NUS graduate shares story of losing mother to cancer & struggles to make it to university


Melanie Lim | September 18, 2019 @ 02:12 pm


NUSWhispers is an anonymous platform on Facebook meant for past and present NUS students to share their weals and woes.

The page has seen a good number of troll postings and absurd confessions over the years.

But there are seemingly authentic and well-received stories.

One supposedly recent NUS graduate gave a heartwarming testimonial of his life story on September 12, 2019 and garnered over 1,500 shares.

Mother diagnosed with cancer

OP (Original Poster) started their story by talking about growing up in a single-parent family with his mother and little sister.

Although OP did not state their gender, we will be using “his” for the purpose of this article.

He did “decently well” in academics and CCAs throughout primary school, and while his family wasn’t rich, they were able to get by.

However, things changed when OP’s mother was diagnosed with cancer while he was in secondary school.

He felt that life had been unjust to him while he had lived in an upright manner.

“When I first heard the news, all I could think of was ‘why me?’. It felt like god was being unfair towards me. I was not a saint, but I did my best to live my life honestly and did everything as right as I could. Yet, this had to happen to me.”

From then on, OP started to skip school, do poorly in his studies, mix around with the wrong company and commit petty crimes.

His mother was unaware of all of this because she was in the hospital most of the time.

Arrested for shoplifting

However, OP’s mother soon learned of his misdeeds when he was arrested for shoplifting and she had to bail him out.

Upon seeing the look of disappointment on his mother’s face, OP realised how selfish he was and how his actions had affected both his mother and sister.

The OP decided to pick himself up and eventually did well enough to take his GCE ‘O’ levels and his mother’s condition started to improve.

However, just as life was starting to look up, things took a turn for the worse.

Turned suicidal after mother’s passing

OP’s mother passed away while he was taking his second last O Levels paper.

Devastated, OP felt that life kept throwing him curveballs.

He recounts how he contemplated death every single day as he waited for his polytechnic semester to start.

There were even nights where he came close to committing suicide.

One of those suicidal nights, however, was a turning point.

Turning point in life

As OP entered his sister’s bedroom to leave a note on her desk, he heard her crying and realised how much pain she was in.

He also realised that he would only be transferring more pain to her if he killed himself.

“You see, my sister never cried or showed much emotions. During my mom’s funeral, there was no expression on her face. But that day, hearing her cry, I realised that she was hurting just as much as I am. And if I were to die, the pain I experienced would not just end with me. It’s be transferred to my sister, and that was the most selfish thing I could do.”

OP picked himself up again and decided to live for his sister.

He took up part-time jobs to support their studies while striving to do well at school.

He eventually graduated with a second-lower class degree.

Although he wasn’t the best in his cohort, it meant a lot to him that he had come this far.

“On my graduation day, I did not attend the ceremony. Instead, I went to the place where my mom’s urn was kept, in my graduation gown (I didn’t care that people were staring), and stayed there while the ceremony was going on. That day was the closest I’ve ever felt to my mom. She always told me her biggest regret in life was not getting an education and did not want her children to meet with the same regret. I hope that wherever she is, she’d be proud.”

While he hopes to return to school to further his studies, the OP wrote that he wants to find a job first because he wants to give his sister a better life than what he had.

You can read OP’s full post here:


SOS 24-hour Hotline: 1800-221-4444
Singapore Association of Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school-aged children)
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800

Top image via malcolm garret on pexels and NUSWhispers


About Melanie Lim

Melanie likes taking and editing photos for Instagram.

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