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A Daughter’s Unending Love

A Daughter’s Unending Love

St Luke’s Hospital continues to provide peace, closure and support for the bereaved.

It is often said that when a loved one has passed, one learns to live with the love left behind. For Chiew Gee, while she continues to be reminded of her late mother’s love, it was the love and support her mother received during her final months at St Luke’s Hospital that truly made a difference. Shortly after her mother’s passing, when Chiew Gee was given the chance to share a testimonial about her during the hospital’s memorial service, she knew what she had to do.

With her father, sister, brother-in-law and niece, as well as her husband and two children in the audience, Chiew Gee shared, “I remember my mother Goh Lock Wah best as a kind, gentle, and easy-going lady; most unwilling to burden anyone unnecessarily. She was my father’s confidant, best friend, and lover; she was our beloved mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother.”

To Chiew Gee, her mother embodied the meaning of sacrifice. At a young age, the late Madam Goh passed on the opportunity to study at a secondary school so that her younger brothers could receive an education. Despite being a stay-at-home mother, she supplemented the family’s income as a talented seamstress. Not one to shy away from responsibility, she took charge of coordinating the care and management of familial issues when her late mother grew old and stepped down from her job to care for her grandchildren.

For someone so used to giving without expecting anything in return, Madam Goh had a difficult time accepting her breast cancer diagnosis—a terminal illness that was malignant and severe. “I asked her why she had waited so long before sounding the alarm, and in typical fashion, she said she didn’t want to disrupt the family’s holiday plans that year,” Chiew Gee recalled with a painful smile.

After several rounds of treatments and hospitalisation, Madam Goh was admitted to St Luke’s Hospital for palliative care. Even in her sickness, she worried about her husband’s health and how her condition made everyone busier. While she had often looked forward to the weekly devotion sessions for patients at the hospital’s chapel, one day she decided against continuing to attend. After careful probing, Chiew Gee learned that her mother did not wish to trouble the volunteer who had diligently portered her while in bed to the chapel any further.

Addressing the staff in the audience, Chiew Gee continued, “So this is a snapshot of my mother that so many of you have taken care of or interacted with.” Expressing her gratitude for the care shown to her mother, Chiew Gee thanked the care team for their dedication to getting to know her mother and father better and considering their needs. She appreciated the medical team, led by Registrar Dr Rachel Lu and Senior Medical Officer Dr Joy Pelaez, for involving her mother and family in treatment decisions as far as possible, and the nurses and therapists for treating her mother with much patience and gentleness. She thought back on how her mother and father would open their hearts to Chaplain Esther Goh and how her mother shared in confidence many feelings and worries

she did not wish to burden the family with. Chiew Gee also reflected on the tireless support Medical Social Worker Leong Si Jie provided to their family along the way.

Today, Chiew Gee remains grateful to St Luke’s Hospital for extending compassion, kindness, and love to her mother and family, sharing, “We saw the many ways the care team treated patients respectfully and allowed them to live their last days with dignity, from taking my bed-ridden mother for a short walk in the garden on the ground floor to serving her blended food in delicate moulds. I am thankful we were able to journey with our mother with such support in her last days.”

Now in its sixth year, the memorial service allows family members and caregivers to reflect on the fond memories of their loved ones, and the palliative care team pays tribute to patients whom they had the privilege of caring for in the past year.

At the recent service, during the Exhortation segment, Kelvin Lee, Head of Care & Integration, gave a “Message of Hope,” urging families to keep celebrating the legacies of their loved ones and the special meaning they hold. He said, “I am glad that St Luke’s Hospital journeyed with you in caring for your loved ones and partnered with you in helping them leave well.”

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