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Duration | 2:14

Category | Medicine

Organisation | Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)

Finding strength to carry on with life in times of grief

Tzu Chi’s Medical Home Service aid recipient, Mr. Aw had been living with his sister for many years. The late elder sister had been looking after the younger brother until she fell ill. Since then, the younger brother took up the responsibility of caring for the sister. After some time, the worsening of the sister’s health condition had forced volunteers to send her to Dover Park Hospice as the younger brother could no longer look after her. Unable to bear the sight of separation between the siblings, Tzu Chi volunteers took turn to send the brother to the hospice three times a week with the hope that both sister and brother could spend more time together. Before the sister passed away, the brother bid goodbye to her under the guidance of volunteers. Although the brother was deeply saddened by the passing away of his sister, he plucked up the courage to live life meaningfully where he is now blessing his sister by way of giving back to the society and walking out of grief during the process. 

Keeping photos with moments that cannot be recaptured and leaving the deceased’s belongings in place are ways the younger brother remembers his sister. 

Home care services patient Aw Hang Cheng

I love my sister. She is dead. I can’t help it. I have tears in my eyes. 

Home care service nurse Jacqueline Khoo Seow Charm

It has been 4 years since I took up this case. They have chronic diseases. Madam Oh had been looking after her brother and she was a mother figure to him. 

Mr. Aw suffers from mild mental retardation and he was dependent to his sister before she passed away. After she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, the brother took up the responsibility of taking care of her until her condition deteriorated and had to be sent to Dover Park Hospice. 

Home care service nurse Jacqueline Khoo Seow Charm

Her condition worsened and it was beyond her brother’s capacity to look after her. She had to go to the bathroom a few times at night and the brother could not sleep well nor eat well. We were worried that he might collapse.

In order to let the siblings spend more time together, volunteers took turn to fetch the brother to the hospice three times a week, with the hope of minimising regrets. 

Tzu Chi volunteer Kang Sool Peng

My father passed away in Malaysia during lockdown. I couldn’t see him for the last time and I have regrets on that. I do not want others to have such regret like me, so I try my best to send him to meet his sister during the final days of her life. 

Social work associate Kwek Jing Yi

Madam Oh spent around 4 months at hospice, and her condition was already not optimistic at that time. So I asked the brother to be next to Madam Oh and say after me, “Sister, please be assured that I will take care of myself.” And Madam Oh passed away the next day. 

The day of separation finally arrived. Despite being deeply saddened by the death of his sister, Aw carried on with life with the companionship of the medical team and volunteers. Besides dropping coins into the bamboo coin bank, he also helps out at the daily rehabilitation centre as a way to bless his sister. 

Home care services patient Aw Hang Cheng

Dropping coins (into bamboo coin bank) is to help people. You help me, so I want to help you too. 

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