I still hear his voice calling out 'Mummy'
Almost a year has passed since her four-year-old son's death but time has done little to ease her pain.
She still has his clothes, despite being advised by friends to give them away. She can't bear to do so because they are all that she has to remind her of him.
Muhammad Irfan Salam, who had epilepsy, was found motionless in his home, a two-room rented flat at Block 149, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, at around 7am last April 7.
Paramedics pronounced him dead about 30 minutes later.
A coroner's inquiry into Irfan's death returned an open verdict on Friday.
In his findings, State Coroner Marvin Bay said this was because it could not be determined how Nitrazepam, a drug used to relieve severe anxiety and insomnia, got into Irfan's system when it had not been prescribed to him.
Last Tuesday, Irfan's mother, Madam Rosnani Ismail, 35, was at the State Courts to give her testimony on the case.
She told The New Paper outside the court that she still keeps his clothes and cannot bear to part with them.
Tearing, she said in Malay: "My friends often tell me to get rid of them. But I can't.
"I will never throw his clothes away. Sometimes I will take them out and hold them against me. I miss him so much."
It is not just his smell that reminds her of him.
"Once in a while, I hear his voice calling out to me, 'Mummy, Mummy'.
"There were also times before I fell asleep that I thought I could see him standing nearby. I would get up with a start and realise it was just my imagination. My baby is gone forever."
Madam Rosnani said she has given birth to eight children in all.
The cleaner married her first husband in 1999 and they had two daughters.
She said her eldest child died in 2000 when she was two years old but declined to go into details. The couple got a divorce later that year.
Her second daughter, who is 17, lives with her ex-husband.
Madam Rosnani said: "I'm not in contact with them and I hope she is fine.
"I feel sad that I've lost two of my own kids. Which mother doesn't love her children?"
Her six other children - three boys and three girls - are three to 11 years old.
The youngest three, including Irfan, were fathered by Salam Mohammed, whom she married in 2003.
The others have different fathers.
Madam Rosnani said her husband had been in and out of jail several times for offences including theft.
Salam, who was arrested on the same day his son was found dead, is behind bars yet again for drug-related offences.
Madam Rosnani said their marriage was rocky and a divorce was imminent.
Since August 2013, two of her five children have been living at a children's home while the remaining three are under the care of foster families.
Irfan was the only one who lived with his biological parents after his foster mother got injured and could not take care of him.
Madam Rosnani, who earns about $600 a month, said: "All my children do not live with me due to financial problems. It's a sacrifice I have to make so that my kids get a better future."
According to court documents, she had an affair with Salam's friend in January last year, a month before Salam was released from jail after serving a sentence for property offences.
She moved out of the Toa Payoh flat in March and lived with a friend after frequent quarrels with her husband.
Salam ended up being Irfan's sole care provider and Madam Rosnani visited the flat once or twice a week to play with the little boy.
When TNP spoke to their neighbours last Tuesday, many remembered Irfan as a cute and friendly child.
A middle-aged man, who declined to be named, said: "I remember his parents used to quarrel quite frequently, sometimes a few times a week.
"It's so sad that the kid is gone. He would wave at me whenever we met. I miss his smile."
Madam Rosnani last saw Irfan on April 5 when she went to the flat but did not talk to him as he was asleep.
She said: "My husband called me on the phone the next day as my son wanted to speak to me.
"Irfan said 'Mama' and I spoke to him for a while before hanging up. He sounded fine. It was the last time I heard his voice."
Her voice cracking, she said she was in a bus heading to the Toa Payoh flat on April 7 when her husband called with the news that their son was dead.
Madam Rosnani, who has moved back into the unit, said: "I couldn't believe my ears. I said, 'You are joking!' But he told me that our son was indeed dead.
"I rushed to the flat after I got off the bus. By then, many police officers were already there. I saw my son's body and I broke down. I yelled at my husband, 'You did this to him!'"
Irfan's funeral was held at a relative's home and she broke down again when the final rites were performed.
Said Madam Rosnani: "I feel that Salam is responsible for my son's death. I will never forgive him for what he has done."
I remember his parents used to quarrel quite frequently, sometimes a few times a week. It's so sad that the kid is gone. He would wave at me whenever we met. I miss his smile.
- A neighbour, who remembered Irfan as a cute and friendly child
There were also times before I fell asleep that I thought I could see him standing nearby. I would get up with a start and realise it was just my imagination. My baby is gone forever.
- Muhammad Irfan Salam's mother, Madam Rosnani Ismail
Combination of drugs can be lethal
Following an inquiry into the death of Muhammad Irfan Salam, State Coroner Marvin Bay last Friday returned an open verdict.
This was because a post-mortem revealed three different drugs in his system: Carbamazepine, Lorazepam and Nitrazepam.
The four-year-old, who had learning disabilities and a history of epilepsy, was prescribed the first two drugs to help manage his condition. But it is unclear how the third drug entered his system.
"The Nitrazepam in Irfan's blood and urine remains an enigma since Nitrazepam was never prescribed as a medication for him," Mr Bay said.
Nitrazepam is a drug of the benzodiazepine class that is used to relieve severe anxiety and insomnia.
Pathologist Marian Wang from the Health Sciences Authority noted that a combination of the three drugs could lead to "excessive drowsiness and, in some instances, death".
The court had earlier heard that Irfan lived with his father, Salam Mohammed, because his parents were going through divorce proceedings.
Diagnosed with epilepsy when he was three, the boy had been admitted to hospital for his condition some 25 times.
As he had learning disabilities, Irfan attended a special needs school.
The inquiry was told that he would walk around the flat and often grab things to put into his mouth or eat them. He could also open the refrigerator to feed himself.
After Irfan's death, the police found foil packaging containing a powdery substance and a slab of 10 tablets in the kitchen dustbin. The powder and tablets were found to contain Nitrazepam.
The investigation officer said bite marks were found on the foil packet but Irfan's father denied knowledge or ownership of the tablets.
Salam was arrested for drug offences on the evening of April 7 when his urine tested positive for cannabis and benzodiazepine.