Friday, December 31, 2004


I have discovered while watching Peggy disappear that....

There is a big difference in being alive and living.

Peggy is still alive but without the living of life.

This is another lesson that Peggy has taught me. It is important to live every day and not just get through the day. It is important to live and not just exist.

So, my New Years Resolution is to make a conscience choice to live and not just be alive.

Thank you, Peggy.

Happy New Year!

Tomorrow will be 2005...A new year to live life to the fullest while it is still mine to live.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Thank you for another lesson to take into the New Year...2005!

I Miss You!

Mary Louise


Thursday, December 30, 2004




Smile..though your heart is aching.

Smile even though it's breaking.

When there are clouds in the sky..You'll get by.

 If you smile through your fear and sorrow..

Smile and maybe tomorrow..

You'll see the sun come shining through...For You!

Light up your face with gladness.

Hide every trace of Sadness...

All though a Tear may be ever so near...

That's the time you must keep on trying..

SMILE, what's the use of crying..

We'll see that life is still worth while...


We love you today, Peggy!

We miss you're smiling face!

We will all smile for you!

Betty Jean, Barbara, Johnny & MaryLouise

Monday, December 27, 2004



I wonder what it would be like to live in the place called "Just Is" like Peggy does!

I wonder what it would be like to forget Christmas or to forget my life!

 I admit that sometimes it would be nice to forget the pain that I have experienced.  But if I forgot the pain, I would also forget the lessons learned from the pain because everything would be erased. The pain and joy that I have experienced  have been great teachers and are helping me live a fuller life!

Peggy is getting worse and I am aware that one day she will not be able to talk to me. I cannot imagine not hearing Peggy's voice in my life.

I continue to try and wrap my mind around the concept of no past or future.  We are all a combination of our pasts, our present and our futures. Those memories dictate how we live our lives every day.    

Peggy doesn't seem to be scared or afraid at all.   She has no fear of what will become of her as she slides into Alzheimer's Disease  more every day. I am thankful for that and that she is living in a happy place called "Just Is."

Peggy's "Just Is" place is a place where she is content and happy.                               

In her Place.. She is the one who decides who visits with her during the day. There are only invited guests. There are only guests that make her happy.

I am thankful that Peggy's "Just Is" place is a safe and a happy environment as she continues her journey and slowly disappears.

Some times, I would like to knock on the door of her mind and have her invite me inside so I that I could visit and understand what she is feeling..


She Lives in a "JUST IS" place where she has Forgotten...


I Live in a Place Where...


I Love You Today, Peggy

Mary Louise

Thursday, December 23, 2004


What kind of gift do you give someone who doesn't remember who you are or what you meant to one another?

I struggled while thinking of a gift to give to Peggy this Christmas.

She doesn't want or need material things. She doesn't remember what a gift is any longer. She doesn't remember Christmas or me.

So,  after a lot of thought, I decided to give her gifts that are .....Tied with Heart Strings!

I will give her the gift of my laughter.

I will give her the gift of my time.

I will give her the gift of my remembrances.

I will give her the gift of my care.

I will give her the gift of my love.

I will give her the gift of pictures.... from our past as Sister's.

I will give her the gift of my voice every day.

I will give her gifts that cost no money and are not material in any way because Christmas is a time for gifts from the heart.

The best Christmas gifts are always tied with Heart Strings!

I remember when my children were small and they gave me gifts tied with heartstrings!

They had pride and joy on their faces as they presented their gifts to me.

A hand drawn picture.

 A figure molded from clay.

 A hand sewn apron.

A toy Raccoon glued to a wooden spoon. 

I especially loved the wad of masking tape that was covered in sparkles!

My heart sang when I received those gifts from my children's hands on Christmas' long ago.

So now, I must think of gifts to give my Sister, who is a small child again in many ways and needs........


I love you Today, Peggy!

Merry Christmas Eve  2004

Mary Louise

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


One of my favorite books is "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.  

The Velveteen Rabbit is a book about becoming REAL!   

A little boy received a stuffed rabbit for christmas.The rabbit was beautiful, his coat was spotted with brown and white. He had thread whiskers and his ears were lined with pink sateen.

The little boy fell in love with his rabbit. One day, the Rabbit asked the Skin Horse, the oldest toy in the nursery, What is REAL?  

The Skin Horse replied..REAL isn't how you are made!         It is a thing that happens to you. It happens when someone loves you for a long time, not just to play with but really loves you!

Then, said the skin horse, you become Real! 

The rabbit didn't notice, as years went by, that his velveteen fur was getting shabby and his tail had become un sewn or that the pink of his nose had been kissed off, his whiskers had been loved off and the pink sateen of his ears had turned gray.

The boy thought his rabbit was still beautiful. 

His rabbit had become REAL and when you are real...

Shabbiness doesn't matter.

A Loved one is forever real and beautiful.   

Peggy has changed but she is still beautiful to me!            She is my velveteen rabbit!

She is teaching me to be real in my everyday life.

It is difficult to be real while I watch Peggy disappear but her disappearance is helping me to emerge.    

I Love You Today, Peggy.   

Merry Christmas 2004    

Mary Louise



Monday, December 20, 2004


My Mother had five children.

I was the first to move far away from Alabama and home. I'll never forget my first Thanksgiving away from home and family.

Later, Mother told me that there were 5 parts to her heart and a part of her heart was missing on that Thanksgiving.

Being young, I thought..Motherrrr, you had everyone else there!

It took age and gained wisdom to know exactly what she meant when she made that statement.

This Christmas, even though I have everyone that I love around me.........

A Part of my Heart is missing.

It is the place where Peggy used to live and bring joy, laughter and crazy, funny presents. Like the "chicken" that we would send to one another in our Sister gifts.                                                           No one knew from year to year who would get "The Ugly Chicken".

I really miss the chicken!            

No one has gotten it in several years and so it must have been a gift to Peggy the last Christmas that she remembered.

The Chicken stopped with Peggy. Just like so many other things stopped when Peggy forgot how to remember.

This is how Alzheimer's disease is especially vicious. The person that is missing in my heart this Christmas is still alive.

Peggy just doesn't remember Christmas....

And she doesn't remember...Me!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Sending you my Christmas Memories of "The Chicken"...with love!

Mary Louise

Thursday, December 16, 2004


It is always difficult to call Peggy and hear the flat sound of no remembrance.

 It is especially difficult during the Christmas season because I remember so much. I remember all of our Christmas times and cannot give the gift of those memories to her.

If I could give Peggy one gift this Christmas it would be a pair of  velvet shoes. 

She could put the shoes on her feet and hear the crunching of the snow as she walked back to her memories.

The velvet shoes would leave a path of footprints in the snow that could would lead her back home again, back to the place where her memories are waiting for her.

Back to the memories of................

Christmas and back to the memories of love.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Merry Christmas.

Mary Louise

Friday, December 10, 2004


I have been shopping for Christmas and searching for the perfect gifts for those I love.

 I walked through the stores at the mall and looked at all the wonderful gifts that I could buy. I took my time because these will be special gifts that will be opened on Christmas morning. 

While shopping, I thought about a store that I wish existed in our mall.

It would be called "The Memory Place Store".

I could go in this shop and buy my gifts for Peggy for Christmas.

I could stroll down the isles of the Memory Place Store and buy all of her memories back, wrap them and give them to her this Christmas morning.

On Christmas morning, under her Christmas tree, there would be colorful boxes, decorated with bows and glitter and signed, Love, Mary Louise.

She could open the boxes one at a time and each would contain a group of the memories that she has forgotten. 

One box would have all the stories of her childhood. Just by opening the box, her childhood memories would flood back into her brain as she sipped the coffee that she loved.

Next, she could open the gift box containing all of the memories of her teen years. She would carefully take them from the box and drape them around her neck and in a flash, all of those memories would be hers again on this special Christmas day.

 Then, she would open the next three boxes. Those boxes would have the memories of her 20's, 30's and 40's wrapped in white tissue paper. She would open the boxes one at a time and have all of those memories drift back into her mind while sitting in the light of her shining, twinkling Christmas tree.

The next gift box would contain the memories of her husband, her marriage and of her children. What joy would shine from her face as she looked at them lying in the box and she could remember all of the times they spent together. She would throw the contents of the box into the air and let the memories rain down on her and bask in the glow of their love and remember each of them once again.

The last gift box would hold the memories of our parents, her sisters and her brother. She would smile and hold the box to her heart and remember the love that we all shared. She could take each memory out and hold it in her hands. She could throw the memories around like balls, bouncing them from the floor to the ceilings while laughing.

Her eyes would be shining and brimming with tears because she could remember her life and the love that was shared at Christmas time and the rest of the year.

On this special Christmas morning...The morning of miracles, Peggy could have a miracle for one day.

For this one special Christmas Day, Peggy would get 7 beautiful boxes containing gifts of the remembrances of her life.

She would open all of "The Memory Place Store" gifts that were carefully wrapped in beautiful paper and colorful bows.

She could unwrap her past and present and remember.

She would have one day to remember what it is like to love and be loved. 

Peggy would know on Christmas day morning that even though her life is disappearing...

My love for her will never disappear! We gave one another the gift of our love for many Christmases.

Just because she cannot remember.... doesn't mean that I will forget!

Life may end but Love doesn't!

Merry Christmas, Peggy!

I Love You Today!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, December 7, 2004


I miss Peggy so much at this time of year.

She loved everything about this season.

I was feeling sorry for myself while out shopping for gifts today.

I found a present that was meant for Peggy. I picked it up and for a flash of a second I thought, I will get this for Peggy.

Then reality covered me and I put the gift back with tears in my eyes.

 I was feeling sad that Peggy will never celebrate Christmas again.    I was sad because she doesn't even know what Christmas is, what gifts are or why we celebrate this season.

I was sad because she will miss the joy of this season...

Then, it dawned on me that my sadness was just for me! 

Peggy doesn't remember anything about Christmas or the season so.....

 How can she miss it?

Peggy doesn't remember or miss this season....But

I remember....  I can remember all of the Christmases, all of the joy, all of the gifts and all of the fun during the December's in our past.

Memories of  Christmas are a great gift and they warm my thoughts and make me smile.

Peggy doesn't remember Christmas or have any memories of her past as she disappears from Alzheimer's...

So Maybe,  just maybe...this is a gift from Alzheimer's disease.

 Peggy can't be sad and miss Christmas when she doesn't remember it and what it was to us...............

She doesn't remember Mother and Daddy and how much they loved Christmas. She doesn't remember the 24th of December at 1805 St. Charles Court. She doesn't remember the night gowns we all wore every Christmas Eve.

Peggy doesn't remember what she is missing this Christmas season. I have to remind myself of that fact.

I have to remind myself that my sadness during this season belongs to me and not to her.

I am so thankful that she is not sad about missing Christmas again this year.

Peggy can't be sad over a season that.....

She doesn't remember.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Merry Christmas 2004!

Mary Louise


Monday, December 6, 2004


I talked with Peggy's sitter this morning. She said that she could not get Peggy to talk or respond in any way. It seems that Peggy has retreated into the silence of her mind and wants to stay there.

 She also said that Peggy has not eaten and will not drink anything.

My heart did a crunch and I wanted to run through the phone lines and be there for her. I wanted to put my arms around her and tell her that everything would be  O. K. just like when we were children.

I held the phone and waited. I was bracing my heart for the sitter to  say that Peggy would not talk with me.

The sitter said; Peggy, this is your sister, Mary Louise. Would you like to talk with her?  I heard a long silence that was deafening.

I squeezed the phone in my hand and said to myself...come on Peggy, take the phone, take the phone. Then, I heard her familiar voice say, hello. I said; Hey Peggy, this is Mary Louise, your sister.

I chatted for a while and then said, Peggy, you know that I love you, don't you? Yes, she answered.

Will you eat some food and drink some water when we get off the phone? Yes.                      

Do you promise me that? Yes.

I said, Peggy, I love you today. I hope you know that I do.

I do can think that, she said. She still tries so hard to talk with me.

She had made the effort to take the phone when she heard my name and that told me that somewhere inside of her soul, she still remembers me and remembers that I love her.

I never know if this phone call will be the last time that I will hear her voice.

She is fading away a little more with every call.

Peggy is disappearing and there is nothing that I can do about it. All that I can do is call her and tell her that I love her today. That just doesn't seem like enough as she fades away.

I want to do more to save her. I want to stop the thief called Alzheimer's disease from taking my sister away. I want to protect her but I cannot.

I would like to look the bully Alzheimer's in the face just like I used to do when I saw some big kid bothering Peggy.  I would be shaking on the inside when I confronted the bully but would find the courage. I found the courage because I loved my sister and wanted to protect her. I would get the most serious, determined look on my face and I would squint my eyes, like I saw in the movies and dared anyone to hurt my sister, Peggy.

This stand off worked when we were kids but it is not working with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's is the biggest bully on the block and no one can stop it from taking Peggy away. 

Not even me.... Not even when I use my most serious, determined, squinty eyed, stare down face.

Peggy, I'm so sorry that I cannot protect you from the Alzheimer's Bully but I will stay close to you and be there as you continue to disappear.

The progression of Alzheimer's disease in a brain.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, December 2, 2004


I saw a puppet show when I was a child. I didn't enjoy it even at a young age because I didn't like seeing the person standing above the small stage pulling the strings of the puppets.

The puppeteer would make the puppets dance and move, sing and jump.  I couldn't take my eyes off of the man who was pulling the strings attached to the hands and feet of the puppets.

I felt sorry for the puppets because they couldn't do anything on their own...they had to have the man pulling their strings to make them come alive.

 I would watch the puppets talk but my eyes would wander back to the man who was pulling their strings.  I watched as his mouth said the same words that the puppets did. He was in total control of their movements and whatever they did on the small stage.

He was the one who controlled the life of the puppets. They had no life of their own unless he was pulling their strings.

I think that having Alzheimer's disease would be like having a puppeteer standing above you, pulling your life strings and being in total control of your daily life show.

This has become clear to me as I talk to Peggy each day.

On Monday and Tuesday her voice was flat and lacked any emotion. She answered my chatter with emotionless one word answers.

Yesterday, she was happy and laughing when I called her.

I wonder what happens in her brain when she has the highs and lows of Alzheimer's disease?

Then, I thought about the puppeteer, the one who is pulling the strings in the stage production of her life.

The faceless puppeteer called......Alzheimer's Disease!

Alzheimer's stands above Peggy's life stage and pulls the strings that are attached to her arms, legs and brain.  Alzheimer's decides if Peggy will be happy or sad, laughing or flat.

It towers above her and pulls the strings attached to her mind. I hear a different performance ever day as we talk on the phone.

The Alzheimer's puppet show will continue in Peggy's life until she  finally breaks the strings and slips into peace. A peace where a puppeteer is not in control any longer.  

I think that it would be tiring to have something control and dictate emotions and feelings each day but I think this being free of Alzheimer's disease. 

Maybe, to Peggy....

It is a relief to have a puppeteer in control because her mind is devoid of feelings and her thoughts are scattered.

Maybe, it is a relief for her to have someone else pull her life strings and tell her how to react during the day.

Maybe, at this stage of the disease it is a comfort to Peggy to know that there is someone else in control and she can rest.

Peggy was happy this morning and had no stress in her voice. She had no idea who I was but her voice had a calm quality and she was at peace.

After I hung up the phone, I could see in my mind's eye....

The Faceless puppeteer.......... called Alzheimer's disease.

The puppeteer who continues to pull the strings of Peggy's mind.

The puppeteer who is in total control of her daily life show.

I miss the Peggy that I grew up with and the woman who was my friend.

I miss our talks and our laughter. I miss having my forever friend.

But, I am glad that she has good care and someone to make sure that her life show plays out smoothly.

I'm not sure how I will react when the curtain goes down on Peggy's life show and the puppeteer cuts the strings and sets her free.

I do know that I am thankful that I have had the privilege to play a small part in the life show called....Peggy.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise