A Forgetful Songbird

HomeBlogA Forgetful Songbird

This article is written by Tiki’s SoftWash Owner Randy Kaikula.
Tiki’s SoftWash proudly supports the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information on their work or to donate to this charity, visit this link here.

About Lourie
A forgetful songbirdLourdes B. Balogbog was born on March 8, 1940 in Lahaina, Maui. She graduated Lahaina Luna High School and has been a resident of California since 1974. Known as Lourie by friends and family, she is the proud mother of five children: Tony, Roger, Jerry, Randy, and Momilani. She is “Tutu” (grandmother in Hawaiian) to six grandchildren: Jerry Lee, Michael, Mersades, Kiana, Leinani, and Nohea. She is also proud of her four great-grandchildren: Keaton, Augie, Liam, and Preston.

Doc’s diagnosis
On June 21st of 2018, our mother was diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer’s Dementia. Her doctor, who is located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, gave mom the concerning news and helped her to understand the details of this illness. A very strong woman, mom started to put this reality into perspective. Without saying a word to anyone, she started the process of preparing for what was to come.

What is Alzheimer’s Dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Now, understanding what she was up against, mom bravely explained the news to us all.

A forgetful songbird

Cruel & relentless.
After receiving this news, we were all confused, worried, and immediately left with questions. What comes next? Who will help and how do we care for mom once she can no longer function on her own? How much does this kind of care cost? Who handles all of mom’s personal affairs? And the list went on and on, but the most important question was, how will this affect mom’s life and our family? We’ve all learned a lot since the initial diagnosis, but two things have been made very clear. This illness is cruel and relentless. Over time, we’ve watched our mother lose more and more of herself. We’ve noticed a major decline in her memory and cognitive activity. This once very strong and musically inclined woman has now been reduced to a warm smile, scattered memories, and confused forgetfulness that make up her present understanding of the world around her. The cruel part is, she can no longer continue celebrating her life and family, and the illness continues to be relentless in stealing away her memories and personality one day at a time.

Mom and dad met at a chance engagement through family and friends. Having so much in common with a love of music, they hit it off immediately. Over time, mom and dad would bond through the gift of music and eventually wed. Our father, who played lead and rhythm guitar and was a singer-songwriter of country music, loved to jam with mom. And mom, who played the electric bass, the piano, and two different types of ukulele, concert and baritone, loved to write and perform songs with our father, Dean. But that wasn’t all. Mom had a beautiful singing voice and was a natural songbird. Also, being from Hawaii, she was inherently blessed with the gift of hula from her homeland. What a show these two would put on when they were in sync. They would play songs for hours without performing the same song twice. With mom’s beautiful voice and dad’s old school country licks on the guitar, they loved to play for hours together. Mom truly lost a part of herself when our father abruptly passed away at the age of 75.

However, mom endured as she always has. A proud person with a strong work ethic, she always strived to give her kids the best she could give. We watched as our mother worked multiple jobs to support her family and to make ends meet. For many years this songbird continued to sing and bring joy to us all. We all were proud of her as she finally reached a point in her life where she could enjoy herself physically, spiritually, and financially.

With all that mom has accomplished in her life, she lost it all to this horrible and selfish disease. It absolutely tears us apart, knowing she and we will never enjoy her voice and musical talents again. She’ll never be that songbird she used to be. She has since lost her ability to remember songs or play her ukulele and any other instruments she used to play. She has lost the ability to make decisions for herself, her ability to drive the car she was proud of, and ultimately, her freedom. She can no longer live on her own. Mom was eventually moved into a memory care facility in Rancho Cucamonga where most days, she sits and visits with fellow peers who are inflicted with the same diminishing disease. This illness has completely stolen the life of a beautiful soul who deserves better.

A few good notes
Nowadays, we can only hope that progress is made with Alzheimer’s Dementia. We can only be thankful that mom is here with us, be happy for the memories and the love she can still give in her own way, and be proud of her musical talents that we cherished so much. So us kids will continue to sing her songs, play her ukulele, and help her remember, so her story continues on a few good notes.

Did you know?
Did you know that more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s? This is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of cases. About 1 in 9 people (10.7%) aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn More

Tiki’s SoftWash proudly supports the Alzheimer’s Association. For more information on their work or to donate to this charity, visit this link here.