My mother passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

She has not recognised any of us, her children, for the past 7 or 8 years. She has been in hospital for the last 2 years where the doctors monitored her daily and could fix any complications. She has been there in a semi-conscious state where the only sound we could hear was of her pitiful breathing.

So it is a relief that she is now gone. If she was conscious at all of her existence she would have been suffering terribly in her incapacity. I had always hoped that this was not the case and preferred her to be in a vegetative state where she was unaware of anything.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease. It slowly robs you of your memory. You unlearn everything. It then robs you of your dignity. They call it the “long goodbye”. I’ve been saying farewell to my mother for many years as she’s had the disease for almost 20 of them.

But her passing is still a full stop. One at the end of a long sentence.

She always wanted her own story written but I never got a chance to hear it all properly. The one I particularly remember though is that how as a little girl during the war she used to take the train to another town to buy bags of sugar. She would take them home and re-pack it into small packets to sell. She was a good businesswoman.

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Mama and I

She was hardworking too. Other than the stockmarket, which was one of her passions, she loved gardening. We had lots of fruit trees. She liked property too and I’m typing this in a house in KL, one of six which now sits on a piece of land she had bought almost 50 years ago.

There were 13 children in her family, from 2 mothers. There were 5 kids from her own mother, who passed away when my mother was still a small girl. Her father than re-married. She told me that it was no happy childhood.

I’m not able to write her biography. But I did write fragments of her life on bits of paper which I can no longer find, but you may find traces of her in some of my stories.

All stories, all life, comes to an end.

So let’s make our stories good ones.