Thursday, July 15, 2004



I am in Santa Barbara, Ca. I arrived last Sunday and will stay another week.

I have called Peggy every morning, as usual. It is getting harder to talk with her but she still tries.

I told her again this morning that I was in Santa Barbara and it surprises her every day.

Her world is getting smaller and smaller.  It will be sad when my other sister comes tomorrow night for Sister's Week and Peggy will not be with her. Barbara wasn't able to come this sister trip either so B. J. and I will pal around.

We decided to make paper plate faces of Barbara and Peggy and have our picture made with them. Then, all four of us will be in Santa Barbara.  Silly but fun.

I had a small taste of what it might be like to have Alzheimer's.

I was driving home from the grocery store and got lost. I didn't take my cell phone because it was charging and I was comfortable that I knew the way to the store and back home.

 I  drove around for almost an hour trying to find a familiar landmark that would point me in the right direction. I was in unfamiliar territory, driving an unfamiliar car and feeling so lost. One of my wrong turns landed me on the 101 going south with every car and truck the world... whizzing past me at 85 and 95 miles an hour. I was gripping the stearing wheel so hard that my knuckles were white!

I finally  saw a street name that I knew and got off the 101 (vowing never to return during rush hour). I found my way home and when I pulled into the garage, I pucked my lips and went ....Whew!!

I have to wonder if this was what Peggy felt when she could still drive and got lost.

Not being able to a lonely feeling and Peggy cannot find home any more.

She is lost in the freeway of her mind, driving and gripping the stearing wheel, looking for any familiar landmark that will lead her home.

She will continue to drive in the rush hour traffic of her mind for the rest of her life, looking for a familiar street name. Looking for any sign of...HOME!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


shayreen1 said...

i hope you and your sisters have fun on your sister trip.
god bless you.

caragricke said...

ML, since BJ couldn't come either you will have to make 3 plates.  We are all together in spirit.  We all talk several times a week.  Enjoy your trip and I am glad your daughters  and son will be with you.  I love you, Bar (caragricke)

pikapatti said...

I lost my Mother to Alzheimer's Disease last December after a 12 year battle.
My mother was my best friend.  And one of the sharpest, ALIVE and most interesting people I have ever known.  She was diagnosed when she was 64 and lived to be almost 77 years old with Alzheimers.  The last 8 years spent in Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes.

I remember, the first time I saw my mother wearing a Depends.  I remember the first time her brown eyes looked at me without a flicker of recognition.  Or when she stopped laughing.
I remember when she first did the "Alzheimer's Shuffle" the one where they no longer lift their feet, but shuffle across a room.  Each stage stabbed at my heart like a knife.  Each fading smile, lost words, blank eyed stare.  Left me unable to breathe or think clearly.

I once wrote a verse much like your ocean analogy, about Peggy.

It went something like this if memory serves (pardon the pun)

Momma.  You sit there in a boat on the ocean staring at me on the shore.  Your eyes helpless and wondering.  You are going on a trip...out to sea.  Without maps or logs.  Without a capable captain to steer the boat into the dark, waves.  I stand there helpless, as you pull away from the shore.  Your eyes never leaving mine.  I watch as you begin to drift further and further away...into the water.  Until, finally I have to strain my eyes to see you as a tiny speck on the horizen.

And I stand there on the shore.  I put my hand above my head and wave in one of those swooping waves that rocks your whole body.  HOPING you can see me.  HOPING you can sense my desperation, and my pain.  As I wave to let you MUCH I am going to miss you...every day for the rest of my life.  And as I stand there...thinking of you...watching you fade into the distance unable to control your fate...or mine.  I do something