Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
Hi all,
You know we all talk about our loved one with AD and are familiar with them as the sufferer of this disease.
I thought it would be nice to hear about who they were before AD. I know my Mom is not the person she used to be and that makes me so incredibly sad. That person is gone and I grieve for her but have nowhere to really put that grief because she is still here.
So here is my Mom's bio.

Mary Lou was born in West Texas in 1930. Her Dad was a mechanic and had his own business until the depression wiped them out. They then lived in the oil patch taking part in the oil boom and lived in a tent for several years. She met my Dad while a secretary at age 18, got married and raised two kids. Dad got cancer at age 40 and it took him quickly. He was a land developer at that time and Mom was left to fend off creditors and battle lawyers. She did that for 12 years before it was all settled. She is a tough tough lady! Remember that was in the 60's when women just didn't do those things.
For a few years during my childhood and before my Dad died, we lived in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and Mom started a Candy Striper program at the local hospital and also taught snow skiing.
Mom worked as a credit manager for many years and later became a sales rep for a jewelry company before she retired.
Mom has a beautiful voice and played the piano. As a child and teenager she sang at all kinds of venues and could have been a pro if she had been encouraged. She is also artistic and took up china painting after she retired, mostly painting porcelain bisc nativity sets and angels.

She has always been an inspiration to me and my very best friend. I admire her tremendously. It really makes me feel good to remember who she was.

Well, this is really short portrayal of a long life but I didn't want to get long winded. I would love to know your loved ones as only you can remember who they really are.


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Debbie, I did a similar brief history on my Mum. I gave a copy of it to the day care centre, Crossroads support club and the place she went to for respite. It gave them things to talk with her about. I think your account of your Mum is lovely. Much love, She. XX


Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
You know She, it just makes them more a person and less a victim. My Mom always said that everyone has a story. I don't think she ever dreamed hers would have such a sad ending though. That is one reason I want to highlight Mom the person, not Mom with AD for once.
Oh, another one of my Mom's catch sayings........PERSEVERE.
Boy am I using that one these days :)



Registered User
Jun 2, 2005
Los Angeles, USA
The dementia home where my mom is tries to get a feel for what their resisdents were like/interested in before they had dementia. Each resident has a "memory box" outside his door that his family can fill with reminders of who he was. Some people put mainly pictures. In my mom's I put a family picture from 1956 showing her as Mom, a small set of knitting pins because she was a Craftswoman, a miniature book because she was a Librarian, and a few pretty postage stamps because she was a Stamp Collector.

Mom was born in 1927 here in Los Angeles. Her parents split up when she was little, and that was before divorce was entirely acceptable and single mothers common. It was before the days of day-care and latch-key kids, so she went to the "Kiddie Kollege" boarding school through grade school while her mother worked to support them.

Mom went to college in the 1940s, then to graduate school to get a degree in Library Science. That's where she met my dad -- they had last names starting with the same letter and one of their professors had his students seated alphabetically. :) Dad was one of the many men going to college on the G.I. bill after the war. They met in September of 1949 and got married in January 1950.

When no baby came along for some time after they were ready, they got a dog. Shortly after they got Falstaff (the beagle), Mom got pregnant with me. She quit work shortly before I arrived, and never went back. But she was active in the parent-teacher association, and later in a broadening range of hobby and craft activities -- garden club, stamp collector club, needlework classes, art class. Several of her oil paintings decorate my house (as well as her room at the home).

So Mom came through a broken home, the Depression, the war years, rearing me, and her own mother's difficult later years with dementia, and always kept a positive outlook, which she has still not entirely lost.



Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Dad was born in Port Rush in Ireland in 1944, he was the youngest of nine children in a very very poor family. A couple of his older brothers however went to seek their fortune in cane cutting in Australia and when my father was 9 the rest of the family moved to Australia as well as it appeared prospects in Australia were far more promising than in Ireland. When they travelled from Brisbane to North Queensland in Australia they thought they were travelling to the ends of the Earth, never could they have imagined a country could be so big! My father's father died when he was 21 and the whole family was up in arms when my father refused to honour the year of mourning but instead got married to my mother, a cane farmer's daughter. They both met whilst attending tech college studying to be sugar chemists in Brisbane despite having grown up in the same small town. Originally my father had wanted to be a pilot in the air force but due to having had asthma as a child he was unable to follow this dream. If he had of been it would have been unlikely that I ever would have been born.
My father and mother returned to their small town as sugar chemists and planned their future together. At the time computers were just beginning to be used in the manufacturing sector and despite not being involved in this area when a preselected staff member fell sick on the day of an IQ exam being held to determine who would be the best people for the company to train as computer programmers, Dad was selected because the manager of the company was aware that he had been a very high achiever in his high school results. Dad apparently blew them away with his score and was sent to Brisbane once more to begin training to be a mainframe computer programmer. At the same time his first daughter was due to be born.
Dad returned not long after she was born and immediately got to work in this new technological field. He became the first man in Australia and possibly the world to develop a computer program that would enable computers instead of men to run a sugar mill, making the whole process automated. I grew up with memories of big airconditioned rooms with a unique smells full of big machines that had flashing lights and whirring wheels and scrap computer paper was what I used to practice my first drawings. My father had had a son as well as me during that time, three children over 7 years.
Over the years his career progressed. He became an Operations manager and then eventually Assistant to the CEO of the company. His life was also full of tragedy however. One of his brothers drowned in a freak accident, another became an alcoholic as a result of another tragedy where as an ambulance officer he came across the wreckage of his daughter's car that had collided with a train. During my childhood, an Uncle died of lung cancer, his son, my cousin died from melanoma cancer, an Aunt died of a brain tumour cancer and as I reached my teens my father's mother died after a long drawn out result of a stroke. The alcoholic uncle died of liver cancer no doubt helped along by his habit, and two other brothers died of stomach cancers. All that was left was my Dad and his two sisters, the three youngest in the family. One of these sisters then was diagnosed with lung cancer as well but finally someone in the family beat it. Dad got promoted to CEO and held that position for 8 years but then began to be concerned that something was wrong with him too. His brain just wasn't working like it used to. Naturally he thought he too was going to become a victim of cancer, so he began to get his doctors to perform scans of his brain. A year later doctors finally decided that Dad did not have cancer but appeared to have Early Onset Dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Dad and Mum held off from telling their children until everyone could be together, December 28 1998 (my poor brother's birthday) they finally got the chance. I remember when they sat us down and told us they had something to tell us. We all knew it would be Dad telling us he had cancer. We were shocked to discover this was not the case.
My Dad's children had all been successful, driven by his enthusiasm, and his belief in us. My sister was a teacher, my brother was a talented musician and has also published a book dedicated to Dad in recent years, myself I have been a teacher, travelled to teach in Japan, became an interpreter on return, then a manager of a tourist company and later a public servant, and soon to become an accountant. As our careers have progressed Dad has declined. In 2000 my brother was married and I remember that day vividly because Dad was unable to tie his tie, nor could he make a speech at the reception.
My Dad and mum did not give up however and in the same year they both moved to the far south in Melbourne to participate in medical trials for an Alzheimers drug. They were there for a year and a half but despite the drug having positive effects for many participants, Dad and Mum discovered in the end that Dad was one of the placebo recipient control groups and by the time Dad got the real thing the medical opinion was that his disease had progressed too far for him to get any real benefit. They then returned home and both my sister and brother moved from their homes in Brisbane so as to be near to help out. Dad got progressively worse, losing his ability to speak very early on. My partner who I met in 2000 tells me has only ever heard my father speak about 30 words altogether. We still didn't give up however, Dad 'spoke' to the Prime Minister (a remarkable feat considering his diminshed abilities) about the importance of brain stem cell research when it was being debated as to its ethical implications here in Australia and we continued to search for new medications that might help. Ebixa was discovered via the Internet before it was known of here in Australia and permission was granted via doctors and the government to receive the drug. Despite an initial improvement, Dad then again sunk very low, becoming extremely depressed and on one occasion I dropped everything to be with him to show him how fantastic he was, how important he was, for there were very grave fears he may attempt to take his life. From this point on Dad became aggressive and angry, began halucinating and 'talking' to reflections. It all became too much for Mum and he was admitted into the psych ward for a week to give her a break and to calm him and her down. We started putting dad into respite for a couple of weeks in the year and this year, when respite said they could no longer handle him he was admitted into a home full time in April, in May his sister who had survived the lung cancer died from back cancer, but Dad is unaware.

This is the story of my Dad. Apologies if I wasn't supposed to include his battle with dementia as well, but for us, it was very much part of his life and contributed to he is. Dad is a remarkable man, he alone in his family escaped his class and achieved upper middle class status. He had the IQ of a genius and has continued to fight to survive throughout this disease. He instilled in his children a belief that they could do anything they wanted to through hard work and by setting goals. He has 7 grandchildren and 1 step-grandchild, and a wife who has been left with plentiful assets in property and in superannuation, and who never had to work a day in her life until her work became his care. Tragedy should not have come to someone who so deserved rewards like he did.
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Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
It sounds like both our mothers are made of very tough stuff ! And how wonderful that the home she is in cares about the whole person!
your Dad also has led a remarkable life, I enjoyed both the before and after dimentia portions of his life, what a fighter !
My Mom is still even in this advanced stage, unaware that she has Alzheimers even though she has been told by the doctors. I don't think she ever wanted to know.

Thanks so much for sharing,

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