By Reena Narang
I have never had the courage to share my personal story with anyone.
I am sure most of you will agree that we all run in a rat race. I have often wondered:
‘Does anyone slow down and jot down their lives, or work on their drawbacks more fiercely than they do at work?’
‘Are we really enhancing and growing as people or are we just becoming mere robots and just treating jobs as the only important aspect of our lives?’
‘Are we stepping out of the comfort zone to understand and intake what life really has to offer? Are feeling and emotions just mere words to us?’
My mother is one of the most beautiful and enchanting people I have ever known. She was someone who lived truly for others. She sacrificed a lot; first, for her own family as a child, as a sister and then for her husband and kids. My mother did go through several tough patches in her life but I feel very impressed that she accepted and welcomed every moment. The first time when we came to know she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s diseases, I thought that it was just another problem and she would be fine soon. I didn’t know what it meant for someone to suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Slowly, her condition started deteriorating but I couldn’t understand the true extent of it. At times, I felt that she exaggerated her pain and I couldn’t understand her plight. One day she had a fall that disabled her from walking. An X-ray of her back showed that it was a spine de-compression.
Eventually, I left my job to stay with her at home and take care of her. Even though I took that step, I still couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I would be at home, not working and feeling like a piece of furniture. Indeed, I lacked patience and understanding. I reminisced about the past, and remembered how I used to be in my teen years; the most notorious and stubborn of all my siblings. But the decision that I had taken this time, was absolutely the right one. Being home helped me get closer to my mom and to fall in love with her like never before. In those difficult years of life, my mother taught me how to be a compassionate soul, something that had been lacking in me.
As the symptoms of Alzheimer advanced, so my care-giving tasks. She was admitted to the hospital again in a span of two months. This time she aspirated and we had to rush her to Kokilaben Hospital. Inspite of three falls, she managed to recover to some extent. However, after her admission at Kokilaben hospital, her condition deteriorated from better to worse. She was now fed through a riles tube. I had never seen all of that ever before. I broke down as I thought I might lose her.
She did eventually get taken off the tubes, which was a great victory. I started studying a lot on Alzheimer’s but fate had another unpleasant surprise in store for us. Mom was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. To sum it all up; Alzheimer’s , Spine Decompression , Parkinson’s disease and Palsy is what she had been gifted with. I use the term ‘gift’ as we all should accept the fact that life is a beautiful gift, and tough times do come to give us experiences.
I started my research on Alzheimer & Parkinson. I would read daily something that could help her brain remain more active. I tried giving her Virgin coconut oil, as it is said to have ketones to enhance brain neurotransmitters. I arranged for an expert to visit with us regularly for acupressure to help her cope with her walking issue. Mom and I played with blocks, games and puzzles to keep her busy and help her become more active. She received regular massages to soothe her limbs and help her carry her weight better.
In spite of all the efforts we were putting in; somewhere deep inside me, I knew that mom’s conditions couldn’t be completely cured. However, they could be controlled to a certain extent. Although that was a sour truth, I still never gave up the thought of getting her back to normal life.
By 2013, mom crossed level 3 of the disorder. As her condition became worse, she aspirated again. She was admitted to the hospital again. She lost her speech completely. Now, she couldn’t walk or even talk. It became challenging for Dad and I to handle her as she couldn’t tell us anything, but she would keep crying or yelling all the time. This would be the case even at night. As I started sleeping with her, I couldn’t sleep as well and my mornings were turning out too groggy. The more I took care of mom, the more I experienced a role reversal in our erstwhile relationship. I loved my mother, almost like she was my child.
Everyone comes in our life to teach us some lessons and give us some experiences. Some transformations some are pleasant, and some are unpleasant. Sometimes we don’t learn in pleasant conditions, and thus hardships do advance you to a different level.
The last six months of my mom’s life were very painful. She couldn’t move at all and in few days her skin got too sensitive and this created bed sores. By now, she could only eat minced food, so I started making healthy choices for her.
Two days before she left for her journey in the spirit world, I had already started sensing and getting the feeling that she would leave me. I had also started accepting the fact that she should move on instead of facing this suffering. I prayed for her happiness and while she lay there, having a fever of 105, the doctor intimated us that she may not live and if you wish to admit her you could, but I don’t think she will recover.
I broke down this time because my intuition was coming true. I somewhere didn’t feel like leaving her, and I slept with her the whole night with a fear that she might leave me
The next morning, she was awake, and temperature had come down. I was quite happy, and after the daily chores I would sit with her read some book. By evening the temperature was high again. She could barely eat. Now, she was on a liquid diet only. And then it happened again, she aspirated, and this time it was for the last time.
Dad and I saw her losing her breath we couldn’t do anything, I lost the best gift the universe gave me. She had left her physical presence. I would like to pay a special gratitude to my Dad who’s always been there in spite of me being a tough nut to crack. An earnest gratitude to all the care taker who were available during my tough times to take care of my Mum. And to conclude I would say although my Mum is not with me physically I know for the fact I am taken care of, and she is now my angel.
I would like to dedicate the poem below to my mother:
I was born as your child,
That was when you really smiled.
You gave me the love that I absolutely deserve,
Those are the moments which are stored in my reserve.
You made the most sumptuous meals just for me,
I relished each morsel just like a bee
As, I grew up you began to be more protective
That led me to become more reactive
I fought and argued with you till I got a yes
Which got you into complete stress
As I grew a little matured
I realised all that you did was to keep me secured.
As you got old and so did I , I realised your value
Like never did I
Your illness taught me so much so
That now I feel compassionate for every soul
Now as you are not around
It’s tough for me to calm down
I miss your cozy hugs
And my feelings are now wrapped under the rugs
I miss you each day
And remember the days how our roles got exchanged
You became my daughter and Me transformed to a mother
Since you are gone I have had thousands of tears shed each day
All I wish is happiness for you in every way
I hope I have done my best in this role
I believe you are now an angel soul
Please come back to me.
I pray, that I return as your daughter in the times to be
And You my mother for births to be
Editor’s Note: If you liked Reena’s story of personal struggle and love, then do let us know in the comments below. You can read more such inspiring and heartwarming personal stories here.