My mother is from Sarawak so my relatives from my mom’s side are all in Sarawak. I intended to visit my grandma when I was in Malaysia as it has been a really long time since I have spoken to her, and I heard from my mom and sister that she has been showing signs of dementia.
She was indeed quite different from what I remembered about her. I have put her on the pedestal ever since I got closer to her when I was 21, she was no-nonsense yet she was not harsh, and supportive. However, this time she was quite critical of, well, basically everyone. She found many faults with my mother, and would criticize her heavily in front of me. In my impression my mother is never really close and fuzzy-buzzy with her mother, but the extent of my grandmother’s criticism of my mother was surprising to say the least.
There were days where she was grouchy and would snap at me, or my cousins, or my aunt and uncle who are living with her. She would ask me the same questions several times. And then there were days she was back to the grandma that I remembered, and she would have impeccable memory.
In the beginning I was rather sad and defensive against her when she was in the aggressive mood. But then I realized how happy I was when she was back to herself. So I decided to treasure every moment that I get to spend with her, regardless whether she was grouchy or cheerful. She speaks much less now, because the perfectionist in her probably couldn’t stand making mistakes. And she knows that her memory is not as good as before.
I have to admit I wasn’t on my best behavior. I have snapped at her, been grumpy around her, ignored her. I didn’t know how to handle it. That is not an acceptable excuse, heck, it’s not even acceptable as an excuse. I hope she would forgive me. Just as she has always forgiven me for my shortcomings..
I am not sure with which mindset should I approach this situation. My uncle’s attitude towards this is, true to his nature, to accept this as part of the aging process. My mother, on the other hand, is true to her nature and wants to fight it. With medicine. With therapy. With everything that she has.