She visits son daily so he won't be lonely
For over a decade, Madam Jamilah Othman, 59, has been sleeping about four hours daily.
She works at a laundromat from 4pm to 11pm and goes to bed at 2am after finishing some household chores.
Madam Jamilah then gets up at 6am to cook and finish up housework, before leaving home at 9am for what she calls the "most important part" of her day - visiting her eldest son at a nursing home.
She tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I have to visit him every day, for his own sake and also for my own, so that I know he is not alone."
Her son, Mr Khairul Abdul Majid, 36, is currently in the care of the Ren Ci nursing home in Bukit Batok.
Mr Khairul requires round-the-clock care ever since he was involved in a traffic accident 12 years ago.
In June 2004, the motorcycle he was riding collided with a bus.
He fell hard and awkwardly, breaking both his legs and suffering brain damage. He was then 24.
Fighting back tears as she recounted the accident, Madam Jamilah says: "Never did I imagine it would be bad. It was his first accident, how could it be this bad?"
Mr Khairul was in a coma for the first two months, and Madam Jamilah would take turns with her husband to stay over at the National University Hospital to be by their son's side.
She says it was tough on her family as her three other children were aged between 10 and 16 then. But she refused to let Mr Khairul feel alone.
"If no one was with him, I could not rest easy. My mind would always go back to him and worry," she says.
When Mr Khairul eventually came out of his coma, he was without much of his memory.
He also lost the ability to speak and had little control over his limbs.
Doctors advised Madam Jamilah to put her son in a nursing home so he could be given proper care and attention.
Mr Khairul was transferred to the Ren Ci nursing home in Moulmein in 2005, before moving to the one at Bukit Batok last year. But no matter where her son is, Madam Jamilah visits him every single day.
At the nursing home, she reads the newspaper aloud to Mr Khairul.
"I'm not doing much, but I know when I visit, he lights up and looks happy, which also makes me happy too," she says.
On Friday, Madam Jamilah was recognised at the National Healthcare Group's 13th Healthcare Humanity Awards, where she won the award for the caregiver category.
Senior medical social worker at Ren Ci Hospital, Miss Tan Pei Pei, says Madam Jamilah's dedication is inspiring.
"I'm sure seeing her son become a totally different person was a big blow to her, but still she remains committed," says Miss Tan.
"From her son's first day in Ren Ci, there hasn't been a day that I have not seen Madam Jamilah."
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) 1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
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- Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin) 1800-3535-800 (Every day except for public holidays, 10am to 10pm)
- Mental Health Helpline 6389-2222 (24 hours)