Pioneer Cabinet Minster Mr Othman had been warded at SGH since April 6 for a chest infection and stomach complications.
Madam Lily, 60, said she usually does the night duty in caring for him.
“I will read some prayers for him and pat him to sleep before I go off,” she recounted his final hours to The Straits Times on Monday (April 17), after Mr Othman died just after noon. He was 92.
“We hope that he will always be remembered as part of the Singapore Old Guard and a contributor to the harmony of Singapore,” she added.
“We tried our best to take care of him to the best of our ability, but I think God knows better, and you know we are quite happy to let him go. He passed away…peacefully, so we are happy with that,” Madam Lily told reporters during the wake for Mr Othman outside the family home in Kew Avenue in Bedok.
Madam Lily, a housewife, described him as a kind and loving father who was also devoted to his work when he was MP for Pasir Panjang constituency from 1963 to 1981.
“We know that we are more or less like his second family compared to his political work. We totally got it and we appreciated that as well,” she said with a laugh.
But he always made time for the family, especially when he returned from his overseas trips as Singapore’s first Minister for Social Affairs, a post he held from 1963 to 1977.
“Whenever he (came) back from his travels, he (spent) at least one night with us, sharing his overseas stories, souvenirs,” she said.
One lesson he often drummed into them was the importance of racial harmony as he lived through the 1964 race riots. He also emphasised humility, she said. “You could be the president’s daughter or the king’s daughter, but humility should be your middle name,” she recalled him saying.
Mr Othman had been in and out of hospital since last November, and his last message to his children was to live peacefully with each other and maintain good relationships with one another, she said.