I live in Texas, but my entire family lives in Mexico. In 2005, I went with my children to visit my parents, and I noticed some strange behavior in my mother. For example, she insisted on wearing my skirt. Then she started dancing in front of us and laughing uncontrollably – like a hysterical laugh, something very scary.
My sister took her to the doctor last year, and my mother was diagnosed with dementia. In August 2006, my father died at home in front of my mother. He died of natural causes, but it was kind of a violent death, as he started bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears. He had a prostate infection, and when a nurse came to change the catheter, he developed septicemia and pneumonia and then had a heart attack.
Before his death, my mother was “normal”: She could recognize people and names, though she was forgetful and would lose things. Minutes after he died, she wasn't able to remember names or even her own home. She was in total denial of my father’s death, and at the funeral, she was saying that the person in the casket wasn’t her husband. She insisted it was her father. Since that day, her illness has gotten worse. She lives with profound grief for the loss of her parents, but she doesn't remember losing my father.
I have visited my mother three times since my father passed away, and she never recognizes me. She has turned into a cranky person who exhibits violent behavior. She insults people and hits them. She hides things. She wraps everything in toilet paper. She does so many things she never did when she was OK. I feel desperate and in pain seeing my mother like this.
This illness is terrible and devastating. We have to do something to find a cure.