I live with my Mom (91) with first stage dementia. I'm the youngest of 3 daughters. Currently the ways I provide help are household maintenance, handling bills, preparing meals, taking to Doctors appointments, cooking, administering medication. She became a diabetic insulin dependent at 80.

Her medications are for blood pressure, statin and anti depressant. Other than that Doctor says she is fairly healthy.

My mom lost her Mom at age 4 from Tuberculosis. This left her father and younger brother. I guess back in those days the girl was supposed to take care of the males. Her father died when she was 16.

Anyway I'm grieving, and I think my Mom is too, the fact that she never had a mother. When we go to senior center memory care and they ask about the seniors parents everyone can share and I can see Mom's deep hurt. I feel my Mom has to go through this alone. No one to share the pain of losing both parents at such a young age. Her brother died at 60. Today the internet can help someone to not feel so alone.

I wish I could find a support group for Mom of other seniors that also lost their parents at very young age.

She said she decided at a very young age to become a nurse because she wanted to help others. Mom worked her entire life. She would make all the meals on Sunday to freeze for the week. Sewed all our clothes with love in every stitch. Had a garden of vegetables. Oh she was stubborn as hell to. I think because she didn't have a Mom she didn't learn boundaries (with 3 girls you can tell how well that went over) and went way over board to be sure we had "normal" childhoods where we could play.

I wish my Mom could feel a mother's love before she dies. I'll never be able to give her that.

thank you for listening

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Charlotte, I can really feel your grief as I read your words. It's important to recognize these losses, and how they influence the generations that follow. Clearly your mom rose to the occasion and then some, and now you have these amazing memories of how your mom raised you and your sisters. That she chose a path of service and integrity means that she found a way to love herself so that she could love others. It seems right to enjoy those memories with awareness of what she lost and the toll it likely took on her. I'm sure she feels your tremendous love now, which you could rightly call a "mother's love." Hugs.


Your mother sounds a brilliant lady!

It's never too late, you know. Nowadays, a child who lost her mother and then her father at such young ages would have access to counselling and support from experienced professionals. Well, even though your mother is 91 and at the earlier stages of dementia, it's not too late for her to be entitled to similar mental health support now.

Losing track of which relatives are still around, and very deeply buried memories re-emerging, were signs I noticed in my mother too. She wasn't frightened or confused, exactly - she would "check" with me that her mother was dead, for example. As though she half knew but wasn't quite sure. Sadly, what she remembered all too clearly was that "I don't think my mother liked me very much." This was unfortunately true: my grandmother did not like my mother very much and didn't really trouble herself to hide it. But the bright side was that this did give me a chance to point out that Granny's feelings were not my mother's fault, and I think that even at 89 she found the idea comforting.

As long as you keep your expectations reasonable, I think it might be an idea to discuss your mother's history with her doctor and ask for a referral to an older age psychiatrist. Mental ill health is common in older age, and such specialists don't only deal in the dementias. If your mother does need help with processing grief, perhaps that she never quite dealt with before, that's where to start.

Just a thought for you, too. You sort of *are* giving your mother a mother's love, don't you think? How much you care for her and how highly you think of her and all the sympathy you feel with her are a bright reflection of how much love you got from her. You're feeding it back.

I am sad for your mother but as you most likely know there are many here who have had difficult mothers. My mother had one. I imagine the grandmother you never knew might have been a wonderful person. Your mother created a wonderful life for her family. She accomplished motherly traits. I didn't have that in that way with my mother. I hope you can focus on all the good your mother brought to her family once she became an adult. Many only know how that may seem through the lives of others.

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