Meri pyaari Acchu mosi!

While I was going thru the most rough patches of my life, I sought answers to the most difficult question…”Why me?” It took me years of seeking and finally I found not one, but two answers.

  • Life is not just ~~ Buddhism tenet 
  • Few things in life do not have answers, they have to be accepted as facts!

And I think these two tenets best answer the early onset of ‘dementia’ of Archana mosi (aka Acchu mosi). She is all but 63 years and her condition has deteriorated at a very fast pace in the last two years.

Mosaji and mosi (my maternal uncle and aunt), have frequented our house since the time they shifted in the close vicinity. Mosaji’s good cheer and mosi’s heartwarming presence always made our day. During the days of COVID, the visits diminished. We could not meet for weeks together. And on one of the visits I noticed something – it was neither normal nor could it be termed abnormal. But there was something amiss; something noticeably amiss…only to an observant eye. 

After a few more weeks, there was further change in her behaviour and it was evident that she did not register details. She would talk out of context. Fear gripped her for no apparent reason. Eventually, the conversations about change in mosi’s behaviour started in hush-hush tones. Everyone was sure and none knew how to broach the topic with mosaji or with her children. The elders, I guess, took the lead or one of her siblings mustered the courage to speak to the family. Why am I writing about this? This point is irrelevant. Who broached the topic, how they broached the topic is all irrelevant NOW and it was irrelevant then! What was important was that we acknowledge the fact that mosi wasn’t behaving normally so that corrective action could be taken.

Mosaji in the meanwhile, was experiencing frequent refusals to do daily chores and never seen before, rebellious nature of mosi. He remained annoyed because he was unable to identify the slow but sly progress of dementia. When finally, someone spoke to him about seeking medical help, he was reluctant! Why? because ‘acts of defiance’ do not require medical intervention. Had I been in his place, I too would have shrugged it off because acknowledging the wayward behaviour as medical condition meant tumultuous times ahead… 

The children, too noticed undesirable changes in their mother’s demeanour but they were not sure. Like us, they too were scared to admit to themselves that something did not seem right.

And what about Acchu mosi herself? How did she feel about the changes in her personality? Well, I guess, none of us know. While we started noticing the changes, each one of us tried to correct her or gave her gyan…unfortunately no one listened to her! We didn’t ask her how she felt and sadly now she is not left with the vocabulary to express her feelings. To add to it, her nerve connections have gone faulty and she can’t speak coherently. She forgets easily so maybe she doesn’t even remember how she felt… How I wish at least one of us would have listened to her instead of correcting her…how I wish…!!

Slowly mosi became quiet because she had been corrected way too many times. All our efforts to ask her to talk once again, went in vain. Her confidence level had started dwindling. And last but not the least, the doctor had proclaimed right in front of her that she had dementia. In our own ignorance, we repeatedly discussed the ailment ‘dementia’ in her presence. She took it to heart and her mind registered it! So much so that when anyone asked her about her health, she would speak this sentence stressing on each word, “mujhe dementia hai!” (I have dementia). If you think she had accepted her fate easily then you are mistaken; she tried to fight it but the ‘dementia monster’ was too powerful and sinister. And the people around, out of their own inexperience, were unable to help fight it.

Archana mosi has dementia and Jawahar mosaji is the one ‘dealing with dementia’. It hasn’t been easy for him. Infact it has been equally unnerving for him. He got advices from all quarters. He sought many doctors but none gave a clear answer. Mosi was put on Allopathic medication, as a result she became lethargic and sluggish.

I have immense faith in alternative therapies and I coaxed mosaji to accompany me to these therapists. There have been occasions when I have had heated arguments with him; I felt he had to be more discreet while talking about the problem in mosi’s presence, etc., etc. BUT now I adore mosaji for the way he is taking care of mosi and himself. He has left no stone unturned to find the cure to this disease. We have accepted and he too has accepted the fate – this disease is incurable! The only option is to take good care of mosi and keep her engaged.

He has altered his lifestyle to take care of her. And the best way to do it was to take care of his own health and mental sanity. I admire him for carrying on with his daily regime to attend yoga sessions and laughter therapy. Later during the day, he tries to keep her engaged and takes her for therapy. Since the onset of dementia, he has taken mosi for his tours – something he is passionate about!

I too have accepted that this disease is incurable but still I seek answers for these questions:

  • why Archana mosi?
  • Why at such an early age?
  • What could have been done to stop the onset of dementia?
  • Can anyone have dementia or there are factors that cause this disease?

In these two years, we have searched and researched and none of the above questions have been answered adequately. So, I had to turn to the two statements stated in the beginning…

  • Life is not just
  • Few things in life do not have answers, they have to be accepted as facts!

There is another fact we need to take with a pinch of salt – Archana mosi might not remember us after sometime! So, if you know her, try and spend time with her ‘now’ when she can recognise you. Make her smile and repeatedly tell her that you love her.  It is very important for her self esteem. Do all that you can do to boost her confidence! She has become like a child – innocent and restless…awaken the child in you and engage in activities that she now enjoys. She might not speak coherently but she understands the vibes…so reach out and fill her heart with your positive vibes! Give her a hug, hold her hand while you sit next to her because a touch is much more potent than the words. She might not adhere to societal norms but she’ll adhere to every word spoken to express your love for her! It’s time to treasure every moment with her…

Advertisement

4 thoughts on “Meri pyaari Acchu mosi!

    1. Dearest Charu
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, emotions and your heartfelt observations with us all. As always you have written beautifully
      I am Achhu’s friend from childhood. We played together, grew into young women, shared our experiences.

      I knew right away at Lalima’s wedding that things were not right. My friend was not the same.

      Yes dementia is not easy for the patient or the family

      Our right brain has emotions and feelings and can perceive the vibrations

      So you are right my dear, my best wishes, prayers and love for Achhu and hope the Data parivar will come together as you all always do and give dearest Achhu the love and kindness that she needs.

      Thanks so much for your writing Charu
      Love and blessings to you
      Chitra Mausi

      Like

  1. Dear Charu,
    You write from your heart.This time you have expressed through your ever caring soul.
    I can so very well relate to your Achchu Mosi’s plight.My elder sister went through similar phases in her early seventies and her family , we siblings and friends missed out on it.Now we recall some incidences that we overlooked and let go.
    Just like your Mausaji our dear Jeejajee lived through this severe dementia phase day in and day out.Sitting with our dear Nanna ( we younger siblings addressed her so)holding her hand talking to her…regular chanting that they both used to do together continued at day time and evening time as they were accustomed to do before severe dementia set in ….he would read her poems and talk to her about how she used to write etc.
    Yes, life is just….so true.We all accepted the condition for what it was and did our best to spend time with her as often as we could and tell her how much we love her and appreciate her for her love and care.She was like a choti Maa to us all.She passed away peacefully a month back a few days after we celebrated her 80th birthday…Jeejajee and her daughters and son took care of her as a little baby towards the last few months as she appeared to be in her own world….no communication at all….It’s life of course and it just is.
    We miss her a lot.Her chirping, her spontaneous way of writing poem on spur of the moment,her delicious cooking traditional Maharashtrian food, her immense capacity to love….
    If has been very hard on the family…. but as we all accepted it as HIS divine wish…..we are in a better space to see it all in a different light….No other way…just accept…🙏

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s