Grandma Dies, Leaving Family a Surprise

Wednesday, Apr 29 2015 02:15 PM

A YOUNG and resilient grandmother has died from cancer, leaving behind two daughters and a grandson - as well as a video of her telling them to be good and strong after she was gone.

The five-minute video, which her family had no knowledge of beforehand, was handed to them by a social worker a day after she died on April 20.

Jenny Oh, 47, who singlehandedly raised her two daughters following her divorce in 2008, died from lymphoma after fighting the disease for four years. This was her second battle with cancer.

The former employee of the Sushi Tei restaurant chain had earlier been diagnosed with uterine cancer, but got the "all-clear" in 2010 after two years of chemotherapy.

Following her death, her family is now headed by 19-year-old elder daughter Sophia Lee, who has to take care of two minors - her 10-year-old sister Sonia and her own three-year-old son.

Ms Lee, who did not want to talk about her own marriage, described her mother as a strong woman who refused to be beaten even though stricken with cancer twice.

"She was even promoted to manager of a Sushi Tei branch when she was undergoing chemotherapy," Ms Lee told the evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Ms Oh worked in Sushi Tei for more than 20 years until August, when her increasingly frail health forced her to stop working.

Her condition deteriorated last month and she was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital, where she died.

Ms Lee said she and her sister will be as tenacious as their mother and will be careful how they move on in life.

"All the females of our house are tough fighters, including my sister, who has come to accept that mother is gone," said Ms Lee, who also works in the food and beverage line.

"We are very moved by mother's act of leaving behind a memory that we will always cherish," she said, referring to her mother's video.

The video contains mainly pictures of Ms Oh with her daughters, with the last 30 seconds showing written messages from her telling them to be mature and responsible, work hard and love each other.

"Mummy loves you all very very much. You must live on with strength to become better persons," read one message.

Ms Lee recounted that she told her sister of their mother's illness only last year.

"That night, Sonia hid under her blanket and refused to come out of her room. I got a good scolding from mother," said Ms Lee.

"But Sonia gradually accepted the fact. She asked mother to make a video of herself so that in future, we could see her when we miss her," Ms Lee recalled.

"Mother did not agree at that point. But we didn't know she would secretly make the video and, through it, leave words of advice."

Published on Apr 29, 2015

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