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'Really Hard' Imelda May opens up about mother's ongoing battle with dementia

The singer-songwriter released a book of poetry entitled A Lick and a Promise today in which she pours her heart into verses about her mother Madge, who has dementia

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Imelda May (Picture by David Conachy)

Imelda May (Picture by David Conachy)

Imelda May (Picture by David Conachy)

Imelda May has opened up about feeling “grief” throughout her mother’s dementia battle.

The singer-songwriter released a book of poetry entitled A Lick and A Promise today in which she pours her heart into verses about her mother Madge, who has dementia.

Speaking to Ray D’Arcy on his RTÉ One radio show, the Liberties legend admitted that seeing her mother’s health deteriorate has been “really hard,” but the 94-year-old is still going strong.

“She’s still here,” Imelda said.

“We’re calling her Lazarus. She keeps getting to the edge, the brink of death. She’s had last rites more than anybody I’ve known.

“She has dementia, so there’s a grief in that.

“It’s really hard. There’s grief in that. Certainly initially as it’s happening.

“You often want to pick up the phone and give her news and tell her about this, and you go, ‘Oh, I’ll tell Mam,’ and you [remember]. But I tell her anyway and she responds in her own way. You find the joys with her.

“Sometimes I think dementia strips away all the unnecessary parts and you’re left with the soul of a person. So, the essence of her is still there.”

Imelda wrote a number of poems about her beloved mother in her latest collection – namely one entitled Mammy’s Dying – as well as some emotional pieces about her dad Tony and her daughter Violet.

The 47-year-old added that her dad even did a recording of some of the poems in the book.

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“She’s in this all over the place. My dad is in it, my daughter,” Imelda told listeners.

“I’ve just recorded an audiobook of this and I thought it wouldn’t be right without my dad.

“I wanted to have where it’s coming from and where it’s going. Because that’s what art is and culture is with everyone.

“You’d want to hear dad doing his recording of this. It’s just fabulous,” she said.

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