Life couldn't have been sweeter, for her labour of love had begun to bear fruit. She knew she had made the right decision not to remarry. She had the children with her and in the final analysis, that was what counted. Nothing else mattered.
The small but thriving public relations consultancy she had so lovingly built and nurtured since 1990 upon leaving journalism, unfortunately didn't have the strength to withstand the onslaught of the 1997 financial crisis. It buckled under a pile of debts and collapsed.
Undaunted, she sold off her house, well below market price too for times were bad, to pay off creditors. It was back to ground zero for her, having to start all over again, this time poorer than the proverbial church mouse. Yet she remained upbeat for she had always been the kind of woman resilient in the face of adversity. It wasn't for her to brood or indulge in self-pity. What good could that possibly do?
"Ya Allah, I leave my fate in your hand for you know what's best for me. Guide me, light my way, Ya Allah, for you are the All-Knowing." That was her consistent prayer.
Her business might not have lasted but she was extremely proud of her achievements, limited as they were, for wasn't it the fruit of that labour that put food on the table and those kids through college? Ever an optimist, her glass was never half empty.
The dawn of 2001 saw her in the rat race once again, as senior consultant in an established public relations outfit somewhere in Petaling Jaya. She was back in her element, writing copiously for a financial institution client.
As always, her social life was non-existent. Well, almost. A loner by nature, she had always preferred feline to human company. Besides her children, those rescued strays, their numbers fluctuating every so often, were her pride and joy.
And then there was her weekly commitment to an NGO that she joined four years before. She was a born volunteer, taking after her late grandmother, and the organisation was her platform to do her bit for the betterment of her community.
Money she didn't have much but spunk she had plenty. She had never forgotten the bad times; she knew exactly what it was like to be at the receiving end of someone else's kindness. It was time for her to return the favour. And returned it she did, many times over.
Many a times too she reflected, in her moments of solitude, how difficult and heartbreaking it was for a single mother like her to live life decently, given the stigma and deep-rooted prejudices of a society partial to her kind.
One thing for sure, though; she had long ago decided never to let the narrow-mindedness of a select few dampen her joie de vivre, her joy of living, of life.
Such was the situation in the early days of 2001. The future looked rosy, there was light at the end of the tunnel after all....