“I want to write ‘I Love You’! How do I spell that?” Jenn Yong says. The four-year-old girl is hard at work on a card for Mother’s Day, lavishly filling it with pink hearts and dog stickers.
It is the simplest and purest expression of love for her mother, Khor Ai Fen, 39, who is a patient of HCA Hospice (HCA). Ai Fen and her husband were overjoyed at Jenn’s arrival in 2015, as they had been trying for a second child. But the joy was soon shrouded by the dark shadow of illness – a diagnosis of late-stage cancer. “The diagnosis was like a death sentence to me,” Ai Fen shares. “It was hard to accept because my children are still so young. My mother was heartbroken but she tried so hard not to cry in front of me.”
The last few years have been a tumultuous blur of treatments and hospital admissions. In 2016, Ai Fen was devastated to learn that the cancer had metastasised to her brain and she was subsequently referred to HCA. While the news was undoubtedly crushing, Ai Fen steeled herself to continue pushing through the pain and starting new treatments to curb the spread of cancer. “I don’t want to lie in bed all day,” she says. “I want to actively spend time with my children.”
Battling cancer has also brought Ai Fen closer to her mother, who has taken up the responsibilities of taking her children to school and household chores. “I am very grateful to my mother and appreciative of everything she has done,” she says. “I hope that I will be able to take care of her in old age. More importantly, I don’t want her to worry about me anymore.” Every warrior needs his or her own reinforcement. For Ai Fen, who has been valiantly fighting the turmoil of cancer for the last four years, her strength lies in her faith and the support she has received. “The HCA team has been very helpful and caring to us,” she says with a smile. “I really enjoy the art therapy in particular.”
A Simple Wish
There is no grandiosity to Ai Fen’s wish for Mother’s Day – all she yearns for is good health, so as to fulfil her roles of mother, daughter, wife and sister to the people she holds dear. It is our continuing mission to bring comfort and dignity to the remaining days of our patients, no matter the duration. Journey with us to add life to days – together we can go further.
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