Singapore

Her heartbreaking decision to take braindead fiance off life support

'Long, dreadful beep was most difficult moment of my life'

They were to be married today.

But instead of having cherished memories of her big day, Miss Khairunnisa Illyasha is left to reflect on what might have been - and to wonder about the circumstances in which her beloved was so cruelly taken away from her just days earlier.

Her fiance, Mr Noor Helmee Roslan, a 23-year-old Malaysian working in Singapore, suffered severe head injuries in an accident on the Seletar Expressway (SLE) last Friday.

A day later, Miss Khairunnisa, also a 23-year-old Malaysian, had the heart-shattering experience of seeing him being taken off life support and then laid to rest.

After The New Paper tracked Miss Khairunnisa down, she said in a phone interview from her family home in Johor Baru (JB): "I cannot believe that the love of my life was robbed from me mere days before the wedding. He is irreplaceable."

Her first clue that something had gone very wrong was when one of Mr Helmee's colleagues, whom she had never met, went looking for her at her mother's food stall in JB at 5am that day.

He had photographs of Mr Helmee's accident.

In between audible sobs, Miss Khairunnisa said: "Helmee would always message me once he reaches his workplace in Singapore - normally at about 4.30am. I waited and waited that morning, but there was no message from him."

Mr Helmee, a bus driver with SBS Transit, lived in JB and was riding his motorcycle to work on the SLE when a car hit his bike from behind at about 3.40am, flinging him onto the road.

With little inkling how the collision had occurred, Miss Khairunnisa went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, accompanied by a friend, and was told that her fiance was unconscious in its intensive care unit (ICU).

"I was shocked when the receptionist told me that he was in the ICU. When I saw the pictures, I didn't think the accident was that bad," she said.

Miss Khairunnisa was then told that Mr Helmee had been taken to the operating theatre.

"I just sat outside and broke down, I was really afraid to lose my fiance," she said.

Four hours later, she was finally allowed to see Mr Helmee.

SPEECHLESS

"I was speechless when I saw him. He was all wired up and his face was so swollen I could hardly recognise him."

Doctors warned her that Mr Helmee's chances of waking up were slim and that even then, he might have suffered full memory loss.

Clinging to hope, Miss Khairunnisa, Mr Helmee's mother and his sister, 22, remained outside the ICU in case he woke up.

"I kept thinking about things I could do to refresh his memory. I thought of pictures that I could show him to remind him of our love when he woke up," she said.

That moment never arrived.

They had met through her younger sister and were five days from their second anniversary of being together when the accident happened.

"We dreamed of having a big family. He wanted to have many sons, enough to form a soccer club."

Hours later, doctors informed her and his family that he was brain dead.

"My mind went blank in that instant. I had been focusing on the possibility of him waking up. I would cry every time we spoke to doctors as it was never good news," she said.

That night, Mr Helmee's family decided to take him off life support so as not to prolong his suffering.

"I told his mother that the choice of whether to take him off life support is all hers and I'd respect her decision," said Miss Khairunnisa, choking back tears.

"Hearing the long, dreadful beep of the heart monitor was the most difficult moment of my life."

Mr Helmee's body was taken back to JB and buried on Sunday.

Since then, Miss Khairunnisa has had to deal with the cancellation of their wedding and planned honeymoon. But she could not bear to call the 500 invited guests with the bad news and asked her mother to help her with that.

Miss Khairunnisa said she will eventually donate his bridal gifts to her - a watch, a pair of shoes and a prayer mat - to charity, but for now, they give her some solace.

She said: "Helmee was honest, loyal and compassionate. His last words to me, the day before the accident, were that I was his last love, and he could never love somebody else."

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