For the better part of my life, I have been a witness to the exceptional way my mother has operated her life with compassion and selfless service. Nursing for over 30 years and specialising in psychiatry, my mother has dedicated her life to the community in service of families in need. Her efficiency and empathy for people experiencing any kind of hardship has ensured that she sacrifice many hours out of the normal working day to counsel families and extend herself to anyone who needs her, regardless of their social stature.
She has strived to impart awareness of mental health disease to the community and to ensure her patients receive the utmost care and compassion. She has inspired many people in our family to become medical practitioners and pay forward the social awareness created by her.
Most people are accustomed to compartmentalising their work and private lives, not so with my mother. Apart from her passion for her work, she singlehandedly devoted herself to my father when he was diagnosed with cancer, and despite being given a life span of three months, he managed to survive for 18 months solely based on her care.
I have watched, with awe, her dedication to my father at a time where others would have become self-involved in their own processing of the pain of dealing with a spouse dying.
Her consult is sought all the time when members of our family get sick and she is readily accessible to anyone who needs her. Most recently, her brother, whom she is very close to, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and despite having endured the trauma of losing my father, she has stepped up, put aside her feelings and own grief yet again to do what needs to be done for her brother.
This is a woman who has taught me the importance of unconditional love for family –something that is a rarity at a time where people are very much about their own self-preservation and egotistical needs. I have learnt the importance of service to others – a value I wish to pass on to my own children and most importantly living life being passionate about what you do.
This is a 58 year old woman who does not understand the concept of slowing down, who works herself to a standstill and sacrifices herself endlessly in the pursuit of helping others. She is a woman who has an open door policy for anyone, welcoming them into her home for a warm plate of food regardless of time or day. She is the embodiment of strength and I can find no one more deserving of being recognised for the phenomenal woman she is.