed on peacefully in the familiarity and comfort of her own home.