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She was my pillar of strength

​Forty-eight year old Mohamed Fadil is a single parent to his two sons, aged 15 and 4 years old. His wife, Dahlila, has just recently passed away. Aware of the impact of the mother's absence on his two sons, he now spends more time with them. It is not only to show his emotional support for the two kids, but is also his way of coping with his own grief.

The loving husband

Dahlila was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago and received early treatment. All was well until she had a relapse in 2014. She was then sent to Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) for rehabilitation for five months. In 2017, her cancer spread to her brain and bones. Following an operation to strengthen her hips and right arm, Dahlila was admitted to BVH again for palliative care. From then on, Fadil knew her days were numbered. The initial shock was not easy to process. But to make sure his emotions did not affect his wife, Fadil encouraged Dahlila to live her life as normally as possible when she was hospitalised. They had breakfast and dinner together every day, and made a point to communicate with each other as much as they could. She would laugh at his silly jokes and he would listen attentively while she poured out her emotions, all the while masking his own sadness and frustration.

Amid his hectic daily routine with work and caring for his wife, Fadil also had to fulfill his responsibility as a father. He would steal some time for his sons who were living with Fadil's sister. He visited them three times per week. Undeniably, it was difficult to multitask but he tried his best and was fortunate to receive all the support he needed from his family members and his sons' teachers.

Finding new strength

When Dahlila passed away, he felt that part of him was gone. "Things are just not the same without my wife," Fadil said. "I overcame many struggles while caring for my wife, because in many ways, she was my strength. I wanted to be always by her side, for better or worse." But apart from being a husband, Fadil is also a father of two young kids, who have lost someone important in their lives too. He has to be strong for them: "They are my priority in life now. I am a single parent, but I will give my best to them."

It has been a painful journey for Fadil and his sons, but they have memories of her to help them get by. "I cherish every moment with my wife and I want to keep the memories intact. My sons are part of the memories of her too," Fadil said.