KULIM, Malaysia - Norihan Che Doh's world crumbled when her husband succumbed to AIDS 15 years ago, leaving her to care for their only child.
Now fate has dealt her another cruel blow as her son Muhammad Haikal Hakimi Mohd Noor, 17, died in a collapsed bridge tragedy in Taman Serdang, Serdang, near here.
Norihan, a 47-year-old school canteen helper, said she had no one to turn to now after single-handedly raising Muhammad Haikal, a Form Five student of SMK Serdang Baru.
"Haikal was a loving and caring son. He used to help me with small chores at home. He would do his own laundry and wash the dishes after meals.
“Now he is no more. I miss him very much,” said the grieving mother when met at her house in Kampung Leret yesterday.
Muhammad Haikal was riding pillion on a motorcycle with stall helper Mohamad Haziq Ishak, also 17, from Serdang town to Taman Serdang at about 10pm on Monday when their motorcycle plunged into a river where the bridge had earlier collapsed.
Their bodies and the motorcycle were found buried under the earth about two hours later.
Their remains were sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar for a post-mortem.
Norihan said she and Muhammad Haikal were watching television at home after returning from the night market, when he asked for permission to go out for a drink with Mohamad Haziq.
"He said there was good WiFi connection at the nearby cafe, so I gave him RM3 and told him to return home by 10.30pm.
"I must have dozed off after feeling a little tired when he didn't reply to my WhatsApp messages.
"A neighbour then came knocking on the door to alert me about the tragedy," she said in between sobs.
She said Muhammad Haikal had not only done the laundry and folded his school uniform that night, but had also washed the rice cooker, wok and dishes before going out.
At the hospital mortuary, Mohamad Haziq's father Ishak Abdul, 56, said his son had declined to go out for dinner with the family following a tiff with his younger sister.
Ishak said he was entering the car with his wife Zuhainon Salim, 54, and youngest daughter Siti Nur Adawiyah, 16, when Mohamad Haziq scolded his sister for slamming the car door and injuring their mother's finger.
"He then threw a tantrum and refused to leave the house.
"We believe he must have gone out with Haikal after we left for dinner," said Ishak, who accepted Mohamad Haziq's death as fate.
He added that Mohamad Haziq was the fifth of six siblings.