BATU PAHAT - Dina Bato Sam Bua cried out the name of her beloved daughter as a priestess carried out the last rites for miracle heart girl Tee Hui Yi.
Some mourners who had gathered at the Chinese funeral parlour in Jalan Fatimah here tried to comfort her but the distraught mother kept calling out for Hui Yi.
"Hui Yi, I want Hui Yi!" Dina cried repeatedly before collapsing in the arms of some relatives at the funeral parlour yesterday.
It was an emotional send-off for the 19-year-old, who captured the nation's admiration for surviving a double heart transplant in 2007.
About 80 sobbing relatives and friends had gathered for prayers and to pay their last respects for the plucky teenager who died from congestive cardiac failure on Tuesday morning after complaining of back and chest pains.
As the coffin bearing her body was carried out of the parlour, family and friends showered flower petals in its path and walked in a procession for about 200m to a waiting hearse.
They had wanted the procession to have more time with her in her final journey.
A group of them later piled in a bus for an hour-long journey to Pagoh where Hui Yi was cremated.
Her ashes were brought back here and sprinkled in a river, not far from a temple and the family home.
Earlier, relatives tried to dissuade Hui Yi's mother from following the hearse to the crematorium, saying it was against the usual Chinese custom.
However, Dina, 52, was adamant to follow her daughter's body right to the end of her journey.
"I was there with her when she was a baby, by her side during all her struggles at the hospital and I want to be there with her when her body is cremated," she said.
Hui Yi's father, Ah Soon, 57, said: "My heart aches but I have been up since 4am to prepare for the funeral prayers."
Chin Pak Siong, 53, whose son's heart once saved Hui Yi's life, said he felt like a broken man.
"She called me godfather and I regarded her as my very own daughter," he said.
Chin, who owns a motorcycle shop in Skudai, said he spoke with Hui Yi a couple of weeks ago, when she called to ask how he was doing.
Hui Yi's boyfriend Lau Shie Cheik, 22, wailed as her coffin was placed on the hearse.