My grandmother has taken care of me since I was born, so she has always been a big part of my life. I would incur my mother’s wrath when I disturbed grandmother’s sleep by making lots of noise, but grandmother never got angry with me and used to defend me whenever I got a scolding (or beating) from my mother for doing something wrong. It is this form of caring that made our relationship such a close one.
We were made for each other, my mother used to say. We were both skinny, forgetful, and stubborn. Made for each other, my mother would repeat emphatically, shaking her head and smiling. I would just roll my eyes at my grandmother as she laughed. While my sister was mummy’s girl and my brother papa’s boy, I was always my grandmother’s cucu. Granddaughter.
I was never Ah-Ma’s favourite grandchild. But I was close to her because my parents divorced and my younger brother and I were bundled off to stay with Ah-Ma as they were afraid Mum would ‘snatch’ us back to Malaysia.
I was awakened by mom one morning. She came to my room with her handbag in one hand and her slippers in the other. I asked her where she was going, and she told me that she wanted to rush home to cook for her children. I reminded her that my brothers and sisters were all in their late 40s and early 50s so there was no need for her to take care of them. She looked at me for a moment and said: “But I still have to go home and cook and pack the house”.
My mom had dementia towards the last few months of her life and I was there to get through the difficult times with her. She was 83 (not sure whether that’s her actual age or not), and this was in 2008, when she passed away peacefully on July 22. The greatest thing is that during that time she always remember me who I was: the little son of hers.
“You should come back sooner than you planned. Your mom is not the same.” What does it mean? Cranky? Grumpy? Old age? Forgetful. Oh. Ok. That’s normal right, with old age? Like senility? Maybe.
Mad hatter Buck-toothed, crazy-eyed, even logic’s said its good-bye. Literary nonsense couldn’t prepare us more For You licking gruel off the ground floor
When we filmed the Guek family at home a year ago, Mdm Ong Chu had been swearing at others for months. Her family finds it difficult to bring her even to doctors’ appointments because she could hurl vulgarities at others. Her sons explained that she never used to be like this, but that changed after a series of strokes and heart trouble.
My mother is 83 and has had dementia for about five years. When I saw her four years ago, the door of her apartment was open and she had just gone wandering off. The onset was so rapid that she quickly got to the point where she cannot remember anyone. When I saw her again two years ago, she didn’t recognise me at all. She doesn’t recognize my brother either. While I was with her, out of the blue, she mentioned a strange word: monastery. There was this spark of recognition there but that was the only recognition.
I wonder what goes on in grandma’s head: What is she thinking? How does she feel? I wonder how does the nurse feel about caring for my grandma. I wonder how the family feel and think about her illness. I feel a sense of void, a sense of peace, a sense of what is like being in between incomprehensible states.