She stood outside the Istana, trying to muffle her sobs.
But her sobs became audible when the hearse bearing Mr Lee Kuan Yew's body arrived for the private family wake at Sri Temasek.
Secretary Sukhi Dhillon, 48, was so distraught when she woke up to the sad news of Mr Lee's passing that she took a day off from work to come to terms with the loss.
She said: "It is because of him that water flows through our taps. It is because of him we are safe when we walk on the streets.
"I grew up watching this man lead Singapore. He was a stern leader. He didn't show it, but it was obvious that Mr Lee had a heart of gold."
She joined the many Singaporeans who turned up at the Istana yesterday to pen their condolences and offer floral tributes.
At one point, the queue snaked all the way back to Plaza Singapura.
Also holding back her tears at the Istana was Madam Stephanie See Toh, 52, who owns a business.
She spoke about how touched she was to see Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressing the nation hours after his father's death.
"You can tell he was holding back his emotions, but yet he composed himself to speak to the nation," she said.
At the Singapore General Hospital, a steady stream of visitors added flowers to an already large pile of cards and balloons put there by well-wishers over the past few days.
A spokesman for the hospital said they would eventually send everything to the Prime Minister's Office.