Sunday, November 04, 2007

I lost my mother......

6 years ago, my Mom started telling us there were people hiding under her bed, and that the neighbours kept scolding her. Her complaints grew worse and when we brought her for her annual medical checkup, the doctor told us my Mom has dementia, after a thorough assessment.

We were shocked. She was 65 then. Our usually hardworking and cheerful Mom had become less energetic and spontaneous. The changes in my Mom's behavior had gone unnoticed and we thought she was imagining things. Every one of us was busy with work and things to do, she was alone and waiting for our company most of the time.

At first Mom was still able to perform tasks independently (using the bathroom and eating her meals), but needs assistance with more complicated activities like handling money. It affected her memory, attention, language and problem solving. She could still recognise us but took a longer time to remember our names.

She requires constant supervision. We employed a full-time maid to take care of her. She lives with my first younger brother. My brother does often complain about how difficult my Mom has become.

Two months ago, Mom lost whatever's left of her memory. She couldn't recognise us. She has frequent outbursts of violence. Our gentle and beautiful Mom turned into someone we couldn't recognise. I was devastated. I have lost my Mom. Physically she's here but she's an empty shell. She's like a baby. She cries and throw tantrums to get her way.

She couldn't understand a thing we said. She does weird things. We have to keep a constant eye on her. The maid we hired to take care of her went back for Hari Raya last month and didn't return. I offered to take care of Mom while waiting for a new maid.

It was a stressful and heartwrenching 2 weeks for me. I served her a meal and she would ask for it again and again because she has forgotten she had already eaten. You can show her where the toilet is for 10 times and she would still need your help to bring her to it again. I had to drag her to the bathroom to wash up. Every day, it was war. Every day I was crying. I kept telling her,"Mummy, it's me!" She stares back blankly and then continues her antics.

Her doctor said as the disease progresses to the late stage, she will not be able to perform even simple tasks independently. She becomes incontinent of bladder and then incontinent of bowel. She will eventually lose the ability to walk and eat without assistance. Language becomes severely disorganized, and then is lost altogether. She may eventually lose the ability to swallow food and fluid, and this can ultimately lead to death.

Every day we are watching our Mom waste away. Some one we love very, very much. And we feel so helpless. There is no cure.

Lonely individuals may be twice as likely to develop the type of dementia linked to Alzheimer’s disease in late life as those who are not lonely. For those who are single, go get a partner to spend the rest of your lives together. Even if you are yelling at each other daily. Exercise regularly, eat healthily. Live an active life, both mentally and physically. And spend more time with your elderly parents. For us, it's too late........


  1. sorry to hear about your mother's illness. must be hard for you and your family during these difficult times. I hope she's as comfortable as she can be as each day passes by.


  2. So sorry to hear about ur mom's condition. It's real difficultilty to take care of them. I understands it coz my mom change from a strong personality to a bb too when she became ill..But life goes on. They're the ppl we love..

    May God Bless everyone of U and U take care. Big hugs to U!!

  3. so so sorry to hear abt this... :(

    i hv a friend who has cared for her mom with Alzheimer's for as long as i can remember... dunno how she did it... she took time off work for a few years, but later on, went back to work again. i've not been in touch with her for some time already... wondering how she's doing... i should check on her and see...

    back to your mom... sigh... so sorry dunno what to say to you... just hug u, ok?

  4. oh im sooo sorry eastcoast-chan!!
    donno wat to say right now..
    good thing is that u can afford to hire maid like that.
    my parents are getting old too and i dont know what to do when they become like that. mom says she wants to go to nursery home when she become disabled.
    please take care. hugzzzzz

  5. I just wrote a research about Alzheimer's but at molecular level. Hmm.. Well, it's these little things that test and challenges us, and what doesn't kill us in the end makes us stronger.

    * h u g s *

  6. Hey Mommy, It was really heart-wrenching after reading your post. Could see that you are a filal daughter towards your mother.

    Though this period of time might be hard and tough for you, however, put your love on your mother and divert it into strength. Continue to show her love, care and concern.

    Nice blog you have.

    Keep going on, Mommy!

  7. So sad... so depressing.. Let us live life to the fullest now, for life is short. Let us go wild on the padang, have wheelchair races, and just live...

  8. ECL, I'm sorry to hear this. This is disease that effects just just one person, but the people who love, care and protect them.
    My grandfather had this and it was a slow painful process watching him pass away.
    I know it's hard when you are dealing with it, but when it gets almost too hard to handle, remember what she did for you. All the good things. He smile, her laugh, her advice.
    You didn't loose your mother. She is there in your heart and in your memory. Moms never pass away.

  9. I guess it's sad to hear that.

    Just like you wrote in your blog at the end, spend more time with your elderly parents, most don't.

    You're lucky that she's still there although not mentally. A parent may have a heart attack or knocked down by a bus and we never get to tell them the things that they we to say.

    You still have her there physically. Say all the things that you've wanted to say to her all this time and when the time has come for her to go, you'll not regret anything. Making peace with yourself is also important.

  10. She is indeed very lucky to have you and your siblings taking care of her... It's simply the other way around, I guess, when our parents would care for us when we were little...

    Thanks for sharing such a personal experience, ECL. Nevermind about her not remembering things - just try to keep her as comfortable and as happy as she can, every day - I think that's the least anybody can do.

  11. *HUG* I'm sorry to hear this....

    It is a wake up call for anyone of us who has not been spendig enough time with our loved ones... Thank you....

  12. ECL, I am so sorry to hear that. May you find the strength you need and pray that your mother will get better. I guess if you are there with her, she will know about it ... in her own way.

    Peace ... Wilf.

  13. ECL, these anniversaries seem to bring it all back.

  14. Oh my friend, we went through this with my mother, except that her dementia came from multiple health problems.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help, if you ever need anything, let me know.

    My prayers are with you and your family.

  15. *hugs ECL*

    my granny had dementia for 2 years before she 'left'. it's a emotionally and physically draining illness, not just for the patient but for their families.

    hope everything would be fine for you and your family...

  16. My mum is gone -- she didn't progress so far but when she took a turn for the worse it was sudden. Praying 4 U.

  17. Oh, and I'd better get myself an ah lian quick! Know anybody who likes hae gwae?

  18. Awwwww I'm lonely. Sighz!

    Thanks for sharing this. I think there is more known about stuffs like Parkinson's Disease than what your mum has suffered. Not until people like you share it.

  19. Hey.. ECL,
    Truly sorry to hear about your mom. I wished i was nearer to help you out.. with yer mom.. and lend you a shoulder to cry on... in times that is tough. *hugs*

  20. Sorry to hear about your mum's condition. Stay strong, ECL. Life is indeed unpredictable. We have to treasure every moment we have.

    *Hugs all the way from Kuching*

  21. So sad to read about your mother. Must be so hard for you to see her this way...

  22. grandma's the same. They will complain to others how the main carer mistreats them. Once, we caught her burning my granpa's photo (over the gas stove) coz she thot the maid put a spell on her thru his photo. After that, we disconnect the gas from the stove.

    What I do is repetition. It gets annoying..but can't be help. She really cannot remember. Then, when she spins a yarn/tale...I'll just add on (kar-liew) to it. Makes her happylor! Trust me...singapore and penang are just across the street! fun la!

    Pls... take care ..and don't take whatever she say, personally. I'm sure she really doesn't mean it.

  23. Sorry to hear about your mother. My grandma is also going through the early stages and it's already quite difficult. I can somehow imagine the pain you are going through for she is your beloved mother

    Be strong.
    Whatever she has said or done, I'm pretty sure she doesn't mean it.

    May God Bless you and everyone in the family.

  24. After reading about your mom, I just think of mine (no, she is not same case as your mom). *sigh* Anyway, it must be really depressing for you and your family. I hope that you all could cope it all right and good luck to find a maid (or a nurse?) to look after her.

  25. So sorry to hear about this. Alzheimers is the scariest disease I can imagine, both on what it does to the victim (robbing him/her of their identity), but mostly what it does to that persons loved ones. You are in my prayers.

  26. Sorry to hear about your mum's condition. I know it is not easy on you to watch someone who once took care of you, nurture you now the role is reversed.

    You take good care of yourself. I am sure you do but it is nice to be assured.

  27. I feel bad reading this... :( Take care- thanks for using it to share the msg.

  28. HEllo.. I came from BethAllen's blog to here. I am a full time caregiver who has taken care of family members in the exact conditon you describe. I feel for you and send you many hugs and prayers for an easier time of it.

  29. My sympathies, ECL. Truly heart-wrenching to hear that.
    They say, mahjong and card games are good for old people to 'exercise' and keep their minds active.

  30. So sorry to read about your Mum. I can imagine how deeply heartbreaking it is for you and your family..

    I hope you all get through this as bravely as possible...

  31. ECL

    Thanks for the good post and for the good recommendation. I was not there for my mother, I was not there for my father, and I was not there for my sister. I just wonder WHO is going to be there for ME! Have a fine Singapore morning.


  32. I do agree
    Get a partner, and live your life ^-^

  33. Hi

    I'm sorry to hear what you're going through.

    I lost my grandaunt last year when she was 92. Over the few years before that, I have seen her slowly drift away... it was really painful. Because her last surviving son had passed away, her grandchildren had decided the best thing for her was to put her in an old folks home.

    Every trip there to visit her always ended with with me in tears. I stopped visiting when she could no longer recognize me. Thinking about it still hurts today.

    I'll be keeping you in my prayers... I really believe that once the memory goes; the pain is no longer there. Why? Because the person is no longer lucid enough to be hurt.

  34. I can understand how you feel about taking care of her as I've seen how my impatient neighbour yelling and scolding her mil. Even at 6am, she will be yelling at her mil who soiled the bed. Very sad sight i would say. Be strong ECL. Get other siblings to help out if you really need a ME time. Hope the new maid arrive soon. At least it will lessen your burden of cleaning up. You can concentrate and building bond with your mom then. After all, what is a daughter for, right?

    p/s: errrr... Jaymes. Please love your mummy, ok?

  35. I'm terribly sorry about your mom ECL. I feel for you, I really strong ECL, be strong. *hugssssssssssssss*

  36. I know how difficult you have it. My aunt (she raised me as much as my mom) went through the same thing. She kept calling my kids the names of children she knew back in the 30s. And she would toss a fit when she is fed. Her son moved her to an old age home and when I visit her she would always demand I drive her home. Never had the heart to tell her that her son sold that house. Doubt she would have understood. God rest her soul.

    Wish your mom the best. It is difficult. *hugs*

  37. I'm sorry to hear about your Mom. But you know, she is in the best hands now that you are taking care of her. *hugs*

  38. I really dunno what to say. I feel for you. It's totally heartwrenching to see someone that you love turns into the worst.

    Hope you stay strong and keeps on
    going (I believe you would) and pray that your mom will have less suffering.

    Hugs for you ...

  39. I'm sorry to hear this.. May the Big Strength be with you. And remember that parents never go away, as they live in their children's hearts.

  40. sorry for the illness..but try this... prostating (sujud) for a min and then rest..repeat for a few mins.

    This is known to beat mind/mental related the blood gets to the cells.

    Best Regards

    Azrin @

  41. Reading your blog made me remember my mother, whom i lost on Oct 3rd tis year, yeah, about a month ago... my mother had cancer, and she strugled with it for about 4 months, the last 2 months were like hell to us( me, my father, and my brother),the thing is, we saw her closer to death every day but couldnt do anything to help it, we were helpless in taking care of the most valuble thing in our lives, she was the best mother one can ask for... i am begining to cry now,,, so i'll stop typing, you just take care of your mother, cause when you lose her, you'll lose a huge piece of your heart

  42. Awe I'm so sorry. This is such a heart wrenching story.

    We went through the same ordeal with my grandmother, and I must admit that it is terrible.

    I pray that things go easier for you Mom. And for you as well.

  43. I just tag you. Can ar? use it when you feel like it lar :)

  44. take care. live each day the best. someone above will help u.

  45. Sorry to hear of your mother's condition. It must be very tough for everyone in the family.

    Your post reminds me about how important it is to spend time with our parents. I will keep this in mind and shower them with more love.

  46. I hope you have some "me" time for yourself as well. Looking after mum is a tough and stressful job, given her condition.

  47. Thank you everyone for your prayers, hugs and kind wishes.

    My Mom will never get better. I have wonderful memories of the times my Mom and I spent together. I really miss her very much.

    I'm also making sure that I'm leading an active lifestyle physically and mentally. I hope I would not be like my Mom when I grow old.

    I'm making some changes to my life and I'm keeping my spirits up. Thanks once again for your love and concern. Hugssss for everyone.

  48. Im so sorry to read about your mom's condition. It must be really hard for you and your family. Have to constantly remind oneself that they don't mean a thing they do/say.....

  49. I am so sorry to hear about your mum - you and your family are obviously taking good care of her.
    Best Wishes
    Sara from farmingfriends

  50. My Nana has Alzheimer's as well. She still recognises us, but is very confused. She has care workers who visit 3 times a day and my mum spends a lot of time with her as well. it's a heartbreaking thing to watch.