Alzheimer’s was practically unheard of in the 1980s when Trudie Styler’s mum was diagnosed at the age of 54.
Trudie, Sting’s wife, recalls visiting her mother Pauline at her home in Worcestershire, and immediately noticing something was off:
“She wasn’t functioning at all. She was putting her arm through her coat the wrong way, could no longer lay the table and was obsessed with washing the same cup and saucer over and over,” she said in an interview with The Express, in the U.K. Her father Harry assumed she’d had a breakdown of some sort.
After taking her mother to London for an MRI scan, Trudie and her father Harry were told Pauline had advanced Alzheimer’s. ‘What’s that?’’ they asked the doctor.
Those initial differences Trudie noticed in her mum soon escalated into someone she no longer recognised.
“She became really thin. And she would be quite violent sometimes. All she’d want to do was go walking, she’d want to walk and walk and walk…walk away from it. It was almost as if she couldn’t find any peace within herself.”
Styler’s last memory of her mum was on the day before she died at the age of 60.
“I’d just had Mickey [her daughter with Sting]. I had Mickey in my arms and she had a pacifier and it dropped on to the ground. My mum went and lifted it up and said, ‘Here you are, Mickey’. That was the last lucid moment that she had,” she said.
After her mother’s death, Styler developed stage fright. A former Royal Shakespeare Company actress, she started noticing an increasing sense of fear with each performance. Style has just recently returned to the stage.