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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 06 December 2014 00:00

Continuous Care for the Loss of Her Beloved One

Written by  Tan Kim Hion & Chin Shu Chien, KL & Selangor, Kuching / Translated by Cheong Pei Lin

Volunteers were by Betty’s side all the time, giving her comfort and encouragement. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]

Hendry Anak Beju, from Kuching, passed away during a heart surgery at the National Heart Institute of Malaysia on December 4, 2014. Volunteers from KL & Selangor and Kuching lovingly comforted and cared for his wife, Betty Voon. They were by her side until the funeral.


 
Standing outside the mortuary on December 5, 2014, Betty Voon still found it hard to accept her husband’s demise at the operating theatre. She cried when she unveiled the cold, white cloth covering her husband’s body.
 
Volunteer Ong Saw Tin held her tightly and gently reminded her to say goodbye, as it would soon be time for the body to be flown back to Kuching. Betty endured her grief and sorrow, and gave her last kiss to her beloved husband. 
 
Worried about her being emotionally overwhelmed, Saw Tin held and walked her to the lounge. Betty started to sort out her husband’s belongings from the luggage and handed a pair of her husband’s favourite clothes to the person-in-charge of transporting the deceased back to Kuching. Then she realized her husband’s shoes were worn-out.
 
“I must get him a new pair of shoes. I don’t want him to go home in these worn-out shoes.” Volunteers accompanied her to the nearest shop to fulfil her wish. Finally, she handed the new shoes to staff of the transport company, and told volunteers that her husband would love the new shoes.
 
Never returning home again
 
“On the way to the operating theatre, he was still holding my hands and telling me that after the surgery, we would go back to Kuching together,… go back together...,” Betty murmured to herself, as tears rolled down her cheeks uncontrollably.
 
Three weeks earlier, Betty was informed that her husband’s surgery had finally been scheduled. Excitedly, she told volunteers, Ong Saw Tin and Soo Kam Yip, who had been caring for them, “My husband can return to Kuching soon, after the surgery!” The volunteers felt her joy and wished Hendry a smooth surgery and speedy recovery.
 
Sadly, Hendry never made it through the operation due to internal bleeding post-surgery, despite having undergone three emergency operations thereafter. Volunteers returned to the hospital upon receiving the news and kept Betty company till late that night. They also helped arrange for the husband’s body to be transported back to Kuching and booked flight tickets for Betty to return home on December 5. As they were unable to get the same flight, Betty had to take off before her husband, whose body was flown back at 10 pm that same day.
 
A warm reception at Jing Si Hall
 
While waiting for her departure and to relieve her deep sorrow, Betty was brought to KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, where she felt much relieved. When the food preparation volunteers learnt of her loss and that she had not eaten for two days, they felt deeply sorry and thoughtfully prepared some food for her.
 
Betty was deeply touched by the warm reception. Tears welled up in her eyes as she told Kam Yip that she came to KL with only RM100-plus, given by volunteers in Kuching. She thought they would be able to get back soon after the surgery. However, they ended up having to spend several weeks in KL due to a delay in the operation; and all the money she had was used up. Left with no alternative, she sought help from volunteers in Kuching. Her predicament was referred to Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, which then provided her with emergency relief to take care of her husband without the financial worries.
 
As she browsed through the posters along the gallery ramp with explanations from Kam Yip, she was touched by the care and love offered by volunteers to those in need.
 
At the airport’s departure hall, she hugged the volunteers tightly to show her heartfelt gratitude. She also contacted Wong Mee Hong, a volunteer in Kuching, who has been taking care of her family for the past three years.
 
Love from volunteers in Kuching
 
In the afternoon on December 5, 2014, six volunteers in Kuching paid a visit on Betty’s children to offer emergency relief and discuss the funeral details. The family requested for the funeral service to be conducted in the Christian way. Volunteers then decided to subsidize the funeral expenses, and Cai Nan Cai, the person-in-charge of the funeral, was willing to provide the body transportation and necessary funeral supplies free of charge. 
 
At 8pm that day, about ten volunteers were at Kuching International Airport to await Betty’s arrival. When the latter saw familiar faces on arrival, she burst into tears. Volunteers kept the family company until Hendry’s body reached home. Betty stayed with her late husband and was reluctant to take a rest although it was past midnight. Volunteers then caringly reminded her to take good care of herself so that she would be able to deal with the upcoming matters.
 
On the morning of December 6, 2014, volunteers arrived at Betty’s house and learnt that she did not sleep the whole night and had no appetite for food. Vounteer Hong Sai Zhen then prepared some instant tonic drinks for her to replenish her energy. After getting everything ready, volunteers and the family departed for the burial service at the cemetery. 
 
Betty broke into tears while holding her three-year-old daughter to look at her father for the last time. The other three children were also sobbing while paying their last respect. Volunteers were with them all the time, shaded them from the sun with umbrellas, embraced them, and offered them care and comfort.
 
From grief to blessings
 
Betty looked totally loss when asked about her future plans. Volunteer Mee Hong then assured her that they will always be by her side, and help sort out her financial support, which includes applying to the Social Welfare Department. She was calmed and nodded in relief. 
 
She said, “I’m so thankful to you all (Tzu Chi volunteers) for your help and support over the past few years until today. Your assistance has relieved our predicament.” Volunteers’ sincere companionship has built up her trust in them, and Mee Hong was among the first few persons she thought of when informed of her husband’s demise.
 
Before leaving, Mee Hong advised Betty to let go and turn her grief into blessings for her husband, and look into her future with her children, who also promised to study hard and be filial to their mother.
 
Tzu Chi volunteers had eased Betty’s burden in the past. The path ahead may be more challenging, but with volunteers’ love and support, it is hoped that the family can find a streak of light in the darkness and break through life’s challenges.
 
 
Betty burst into tears when she saw her husband’s body. Volunteer Ong Saw Tin hugged her tightly and gently reminded her to say goodbye to her husband. [Photograph by Lim Eng Yee]
  Volunteers helped to make arrangements for the husband’s body to be transported home. They also accompanied Betty to buy a new pair of shoes for her husband. [Photograph by Lim Eng Yee]

Betty burst into tears when she saw her husband’s body. Volunteer Ong Saw Tin hugged her tightly and gently reminded her to say goodbye to her husband. [Photograph by Lim Eng Yee]
 
Volunteers helped to make arrangements for the husband’s body to be transported home. They also accompanied Betty to buy a new pair of shoes for her husband. [Photograph by Lim Eng Yee]
 
Volunteers in Kuching received Betty at Kuching International Airport and continued giving her support. [Photograph by Chin Shu Chien]   Volunteers sent Betty and her family to Semariang Cemetry for the burial service. [Photograph by Chin Shu Chien]

Volunteers in Kuching received Betty at Kuching International Airport and continued giving her support. [Photograph by Chin Shu Chien]
 
Volunteers sent Betty and her family to Semariang Cemetry for the burial service. [Photograph by Chin Shu Chien]