Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I have recieved word from a faithful reader that when she tried to leave a comment...She got this message.

"The Owner of his Journal has chosen to prevent you from making comments." 

I have no idea why ANYONE would get this message when trying to leave a comment! I have Never blocked a screen name.

Leaving a comment on my journal helps me more than anyone could know and to think that anyone is blocked has upset me.

If you have tried to leave me a comment and have gotten this computer error message...I apologize.

To Flo....I am so sorry that you got the error message. I cherish your comments and hope you will continue to read and leave a comment. Thank you, Flo for bringing this to my attention!

I will attempt to contact the journals and find the answer to this problem.


Mary Louise

Monday, November 29, 2004


Tears...While Peggy continues to disappear.

I wonder what it would feel like to have no emotion or to have no tears to cry.....like Peggy.

Crying is a purification of the mind and body. It is a necessary part of living. We cry tears of happiness and joy and tears of deep sorrow.

We cry and cleanse our souls of built up, stuffed in, damned up feelings.

I have cried many tears as I watch Peggy disappear from my life.

There are days when the tears fall freely.... without my permission.

There are days when I try to hold the tears inside and yet they creep to my eyelids, pool there and wait to slide down my face.

There are days when I get in the shower, turn the shower head on my face and let my tears mingled with the water and run down the drain.

I cry tears in a card store, reading cards and I am moved by the words that I am reading.

There are times when I would like to run in a field and scream all the tears of my life with abandon.  

Tears can slide slowly from my eyes or in a great river.

I have realized since Peggy began to disappear from my life that I am not just crying the tears of losing her.

Her illness has given me the permission to cry. A permission that I had denied myself from a very early age.

When my Mother would switch my legs for some wrong doing, I would stand there and will myself to not cry. I would repeat to myself, I will not cry, I will not cry.

I had always taken great pride in saying that I was not a crier.          I had denied myself the right to cry for many years. I had saved most of the tears of pain and loss suffered in my life. I saved all of them inside of my soul behind the massive damn that I had built.

The pain that I am feeling over losing Peggy has opened the damn of the saved tears of my life and because of her....

I am able to cry.............. All the tears of my life!

It has been a purification of my soul and a cleaning of my heart. It has been a release of the painful tears stored behind a damn for so many years.

Now, I am crying all the tears of my life while I continue to.......

Watch my Sister...Disappear.

Thank you, Peggy for giving me the permission to cry.

Your illness has set my tears free and is cleansing my heart and my soul.

You continue to teach me how to live by your dying and I thank you. I thank you for all the lessons that I am learning while I continue to watch as you disappear from my life.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Thanksgiving is a time for family.

Peggy and I shared many memories of Thanksgivings when we were growing up. She has forgotten about those special times but I have not.

 We still called each other on Thanksgiving day even after we married and moved far away from one another. The call always ended with laughter over some little something.

This Thanksgiving, I called Peggy and I was thankful that I can still hear her voice. There was no laughter when our call ended.....

 There was only Thanksgiving silence.

Peggy's memories and voice have been silenced by Alzheimer's disease and she can no longer put her emotions into words.

She can no longer put a voice to her memories or to her feelings.

I guess it could have been a sad thing for me but I was not sad when I hung up the phone.

I was just thankful that she is still on the other end of the phone line.

I was just thankful that I can still hear her voice.

I am thankful this year for the Thanksgiving silence of Peggy because she is still with us in body if not in mind.

I am thankful for the sister she was to me while I continue to watch her disappear from my life.

My heart is full of the many joyful Thanksgivings day's that we shared as sisters. My heart is happy when I think of all the Thanksgiving phone calls and all the chatter and laughter we shared during those calls.

 Peggy could not articulate her feelings this Thanksgiving but her silence was comforting and that silence spoke volumes to me.

 She was still on the other end of my phone line and I am thankful for that and for her silence..

Sometimes, words are not necessary.

Sometimes, I just need to know that my voice is being heard even though she cannot speak to me. 

Peggy may not have remembered who I was when I called her but somewhere in her soul, she remembers my voice and she remembers the laughter that we shared.

Sometimes, it feels O K to sit in the silence of Peggy and feel the comfort of home in her quietness.

Happy Thanksgiving, Peggy.

You were still with us this Thanksgiving and for that, I am thankful.

 Peggy, thank you for the gift of your Thanksgiving Silence during our call.

I know that next year...I may not be this lucky.

Next Thanksgiving, I may not be able to call Peggy.

Next Thanksgiving, I may not be able to listen with my heart to her Thanksgiving Silence.

So this Thanksgiving call was truly special because.....

I was privileged to hear the gift of Peggy's Thanksgiving Silence one more time.

I Love You, Today, Peggy!

Happy Thanksgiving 2004.

Mary Louise

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Happy Thanksgiving


A Message from





Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I was gone last week and I didn't call Peggy during my time away but I thought of her every day. I started to call so many times but felt that I needed a break. I felt guilty about not calling....

On the plane ride home, I wondered if Peggy missed my calls. I knew in my heart that she didn't but still held on to the hope. She had no idea who I was when I called yesterday. I asked her if she was excited about Thanksgiving and she said, yes. I finished the call by telling her that I loved her today and would call her tomorrow.

I remember so many wonderful Thanksgivings at 1805 St. Charles Court when we were growing up. I can still smell the smells of home on Thanksgiving morning. It was a big deal to watch the Macy's Parade as we set the table for a 3:00pm dinner.

Peggy and I always got so excited when Santa came in at the end of the parade. It meant that the Christmas season had begun in our house.

It is still that way to me today. I see Santa at the close of the parade and still get that old, childhood thrill.

I am thankful that Peggy is still with us this Thanksgiving, if only in body.

Peggy's illness has tipped the scale of my daily living from one end to the other. I have thought a lot about what is important and what is not.

I used to spend hours cleaning my house and fussing about small things that had to be done. I wanted everything just so and worked for hours to make it happen.

Now, I know that dust on tables and the floor is not the end of the world. I know that having everything just so... is not where I want to spend my time.

Peggy's slow disappearance has taught me about the important things in my life.

The people are most important...not the things.

I used to get so concerned about the house being perfect that I would forget the feelings of the people around me. I would make everyone miserable with my idea of perfection.

Now, I am more relaxed, much more aware that people and not a perfect house is what is most important.

Peggy continues to teach me by having Alzheimer's disease. She continues to teach me as she disappears from my life.

The whole balance of life has been turned upside down. I am now in a struggle to find a good balance in my life.

I went from perfection in my house to letting everything go so that I could write.

Now, I am struggling to find a balance between what is important and what is not.

Do I want to be remembered for a perfect house and perfect meals and perfect appearance...

Or do I want to be remembered as a relaxed, welcoming spirit?

I am desperately trying to find my way in my search for balance in my everyday living.

I went from one end of the spectrum to the other. It is as if Alzheimer's put weights in the balance of my daily living and tipped the scales too far... the other way.

I am still trying to understand what is important and what is not important to do every day.

It is interesting how watching my sister disappear has made me look at the life that I was living. It has made me look at the stress that I was living

I am not sure how to accomplish living in the middle and keeping the balance in my life.

I was not even aware of how much I had gone to the other side of the spectrum until last night when my husband and I talked.

Now, I will try to crawl back to the middle of life and attain some balance as I continue to watch Peggy disappear.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Thank you for teaching me.... By losing you.

I will find the needed balance....If not today....one day soon.

Mary Louise

Sunday, November 14, 2004


This will be my last entry until next week. I am going on a trip and will write when I return.


When I think of Peggy now, I do not see her the way that she looks now. I see Peggy the way that she was. She always had a huge smile, green eyes shining with compassion and a laugh that would fill up a room.

It is interesting how our minds work. When the word cat is spoken, we do not think of the letters...C A T...we see a picture of a cat in our mind.

Now, when I think of the word, Alzheimer's disease...I see Peggy in my mind and not the spelled word, Alzheimer's.

When I think of Peggy, a video of memories run through my thoughts like a movie.

I see her well and happy, laughing and excited about life. I don't see the person who has changed because Alzheimer's has taken over her body.

Our mind protects us from things that are too hurtful and fearful to see over and over again when we think. So, I go to the positive pictures that I have stored in my memory bank.

That is where I go when I remember all that we have shared.

One year we went shopping for Christmas. We came home, arms loaded with bags of gifts.

That was the year that we gave each other the same sister coffee cup. She would always ask me if I was drinking coffee from our cup if she called in the morning. It became a big joke between us because we chose the same cup out of all the cups in all of the stores we visited that day.

I still will not drink coffee out of any cup but that one every morning.

I always smile when I read the words printed on the cup before I take that first sip of coffee.

The words on the cup say....

My Sister...My Friend:

Life made you my sister but you're more than that.

You're my forever friend because of the beauty inside of you.

No one will ever understand me and stand by me quite the way that you do.

How much more I appreciate you now than when we were kids!

I am trying to live the words on the cup that she chose for me that Christmas.

When the coffee is half way down in my cup...I think...Is my cup half empty or half full this morning?

I am trying to understand her and stand by her while she continues to disappear from my life.

I will always cherish my coffee cup and I think of Peggy every morning when I drink my coffee.

I just wish that she remembered all the jokes and fun we had that Christmas over those silly, wonderful coffee cups.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, November 11, 2004


 My talk with Peggy this morning was different.

The sitter told her that it was her sister, Mary Louise on the phone.

When Peggy took the phone, I noticed a sadness in her voice.

I told her who I was and asked how she was doing today.

She said, good.

Peggy, I said, you don't sound like you are good. You sound sad. Are you sad today?

Yes, she said. I am sad.

Will you tell me why you are sad? I really want to know.

Yes, was her reply. But then the silence. I waited through it and finally said,

Peggy, talk to me about the sad that you are feeling this morning.

Then she paused for a long time trying to find the words. Then she said, Sheree and the babies are here. Brooke and the babies are here. I don't like to go to church today.

It sounds like a lot is going on at your house. Can you tell me more about being sad?

She was trying so hard to put sentences together but could only say single words that did not go together. After she finish the jumbled sentences I said to her....

You do have a lot to deal with today, Peggy.

Can I help you with anything?

Her answer made me feel good and sad at the same time.

She said, no, I'm good because Mary Louise is here with me and she makes me good.

I said, Mary Louise must love you a lot, Peggy.

She sure does, was her reply.

She stays with me and makes me smile.

I'm glad that she is there with you.

Me too!

Mary Louise really loves you, Peggy!

I know she does cause she makes me laugh when I feel sad.

Tell Mary Louise hello for me, O K?

O. K. I will.

Peggy,  make sure and smile for Mary Louise today because that will make her very happy.

I know it does. I will.

 Good. I love you, Peggy.

I Love you too, Baby.

My sadness over this conversation is that she didn't know that she was talking with Mary Louise.

The happy part of my talk with Peggy this morning is that she feels that I am with her and that I can still make her smile.

Her voice sounded better when we hung up the phone. There is some comfort knowing that Peggy feels that I am close to her and that I love her. Some where in her mind...she still remembers love. Somewhere in her mind... she still remembers me.

It is a gray, rainy day here...outside and in my heart but.....

I am smiling because Mary Louise is with Peggy on this day in her life. She is with her and she remembers how much I love her. Somewhere in her mind she remembers all the smiles that we have shared. Somewhere in her mind, Peggy and I are still sharing all the smiles of our lives..

That is a special gift from Peggy on this gray, rainy day in Ohio.

I Love You Today, Peggy!  and......

I am smiling too!

Mary Louise



Tuesday, November 9, 2004


You have an interesting take on this old issue. 

 I'm sure it does feel like Peggy's going down with the ship so to speak.  She laughs and seems on the surface to be whole and full of life but you know it's just a matter of time until the ship will go down for the final time. 

 I understand this metaphor as it applies to Peggy but what does it say to you. 

What happens to you when the ship goes down?  I love you.  JEH

Dearest John,                                                                                                   

When the ship finally goes down, I will let go of the ships railing and of Peggy and swim to a life boat.

When I am safely in the boat, I will watch the sea where Peggy slipped under the water and cry all the tears of my life.

  Then, I will turn my face towards the shore and wait to be  rescued.  

My faith in God and my love for you will be my life preserver when Peggy finally slips under the surface of the water.    

I will always look to the sea and remember the place where Peggy lost her fight and drowned ...   

I will carry a sadness in the empty space where she had lived in my life. But there will also be smiles and joy for the closeness we shared while we floated on the sea of our sisterhood!  

 The days that Peggy and I shared growing up and the fun we had together as adults will be my music and the band will play on in my life after she is gone.....  

 I would never let Peggy slipping under the water of Alzheimer's disease drown me as well.  

My life will still hear the music and I will still love the sea after Peggy is gone.    

I will always hear the music of our lives as Sisters....  

AND I Will....    

Dance the dance of life in Her Honor........  

And the Band Will Play On~~~~~  

 I Love You, John!  

I Love You Today, Peggy!  

Mary Louise

Monday, November 8, 2004


This morning when I talked with Peggy, I decided not to fill in the empty spaces in our conversation.

I wanted to see if I was rushing to words so quickly that I was not giving her enough time to respond.

This was our phone time this morning.....

Hi Peggy, this is Mary Louise.

Hi and then there was...silence....the dreaded silence.

This is the place where I get uncomfortable and start chattering away.

This morning, I just let the silence fill the minutes.

How are you today?

Good and then silence...

Peggy, do you know who this is?

Yes, and more silence.

Who am I, Peggy?

 When I ask her this question, I get very nervous.                    There is a place within me that still hopes that she will say my name. If she doesn't answer right away, I usually start the nervous chatter.

This morning, I just listened to the silence.

After a minute that seemed like hours, she said, Ummm. Trying to come up with a name.

I usually jump in at this point and say, it's Mary Louise Peggy, your sister.

But I resisted and held the phone and listened to the silence and tried to rest in it's quiet.

Not helping Peggy goes against everything that I am as her sister but today.

 I needed to listen...

I needed to listen to the silence and try to feel comfortable in it's power.

It's not what a person says that is most important, it is what they do. Peggy held the phone to her ear in the silences and didn't hang up.

I knew that she was on the other end of the line and I am learning to accept that she does not have the words to express her feelings any longer.

Today, I did not fill the silences for my sister.

I just listened and didn't try to change the silence for either of us.

I thought back to the times when we were young girls and talking wasn't allowed. We would still communicate with our "Love You Mean it" sign... using our fingers to make the square.

 I knew that Peggy held the phone to her ear and heard my voice. I knew that even though she could not remember my name....

That there is still a special bond........


The Power of the Silence between us.  

     I'm making our " Love You...Mean It" sign in silence...knowing that Peggy and I never needed words to communicate our love as sisters.

I Love You Today and Mean It, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Friday, November 5, 2004


Peggy was happy this morning. Her voice had a lilt to it and she was laughing. It was as if she had a private joke that she couldn't share with me.

Even though I told her my name and that I was her sister...she had no idea who I was and that creates an empty place inside of me.

I asked her what was making her so happy today and she said that it was a good hair day.

It feels good to hear her familiar voice and it feels sad to know that she thinks that she is talking with a stranger.

Sometimes, she sounds so normal that I want to scream at her and say...Stop this act, Peggy! It's not funny!

I know that it is not an act and that she can't help what Alzheimer's has done to her mind. It is just so frustrating to hear her sound so happy when I am in such pain.

Sometimes, after a call like today, I get angry and vow that I will not call again and feel so completely shut out. I lecture myself and decide that I will not keep making these calls to Peggy.

Then, I remind myself that I am the healthy one here and need to quit feeling so sorry for myself. I just miss her so much and it hurts to my bones to realize that she does not think of me or miss me the way that I do her.

My feelings today are like the old saying "stuck between a rock and a hard place."

Why do I find myself in this place today when Peggy was so happy?

I think it is because we cannot share our happy any longer.       There is no "two way street" in our relationship. The relationship is very one-sided and I have to carry the burden of being forgotten while she laughs. It is a laughter that can no longer be shared because I have nothing to laugh about.

It is difficult for my healthy mind to comprehend that Peggy has forgotten who we were.

I am sad and angry because I have lost my sister, my forever friend.

There is not a single thing that I can do but watch her disappear a little more every day.

It feels like I am standing on the deck of The Titanic. The ship is sinking, the music is playing, all the life boats have been filled and are in the distance.

Here I stand, hanging on to Peggy and the railing of the huge ship as it continues to sink...

 Here I stand, waiting for the cold water of Alzheimer's to wash Peggy down into the sea.

Here I stand.......

While The Band Plays On......

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



Thursday, November 4, 2004

Sitting on the Dung Pile

Today...There are no words to express how I am feeling about losing Peggy. The words are inside of me but cannot find their way to the page.

This entry was written eariler this year and is worthy of a repeat because it describes my mood today.

Watching Peggy disappear from Alzheimer's disease is like sitting in the middle of a huge dung pile. 

The stench is over powering and the dung clings to my body.

 I know that I should get up and wash the dung off but when I try to stand up...the dung pulls me down again like quicksand.

So, on a day like today...I Just Sit in It!

I sit in it because Peggy has forgotten me!  And because....

I Can't Remember..... to Forget!

I miss you, Peggy.... More than you can remember!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, November 2, 2004



What a privilege!

I was very proud to go and stand in a long line to cast my vote this morning.

I have never witnessed such a large turnout at the voting place. It made me feel good and I know that who ever wins...

It will be the word of the people..

Peggy can no longer go to the voting place and make her choice known by voting.

I was thinking about that as I stood in line.

So, everyone who can and is healthy enough...


It is a right and the privilege of being a United States citizen.

Peggy can never vote again but ...

You Can!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Monday, November 1, 2004


Today, I look out of my window and see a cool, rainy day with gray skies. The trees are almost bare and it looks very lonesome.

I remind myself that above those gray clouds, the sky is blue and the sun is shining..... I just can't see it from my vantage point.           I must trust that it is there and that I will see the sunshine again.

The Peggy that I now know is dark and gray with no blue skies.  The leaves on the tree of her mind have fallen to the ground.       The sunshine no longer glows from her green eyes.

What I struggle to keep in mind is that the sun that was Peggy is still shining... I just can't see it from my vantage point!                  

 I trust that it is still there and that I will see it again someday.

I am like the weather looking out of the window of my soul.  Cloudy and gray today with very little sunshine in my heart.

Though this day is gray, I know that it needs to be lived and appreciated for its unique beauty.

I have to live and understand what the gray part of life feels like or how could I learn to appreciate the sunshine in my life?               I know that if there is sunshine..there are also shadows.

Peggy brought a lot of sunshine to my life and now, I must remind myself that she is still shining......and I am standing in the shadow of her sunshine.

Shine on....Peggy~~~~I know that the sparkle that made you who you were is still in there somewhere and shining brightly........

I just can't see your shine from my vantage point... in the shadows!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise