Saturday, December 31, 2005


I watched the ball drop...

I saw Dick Clark and the progress he has made.

I missed talking to Peggy tonight but talked to others who are important in my life.

This will be a good...New Year!

I have much to be thankful for tonight because......

I remember..

I Love You Tonight, Peggy!

I Miss You!

Happy New Year.

Mary Louise

Friday, December 30, 2005


It is hard to believe that 2005 is ending and 2006 will be beginning.

The year past has brought more changes in my relationship with Peggy.

It is more difficult to get a response from her. She speaks softly and it is difficult to hear what she is trying to say. She hangs up the phone when I am trying to talk with her. But she can still laugh!

I sent her a gold locket for her Christmas present.

I put a picture of us inside of it and her husband said that she is wearing it.

I wonder if she will ever open it to see us in happier times.

I wonder if she will know who is in the picture smiling back at her from the locket around her neck?

Our hearts are forever entwined...

In my mind and around her neck in a heart locket with a picture of us...

Just for Peggy.

I will miss sharing 2006 with Peggy but I am so glad that we had other New Years Eve celebrations together even though we were miles apart.

I will miss your phone call again this year when the clock strikes 12:00 am, Peggy.

I will miss hearing you shout.....

Happy New Year, Mary Louise!!!!

So, Happy New Year, Peggy, Just a little early!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, December 26, 2005


I talked to Peggy yesterday, Christmas Day.

When she first came on the phone I said, Hi, This is Mary Louise.

She said, OK in a small voice.

I said, Merry Christmas, Peggy!

She didn't say anything and there was silence. I asked her if she wanted to talk to me. ( Big mistake, Ha).

She said No...... and hung up!

I had to laugh at her honesty. The honesty of a child.

Her husband called me back and said, let's try this again.

Peggy took the phone and I said, Peggy, you hung up on me! You could have hurt my feelings, you know!  She found that amusing and she started to laugh.

We laughed through the rest of the call over nothing.

What a beautiful Christmas gift.

The gift of laughter from my sister, Peggy!

Judy Meggers wrote............

My sister's love is very special.

One I'll treasure through the years.

We've played and laughed together and of times shed many tears.

But through life's maze of problems,

God placed a bond of love within

To unite our hearts in wisdom

Changing sisters into friends!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Merry Christmas 2005.

Mary Louise

Saturday, December 24, 2005



Thursday, December 22, 2005


Dear Santa,

I know it has been a long time since I sat on your knee.

It seems that when we grow up, we forget to ask you for a special gift.

Every time that I see you in the mall, I want to climb on your knee and whisper my request in your ear, just like I did when I was a little girl.

I never get up the courage to approach you and so I thought that I would write you a letter to tell you what I want this Christmas.

Santa, my sister, Peggy is disappearing from Alzheimer's disease. She doesn't remember me any longer and she doesn't remember you. I know that you remember her because you have your big book of names and Peggy was special to you.

She can't ask you for anything this year and so, I wanted to ask you for a gift for her.

When you visit her on Christmas night, could you give her a gift of the memory of Christmas?

It doesn't have to be a long or big memory. Just a minute or two of the joy of Christmas.

You can do anything, Santa so please give this gift to Peggy.

Thanks Santa.

Your long time friend, Mary Louise

Peggy, I wrote Santa a letter for you. You will get a big surprise on Christmas night when he visits.

You will remember Christmas!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I called Peggy this morning to talk with her but she wasn't at the nurses station.

She continues to disappear with each passing day.

If it were not for the memories of those who love would be as if she had never lived.

I watched Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life" last night and thought of Peggy.

I also thought about myself.

What would the world be like if I had never lived? Would it be better or worse?

Have I made a difference? Who have I touched as I have lived my life? What have I done to deserve living in the time that I have been given?

I wish that Peggy knew that she has made a difference by living and that the world would be a different place if she had not been born.

No one can be perfect as we live each day but we can treat the street person and the head of a company with the same grace and dignity.

Every person weaves a story as the minutes, days and years slide past.

The question is...

What does our story say about our life?

 If we had never lived, would the people in our lives be different?

My parents, my sister's and my brother have made a difference in my life. My husband and my children have made a difference in my life.

Have I made a difference in their lives?

It's A Wonderful Life, Peggy!

Thank you for being a part of my life and for making a difference.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Merry Christmas...2005.

Dear God,

Help me to make a difference in the lives of everyone that I meet and help me to make a difference in my own.

M. L.

Mary Louise

Sunday, December 18, 2005


One week until Christmas Day.

One week to feel all of the losses of my life during this season of the year.

My parents and in-laws not being here. Peggy not being here.

If I let myself, I could just focus on all of my losses this Christmas. If I did, they would stack up like the snowflakes that are falling outside of my window.

I have made a decision to focus on the people who are still in my life this holiday.

We all have a choice.....

We can remember and be sad or we can remember and feel the joy of past Christmas' while staying connected to the present.

Who knows what next Christmas will bring. Some of the people that will celebrate with you this year, might not be with you next year.

Our minds are powerful. We control how we react to the day and all that 24 hours may bring.

I am striving to bring balance into my daily life.

When I have a sad thought...I find a happy thought to lean against it. That way, I can't fall into the sadness.

That is what I think life is..

A balance of thoughts.

I miss Peggy so much at this time of year but on a positive note...

I have my family, my other sister's and my brother who are with me in the present.

I could spend the holidays crying about the loss of Peggy or in joy because of the people who are still in my life.

I choose to live in the present this Holiday season.

Remembering the past but staying alive to the present.

Because that is what today is to each of us....

A Present!

A present to open and enjoy!

Merry Christmas, Peggy!

I Love You Today!

Mary Louise

Friday, December 9, 2005








Monday, December 5, 2005


I was watching Extreme Home Makeover last night on television.

The show was about a father and his three little girls.

The oldest girl was 6 years old and cried every time her mother's name was mentioned. Her little sister's were 3 years old and a baby in arms.

The 28 year old mother had died months before and the young father was trying to raise the children in a house that was not good.

The 6 year old girl was mature beyond her years and had written in to Extreme Home Makeover because she wanted her family to be happy again.

What struck me about the show was that only the father and little 6 year old girl cried at the mention of the Mother and wife.

The other two children did not cry when they heard their Mother's name.

Peggy doesn't cry for me like I cry for her.  Just like the two little girls  that did not cry when they heard their Mother's name, on the show last night...

You cannot cry and miss someone that you don't remember.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Saturday, December 3, 2005


Sometimes, as we live our lives....

Things happen to us that bring us to our knees.

I think that this happens so that when we finally stand tall again.....

We will be stronger in all of our......

Broken places.     ( Mary Louise Ross Harris )

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I Love You Today, John!

Mary Louise

Friday, December 2, 2005


I was shopping for Christmas gifts the other day.

I watched the people's faces as they hurried past me as I walked through the mall.

I was feeling blue and needed to see a smile directed toward me to help me through the sad feelings.

I did not see a single smile because everyone, including me, was so absorbed in our own lives, our own sadness of the season.

I made my way to the food court, found a table and sat to watch people.

There was no laughter that I could hear. The mall music was softly playing Christmas carols in the background.

Everything was decorated and ready for Christmas except...

The people in the mall and......


I am in a search for my Christmas spirit this season and my shopping trip to the mall made it very clear to me the the spirit that I was searching for that day was not to be found in...

The mall.

The spirit that I am searching for this year cannot be bought, wrapped and given to me.

My Christmas spirit has been covered under my grief and pain.

The grief of many losses and the pain of knowing that I can't change what is...

My spirit this season can only be found inside of me.

I went back to the mall to try an experiment.

I didn't look at the faces of the people who passed me hoping that they would give me the smile that I needed from them.

Instead, I gave my smiles to their faces.

I bought a gift in a store and as I turned to leave the store, I said Happy Holidays to the sales person and she smiled back at me.

I helped a lady pick up her coat from the floor and she smiled and thanked me. I said; Happy Holidays and she said, thank you and smiled back at me.

What I learned in a few hours in the mall was.....

You cannot wait for other people to give you the spirit of the season.

You have to give of yourself and when you do, the smiles will come from the faces of strangers and warm your heart. Giving of yourself brings the spirit of the season back home where it belongs.

If you are searching for the spirit of the season this year...You will find it when you give your spirit away.

It's amazing how the smiles come back home when you open the door of your heart and welcome others inside.

I Love You Today Peggy and I miss you this Christmas season.

I miss your smile this year but I did see your smile in so many faces at the mall when I took the time to give my smile away.

Mary Louise       A work in progress

Always remember to forget the things that made you sad.

But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.

( Elbert Hubbard )



Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Dear Peggy,

Your favorite season is on the way! I know how much you loved the Christmas season.

I remember the Christmas that we gave each other the same "sisters" coffee cups! We had such a good laugh when we opened our gifts and realized we had bought the same cup for one another.

I'm sorry that you can't remember that Christmas because it was a special time for each of us.

I also miss talking to you on the phone at this time of year. We always fused a little about our husbands and wanted them to get in the spirit of the season like we did.

I am glad that I still remember our Christmas' as children......I am sad that you cannot bring those memories up to warm your heart during this month before Christmas.

This will be a happy month for me. You, of all people know how I really get into the decorating and gift buying.

Peggy, If I can find a store that sells memories........

I will buy all of your memories back for you.

They will be under your Christmas tree wrapped in bright red paper and a fluffy green bow and the card will say, this box contains all of Peggy's memories.

So, as I go about the month, getting ready for the happiest time of the year........I will hold you and all of our memories in my heart.

This is the time for miracles so........

Maybe, you will find a package under your Christmas tree from me!

It will say....

To Peggy from Mary Louise

Merry Christmas 2005!

When you open the box and pull back the white tissue...

You will be able to see and hold all of your forgotten memories on Christmas morning!

Just one more time.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, November 27, 2005


My husband and I went to a funeral home last week for a viewing.

The man who had died was in our church. He was jovial, fun and always had a story to tell.

His face always lighted with a smile when he saw us and his eyes twinkled with mischief.

We walked up to the casket in the dimly lit room and the smell of the flowers was over powering.  When I saw him lying there....I knew that he was no longer in his body. His spirit was gone and the person who laid there was just a shell.

It reminded me of what Alzheimer's disease does to a person, what it has done to Peggy.

It moves into the brain and takes away the spirit, until the person is just a walking shell, empty of emotion. All of the spirit that made the person who they gone.

This is how Peggy is today.

She is just an empty shell of the person that she once was.

She is like the man from our church except she is still walking around, breathing and existing.

I think that a definition of a patient of Alzheimer's Disease would be...

The walking dead.

It is a somber reality that makes me angry.

Alzheimer's took the Peggy that I knew away but left her to live out her life with no memories.

Roxanne Brown said;

Sisters---- They share the agony and the exhilaration.

As youngsters, they share Popsicles, chewing gum, hair dryers and bedrooms.

When they grow up, they share confidences, careers and children.

Some even chat on the phone for hours every day.......

That is what Alzheimer's disease has taken away from Peggy and

From me.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I just wish that you remembered your life.

I just wish that you remembered me and that I love you.

I just wish........................................

Mary Louise



Friday, November 25, 2005


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

Another Thanksgiving, with only memories of the happy times that Peggy and I shared at the family table. The shared times that we thought would always  last and we were sure that we would always be around for one another

Another Thanksgiving to give thanks for....

The memories of Peggy.

Another Thanksgiving to....

Witness her disappearance from my life 

I Love You Today, Peggy!  Happy Thanksgiving 2005!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I am thankful this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for the love of my husband who has stood beside me all these years and supported my choices.

I am thankful for my daughter's and my son's who grew up to be wonderful people. I am thankful because they are productive adults in spite of my mothering at times.

I am thankful for my grand children who bring such joy and remind me, when they are visiting and running around...that I am getting older!

I thank each of them....Jordan, Christopher, Michael, Cameron, Lauren, Caleb and Richard for keeping me young at heart

I am thankful for the opportunity to Watch my Sister, Peggy disappear. She could have died suddenly and I would not have had the opportunity to say good bye to her for so many years.

I am thankful for all of the people who read my words about Peggy and leave encouraging comments that are helping me to heal.


More aware of what you have than what you don't.

Recognizing the treasure in the simple...a child's hug, fertile soil, a golden sunset, a walk in the snow or rain.

Relishing in the comfort of the common.    ( Max Lucado )

This Thanksgiving, I bow my head and give thanks........

I Love You Today, Peggy!  

 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Peggy used 3 word sentences when I spoke with her on Sunday night.

That is rare now and it was good to hear.

I told her that I missed her and she said; You Do? Good!

Her voice was strong and she seems happy.

The holiday's make me miss Peggy more than ever.

I find myself tearing up when I hear certain Christmas songs.

I have so many wonderful memories of our shared holiday's together and I must draw on those.

I refuse to let her disappearance ruin the happiness of the holiday's!

I have to do this or Peggy just might find me and hit me over the head with a baseball bat! (smile).

This was her favorite time of the year and we will share it together....

 In memories.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Weekend Assignment #86: Who are you thankful for -- who you won't be able to spend this Thanksgiving with? This is a chance to tell us about the people you care about who will be far away from you this holiday, or who have passed on but remain in your heart.

  I have been Watching Peggy Disappear for 7 Thanksgivings. I never get accustomed to the fact that she is gone, especially during holiday's.   Peggy loved Thanksgiving and Christmas and was the life of the party.   I miss her always but especially during this time of the year!   I Love You Today, Peggy! I will miss having you near next Thursday!   Mary Louise

Thursday, November 17, 2005


AOL took it upon themselves to put advertising at the top of all AOL journals without permission. If I had wanted to advertise, I would have written in a Blog that pays for advertising space in a journal.

I was insulted  when I saw the adds flashing above my words  about Peggy and they feel intrusive.

It made me think of Alzheimer's disease and the way it intruded it's self into Peggy's life.

She didn't ask for Alzheimer's to come into her mind, it just came and took over.

She wouldn't have wanted it to cover her brain with it's on agenda but it did.

Peggy is now a walking billboard for Alzheimer's disease, an advertisement for what it can do to a mind. 

I am angry about this intrusive move into my space by AOL. I pay money  to AOL every month for the privilege of using my journal space as I see fit.

This journal was written to express my questions, my grief, my pain and my sense of loss.

It is written to explain how a young vibrant woman could end up in a nursing home, not knowing who she is and remembering her life.

This journal was not meant to be a flashing advertising bill board for AOL.

I need to be angry at someone for the intrusion of Alzheimer's disease into my sister's life, into my life. I need to be angry that AOL has intruded my journal with it's agenda into my journal space.

So, AOL will get my stored up anger!

I'm sure that a giant like AOL is shaking in their corporate boots at the thought that I am angry about being used in this manner.

How dare they use my sister and my journey to advertise!

I had permission to start this journal about Watching My Sister..Disappear

AOL did not ask for my permission to place these adds at the top of my journal.

Peggy cannot voice her opinion about anything any longer and I have been trying to be her voice.

AOL...Hear this.....At this point in my journal writing, you have become the definition of intrusion.

INTRUSION  n. interruption, forced entrance, trespass, intervention, meddling, encroachment, invasion, overstepping, transgression, nose-in, horn-in, muscle-in; see also INTERFERENCE.

You, AOL crept into my space and wrote your agenda above my words.

Just like Alzheimer's disease crept into Peggy's mind, took her free will away with it's intrusion into her life.

Hey Peggy, we still have our spunk!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I was upset when I saw the Add Banner across the top of my journal!

It is tacky and offensive!

AOL did not ask permission to do this to our journals.

I apologize to all who read my words and have to see the add banner across the top of my journal.

If you also have feelings about this contact... 

And tell them what you think!

I know that Peggy wouldn't like it one bit!

Pretty soon, we will be putting add banners on our babies if we don't stop this assault of advertising on our eyes and minds!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, November 14, 2005


I talked with Peggy last night.  Her voice was strong and she said that she was happy. I could tell that she had no idea who she was talking with and that still stings my heart.

She still can not make a sentence as she talks and I find myself talking faster to cover up the empty spaces.

Everything was going fine until I asked her how Mary Ellen ( the doll that I gave her ) was doing. I asked her if she held Mary Ellen and if Mary Ellen was a good baby.

The moment that I said the word "Baby", Peggy started whispering and laid the phone down and walked away.

Her husband said that she whispers about babies a lot.

I wonder what is going on in her mind when the word baby is mentioned?

I'll have to remember not to say baby again.

It is difficult to talk to her and watch every word that I say.

I want to make her feel better, not worse and I feel like I made things worse last night.

I love my sister so much and it feels strange to admit  that I  really don't know her any longer.

I know who she was before I started watching her disappear. But now, she is a stranger with a familiar voice and I am a stranger to her.

I am a strange voice on the other end of the phone line who calls and asks about her day.

I know what it feels like to be with thousands of people and not recognize a single face.

I know what it feels like to be in a strange city and not know my way around.

I know what it feels like to be sick and to be alone.

I know what it feels like to not understand instructions and give up on a project.

I know what it feels like to have children chattering and asking questions while trying to complete a task.  I am not a multi-task person. I have to focus my attention on one task at a time and when that is not possible, I make mistakes.

I know what it feels like to be in a country and not understand the language. I remember how frustrating it was to try and get people to understand what I was saying to them.

I know what it feels like to be in so much pain that I feel numb. I know what it feels like to try and explain the level of pain that I was feeling to another person.

I know what it feels like for my mind to go blank when trying to remember a name or recall a place.

I know what it feels like to forget how to spell a word and have to look it up in the dictionary.

Knowing all of these things...

I can understand a little of what it must feel like to have Alzheimer's disease.

I can understand a little of what it might feel like to be Peggy.

We are becoming more like strangers to one another with every passing day.

I was talking to a stranger on the phone last night and Peggy was listening to a stranger talk to her.

The only thing that I have in common now with Peggy, is our past.

Peggy doesn't remember a past and she doesn't remember me and so to Peggy....

I am just a stranger who calls to ask about her day. A stranger who is speaking a foreign language and she cannot understand my words.

It is difficult for me to put stranger and Peggy in one sentence but thats where we are today.

Two strangers on the phone.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Friday, November 11, 2005


I called Peggy today but she wasn't able to talk.

That seems so strange to me. How does a person lose the ability to communicate? Her mind seems to have been swept clean of all thoughts and memories.

Trying to get her to say anything is like walking up to a beautiful house in the dark and knocking on the front door.

All the lights are on but there are thick shades over the windows. I can see light shining through the edge of the window shades and I can hear sounds from the inside of the house. That tells me that someone is home.

I walk to the front door and ring the door bell and knock as hard as I can but no one comes to open the door.

I stand on the outside of the house and ring the doorbell over and over but no one hears me and no one can let me come inside.

 I know that Peggy is still inside of her body somewhere but she has lost the ability to walk to the front door of her mind and open it.

Peggy is like that beautiful house standing in the dark.

Her lights are on but dimming, the shades to her mind are darker and thicker. 

Peggy will never be able to open the door of her mind and let me come inside to visit...ever again.

She will remain a beautiful house with no keys to the doors. 

No keys to open her mind.

No keys to open her spirit.

No keys to open her heart.

Alzheimer's disease has taken the keys of Peggy's life and thrown them away.

The house where Peggy lives is locked. It will remain locked until she leaves this earth and.....

 Meets God.

I think that God will smile and hang Peggy's life key's on the door of her mind that day                    


She Will Remember her life and she will remember that I am her sister and that I love her.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Thursday, November 10, 2005


Most day's, I do pretty well as I continue to watch Peggy disappear from my life.

But then, there are days like today when I would give anything to pick up the phone, call her and tell her what has been going on in my life this week.

She would be very happy about the ViVi award but there is no way that I can share that news with her.

I wonder if she is lonely or sad and wishes that she could share her thoughts with me.

Alzheimer's disease is a vicious malady.

Alzheimer's hasn't only affected Peggy, it has affected our whole family.

Peggy is still alive but she is dead.

She has a mind but she cannot think like she did.

She has a mouth but she cannot talk about her day.

She cannot give and she cannot receive.

Peggy, just is....And I miss her so much!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



Monday, November 7, 2005


                            2005 VIVI AWARD


Thank you for reading my thoughts and for understanding as I write this journal.

Thank you for the comments you leave. Comments that are helping me continue this journal.

Thank you for walking with me as I continue to.....

Watch My Sister...Disappear.

I Love You Today, Peggy and know that you would be so proud!

Proud that I am helping others to understand what Alzheimer's disease feels like from the outside...

Looking in.

I love you and miss you more than I can write!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


We accumulate grief over a lifetime. When something life altering happens, all of the other grief that we have experienced in our life time, line up like dominos set to after the other.


I wish that we had a wall of cubby holes in our minds to store the grief after it has happened.

We would experience the grief and place it in the cubby hole in our mind, never to experience it again.

If we could do that, the past grief would not color the grief of the present.

I could experience my grief, one at a time, check it off and store it in cubby holes marked for the grief...

DOG DIED...5 years old

GRANDFATHER DIED...7 years old

FIRST LOVE...broke up, 17 years old

MOTHER DIED....34 years old

 And so it would go on through our lives, experiencing and putting grief away in a special cubby hole.

I do not mean to say that we would not remember our grief and the pain that accompanied it. But we would not relive it over and over again and mix it with the grief of the present.

I could experience the pain and grief of today and one day, put it away in the cubby hole marked..


Ralph Waldo Emerson said;

Finish every day and be done with it....Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair.

It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Monday, October 31, 2005


 We were learning about prepositions in English class when I was in the 4th grade. The teacher said that it was a word that connects a nown or pronown to another word.

Seeing the questioning eyes from all of the class, she drew a mountain on the chalk board and called it...Preposition Mountain.

She then asked a question... when you face a mountain what do you do?

We started to shout answers like...

You go over it, go around it, go under it, go through it, go into it.

I learned about the prepositions that day, what they were and how to use them. I have never forgotten about preposition mountain.

Sometimes, we need to see something visual before we can understand what it means and how it works.

Alzheimer's disease has been my preposition mountain.

I have tried to go over it, around it, under it, through it and even into it to understand what Peggy might feel like.

And after all of this, I still find myself sitting in front of the Alzheimer's mountain, uncertain about what to do next.

I want to conquer this mountain and rescue Peggy but I do not have the equipment necessary for the climb.

I must leave the conquering to those who know how to climb and conquer this massive mountain.

All the while, my sister Peggy sits on the peak of the mountain waiting to be rescued.

I can see climbers scaling the mountain and learning more about this disease.

They are only 1/4th of the way up to the highest peak and I am aware that when the climbers finally reach the top...

Peggy will not be there any longer.

I Love You Today, Peggy and hearing you say...Un Huh last night from your seat high on Alzheimer's mountain, was like hearing sweet music rolling down to the valley where I sit at the base of the mountain and.......

Pray that you will be rescued.

Mary Louise




Saturday, October 29, 2005


Most people walk in and out of your life............

But Sisters leave footprints all over your heart!

(Author unknown)

Peggy, Betty Jean and Barbara have left deep footprints in my heart.

Footprints that can never be erased....

Not by time or distance.

Not by remembering or forgetting.

The footprints that Peggy made in my heart are mine to keep and are very deep.

Mine to keep and treasure forever.

Peggy has forgotten that I had made footprints in her heart and she has forgotten that I am her sister.

But the footprints that she made as she walked around in my heart will be remembered for all of my life.

The footprints of laughter, secrets, hopes and dreams. The footprints of sharing concerns, sadness and despair. The footprints of growing up together. The footprints of being known as "The Ross Girls".

My footprints are still in Peggy's heart but....

She has just forgotten that........

I walked there.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Once upon a time...

A little girl grew up and in her 40's decided to go Trick ot Treating.

She walked up to a door and when it opened, a monster was standing there.

The monster said; Ahhhh, Peggy, I have been waiting for you to knock at my door.

There will be no treats for you for the rest of your life. Only Tricks on your mind and body.

Your life will be a constant night of Halloween with monsters stealing your thoughts and running away with your memories. 

Do not scream for help because...

There is no one that can help you recover and be the person that you were.

You are mine now...

You will remain trapped in a night of Halloween miseries with ghosts that you can see.... but not remember.

You Peggy, will spend the rest of your life with me.


Thank goodness that there is new research now to slow the progression of this disease. New tests that can determine if you may get Alzheimer's disease.

It is too late for Peggy but just in time for millions of other people.

People who will not have to spend the remaining years of their lives living in the night of halloween.

I Love You Today, Peggy

Mary Louise

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Peggy wouldn't talk with me today.

You would think that I would be accustomed to her silence by now.

I am not nor will I ever get used to Peggy's silence. She was always such a talker, bubbling with news and jokes.

I never realized how loud.....

Silence can be. 

How very loud the silence of Peggy sounds to my heart and

In my ears.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Yesterday, I was working on an entry for this journal.

I had written all of my emotions about watching Peggy disappear when all of a sudden, the screen went blank and my desk top appeared.

I sat there and stared at the blank screen. There was no way to retrieve everything that I had written. No way to retieve the emotion as I wrote those words. They were gone...

Then, a screen appeared that said; Your connection to AOl has been lost.

All of a connection was lost and my words disappeared. Just like Peggy, I thought.

Then, another screen popped up and said...FIX IT FOR ME.

I clicked on the fix it for me button and my connection was restored and AOl was up and running again.

I went back to my journal and faced a blank screen that once contained all the words that I had typed about Peggy.

I had to start all over again trying to recall what I had written. The words would not come and the thoughts that had been recorded minutes before were lost.

The blank screen is Peggy and our connection has been lost. There is no screen that will pop up in our lives that says....

Fix it for me.

My connection to Peggy has been lost forever and no one can repair the damage.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were a button that we could push that had these words written on it.

Fix it for me!

I could push the "fix it for me" button....

And Peggy would appear back in my life, just the way she was before her screen went blank.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, October 23, 2005


We live our lives every day with what I call "The Givens".

"The givens" are...The sun will come up in the morning. There will be air to breathe. Spring will come and there will be flowers. Summer will slide into our lives and bring heat. Fall will ease upon our sight and bring beautiful colors and falling leaves. Winter will blow it's icy breath and there will be cold temperatures, snow and freezing rain.

There are also "Givens" with the people that we know and love.

Kissing your husband or wife good bye in the morning and feeling the "Given" that you will see them again at the end of the day.

The quick wave goodbye to your children as they go off to school.

The "Given" is that they will walk through the door later in the day and shout, I'm home!

The "Given" when you see your Teenager drive away in the car, assuming that they will drive back home later in the day. 

The Given's in our lives tell us that we will always have.....


Peggy and I had many givens during our lives as sisters and I never thought about not having her in my life every day. 

The thought that we would always there for one another was a "given" in my life.

I never thought about the flip side of Given......Until Alzheimer's entered Peggy's brain and took her away.

I never flipped the coin of "Given" over to see the face of "Taken" on the other side.

I never flipped the coin over until I started....

Watching Peggy disappear.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Friday, October 21, 2005


Dear God,

It's me again.

I know that I talk to you a lot about many things.

Thanks for listening to me every day about my sister.

This morning, I want to talk to you about Peggy.

I know that you remember her because she used to talk to you a lot too.

She has forgotten how to talk now and so I will ask you some questions for her.

There were five children in our family, why was Peggy singled out to get a disease like Alzheimer's? Why not me?

Why did she develop Alzheimer's disease in her 40's when, if she had stayed well, she could have done a lot more good?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I was pretty angry with you when Peggy got sick, God. I know you felt my anger but you allowed me to work through it. Thanks.

I know you are a loving God, so.....

Did you cry when Peggy found out her diagnoses?

Do you cry for her now?

It is raining outside today. Are those your tears?

God, please stay close to Peggy because she needs you even though she doesn't remember who you are any longer.

Is there a special place in your heart for people who don't remember who you are any longer?

We have something in common this morning God because Peggy doesn't remember me any longer either.

I know you know how it feels to lose someone you love.

That is why it is so comforting to talk to you every day because you know all and have experienced all.

Peggy is a special person but you know that about her because you sent her into my life.

God, I know that you have a lot to worry about as you see what has been happening on earth lately. So much destruction, war and loss of life.

Thank you for remembering one person in the mist of it all, my sister Peggy.

Thank you for loving Peggy even though she has forgotten who you are.

Thank you, God for these talks every day because they really help as I try to understand and live with loss.

It is as if I am a puzzle, in pieces all over the floor and you stooped down, picked up a piece of my life and said; this is where we will start Mary Louise..... One piece at a time.

It is nice to know that I can talk to you at any time, day or night and I know you are listening and caring and that.....

You are crying with me!

I Love You Today, Peggy and...

God sends much love to you this morning!


Peggy, I want you to know that one piece of my broken puzzle is back in place. There is a lot more to put back before the puzzle of my life is complete without you in it.......

But, one piece is back in place this morning.

God told me!

Mary Louise






Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I talked to Peggy on Sunday night and was aware that she is drifting further and further away.

It is like all of her feelings have been turned off and she is separate from this world.

Her voice was soft and there was no emotion in her words when I talked to her.

Peggy was a person of laughter and expressive words in the past.

Now, she is a shell of her former self with no emotion to share.

How can I love someone who doesn't remember me any longer?

How can I love a person who has no emotion?

How can I love a person who has nothing to share with me?

How can I love a person?

How can I love?

How can I?


I remember the Peggy that used to be.

I remember Peggy before Alzheimer's disease took her feelings and emotions from her.

I remember a bright, funny, caring and loving Peggy.

I remember and fill in the empty spaces for her.

"When the heart grieves over what it has lost,

The spirit rejoices over what it has left".            Sufi Epigram

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

MY LIFETIME LISTENS TO YOURS          (Muriel Ruckeyser)


Friday, October 14, 2005


Watching Peggy disappear has released all the saved tears of my life.

I have cried over things that I had tucked away and willed myself not to cry over long ago.

Silly things like... the boy in 1st grade who call me a stupid butt and hurt my feelings.

And for the girls in 7th grade who didn't think that I was good enough to be in their click.

I cried for the times that I was embarrassed over something that I had said or done.

I cried for the disappointment I saw in my parent's eyes at times when I was growing up.

I cried again for the babies that I lost by miscarriage.

I cried for the times that I have let my husband or children down.

Watching my sister disappear has given me a reason to release my tears of the past.

I think that when we finally let go and have a long, releasing cry....

We cry for what has happened in the present and causes our intense pain but we also cry...

All the tears of our lives!




I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I am remembering Halloween when Peggy and I were children.

We trick or treated in the day's when you left home at dusk, a big pillow case in hand and stayed out until you couldn't drag your full pillow case any longer. We dressed in whatever we could find around the house, which usually meant that we were Ho-Bo's or gypsys. One year, we were sack heads ( see picture)! There were no store bought costumes and part of the fun on Halloween was finding something to wear. 

We didn't come home until 10:00 or 11:00 pm or until we couldn't drag our full pillow cases any longer.

There were no adults chaperoning us. Just a bunch of kids who felt safe to walk miles from our homes in the dark on Halloween night.

We sang songs as we walked through the neighborhoods and shouted to the top of lungs when someone opened their door.


We were invited into homes and sat and ate homemade candy and caramel apples and talked with people that we didn't know.

It was a good time to be a kid and a safe time to trick or treat.

I still remember Peggy dragging her pillow case, full of candy and yelling,

Hey, M.L.... wait up!

Sometimes, we would walk up to a front door and shout...Trick or treat...Smell my feet...Give me something good to eat! And I do mean SHOUT!

 If no one answered the door, we got vicious....

We would go into their yard and pick up a bunch of leaves and throw them on their front porch and run for our lives, laughing. We thought we were sooo bad and sure the police would arrest us if we didn't run fast enough!

I keep the memories of Halloween past in my heart. The memories of dressing for Halloween and coming home so tired. It didn't matter how late it was or how exhausted we were, we would still spread our candy on the floor, on a piece of newspaper and count each piece.

I open my door on Trick or Treat night now to children who are too shy to even say trick or treat.

I see their parents waiting for them with flashlights.

This is a different time where children are not free to enjoy the Halloween nights that Peggy and I enjoyed and it makes me sad.

Peggy has forgotten about all the Trick or Treat nights at 1805 St Charles Court but I keep them in my heart.

This Halloween, when I open my door to give a treat to a child, I will smile and remember.

I will remember the warm Halloween nights in Birmingham and feel like a child again, inside...

What I would give on this Halloween 2005 to walk down a dark street in Birmingham, Alabama, dragging a pillow case full of candy and hearing Peggy's voice say...

Hey, M.L...........Wait Up!    Just once more.

I Love You Today Peggy!

Happy Halloween!

Mary Louise

Sunday, October 9, 2005


The trees on our street are beginning to turn fall colors.

The word "Fall" describes what will happen in the weeks ahead. The leaves will fall and the trees will be bare again. They will be waiting for snow to cover them against the cold winds of winter. They will be resting and waiting for spring and life in their limbs again.

When I think of Fall, I think of Peggy but without the hope of Spring.

She once stood like the trees on my street and she was beautiful in the Spring and Summer of her life. The sun sparkled through her mind.

Then, the  cool winds of Fall began to blow through her brain and the thoughts in her mind began to turn dark colors. They lost their grip on the branches of her memory and began to fall, one thought at a time.

Now, Peggy stands bare, stripped of thoughts while the cold wind of Alzheimer's disease continues to blow through her brain.

Soon, there will be nothing left in her mind of summer. There will be no summer memories to warm her during the winter of her life. 

 There will only be the cold, freezing snow of Alzheimer's covering her brain while she stands, shivering in the cold.

There is no hope of Spring for Peggy and no memory of summer because the seasons of her life have ended and she lives in the cold of winter.

Watching Peggy disappear is like watching a leaf lose it's grip on a branch of a tree and slowly twist and turn until it reaches the ground.

Now, every time that I see a leaf on the ground...

I will remember Peggy.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Saturday, October 8, 2005


One of the major things that I have missed as I have watched Peggy disappear is our sharing.

Growing up, we shared clothes, shoes and advice and truth.

Who else would you share clothes and shoes with than someone you trust. Someone, who was herself but was also a part of you.

Who else would you trust to tell you the truth if it was not your sister?

I would get dressed for a date when we were at home and ask Peggy what she thought of my outfit. Sometimes, she would scrunch her face and tilt her head and say...uhhhh, M.L, I think a white blouse would look better than the one you have on and change your shoes.

I always took her advice because I knew that she was honest with me and told me the truth.... in a kind way.

Who else would be as honest about hair, makeup, clothes, and men than your sister?

Trust between Peggy and me came early. We were honest with one another on many levels.

I miss that. I miss our sharing and I miss her honesty but 

our sharing is one part of our sisterhood that I miss the most.

I get angry that she is not here any longer. Very, very angry but...

 Who do I get angry with?

You can never miss someone who was not there for you.

Peggy was there for me and now she is not.

I was there for Peggy and now she doesn't even remember my name or that we were sisters.

Life has played a cruel trick on us and now I must go on without her in my life.

I can do this because she taught me to be honest with myself.

I am honest with my feeling this afternoon and I can say with honesty...

I'm angry with her for going away and leaving me to find my own honesty in life. She is no longer there for me to lean on with my troubles or my fears.

Her simple act of going away has left me...

To find my own honesty and strength in life...

All by myself.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Monday, October 3, 2005


I was able to talk to Peggy on Saturday night.

Her voice fluctuated from soft to strong. She was confused by some of my questions so I quickly changed to a simple, one word answer.

There were times when she seemed to know my voice and then I could hear a question in her answer's.

Hearing her voice was like having a light come on in the dark.

She is still there in the darkness of Alzheimer's disease but she refuses to let her light go completely out.

I am amazed at the strength she possesses as she goes deeper into darkness.

No matter how dark the night becomes....

I will always leave the light on for Peggy. I wait for the moment when she comes out of her darkness for a second and  says, Hi, Mary Louise. 

I may not be able to lead Peggy from the darkness of Alzheimer's disease but a single light in the dark will let her know that she is not alone.

The light is always on, Peggy!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise




Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I had a dream last night.

I dreamed that Peggy and I passed each other on the street and  bumped into one another. We were both surprised and grabbed one another in a huge hug.

We sat down and talked and talked. We talked about the last 6 years. We talked so fast that we had to stop to breathe. There were so many things that we had experienced and we were able to share them with one another at last.

We laughed and cried.

Peggy's eyes were brimming with tears as we sat across from one another with smiles on our faces.

I told her how much I had missed her and she squeezed my hand and smiled her.... Peggy smile.

It was so nice to talk to her again.

It was nice to have a sweet...

Sister Dream

I Love You Today, Peggy!      I miss you!

Mary Louise



Monday, September 26, 2005


Dear Peggy,

I know who I am because I know who you have always been my mirror.

I learned that I could lead because you followed my directions when we were children.

I also learned that I did not always have to lead when we were children, because you stood up to me and said, No!

I know who I am today because you are my sister.

I know what I can be because you have taught me in your struggle to remember me.

When I look in a mirror, I see me.

When I look at my eyes, I see you. The same shape and color of green.

I see you, Peggy..... when I see me.

We have always been ourselves but a part of one another.

We...Are Sister's.

Nothing can take that away,

Not Alzheimer's disease or all of your forgotten memories...

I know this because we made a pinky promise one summer day long ago.

We promised that we would always be there for one another, no matter what!

I'm still here, Peggy.

So, we are still.......We.

You will always be my sister, my forever friend as long as....

I remember the past that.......

You have forgotten.

SISTERS HAVE ONE SOUL BETWEEN THEM                          ( author unknown )

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I was able to talk to Peggy last night.

Her husband said that she had been saying my name, so he called so she could hear my voice and I could talk with her.

She took the phone and said hello in a small, soft voice. I told her that I loved her but there was no response. I asked her questions but there was no response.

I could hear her husband telling her to tell me that she loved me but there was no response.

At least, I heard Peggy say hello.

Knowing that she is well taken care of is enough for me at this point in her disease.

I never realized how many words, memories, stories of our lives together ..


How much love could fit in the small word.....


Hello, back to you Peggy and I Love You Today!

Mary Louise

Monday, September 19, 2005


I called the nursing home today and they said that Peggy is adjusting and doing just fine.

I didn't get to talk to her but that's OK. I know she is well and being taken care of day and night.

I find that I am slowly letting go of some of the pain of watching her disappear.  There is nothing that I can do to bring her back, so I must move forward.

I read this today...  If we celebrate the years behind us, they become the stepping stones of strength and joy for the years ahead.

These few words explain how I am feeling.

I thought it was interesting that I found those words because Peggy is in a unit at the nursing home that is called...Stepping Stones.

Peggy is my stepping stone to the future because her illness has taught me to live in the moment, to live like there is no tomorrow.

I was cooking this morning and the recipe called for boiling water.

I put the water on to boil and got busy doing other tasks. When I went back to check on the water in the was gone. It had all boiled away while I was just steps away from the pot. The pot that was full of water was now dry.

How like Peggy, I thought.

We have been steps away for one another all of our lives and yet, she simple boiled away while I wasn't paying attention.

Many people have come and gone in my life. Some have changed me forever making me a better person for knowing them.

Peggy is one of those people.

I turned my head one day and was busy doing other tasks in my life and Peggy simply boiled away and....


I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Thursday, September 15, 2005




( Libbie Fudim )

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I miss you more than I can write! I am so thankful that I have wonderful memories of our times together..

Mary Louise

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I awoke to a gray, cloudy day in Ohio.

I fits my mood this morning.

I not only have concern for Peggy but for other family members.

My heart is full up and I had a cleansing cry.

I asked God to take my worries away and hold them for me.

I wrapped all of my concern and worry in a scroll and handed them to God.

Then, I did an interesting thing. I became engaged in a tug of war with God over my worries.

God had one end of the scroll, trying to take it away from me, while I held on to the other end of the scroll and would not let go.

I have found in life, one of the hardest things to do is to....

Let Go and Let God!


EXCEPT THE ONE WITHIN   ( Louisa May Alcott)

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I Miss You!

Mary Louise

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I made flight  reservations for my husband the other day.  He has to go to a meeting on the East Coast next week for work. I chose the airline, the flight, the times and the seat for his flight.

Within a few moments, I received a confirmation and the itinerary for his flight.

 The itinerary contained the day, the date, the flight number, the status, the booking, the city of departure.

Under city, there was this information...LV at 8:40 am. AR at 11:40 am.

The return flights were the same.

All of the exact numbers for the flight times to his distination and the exact time that he would arrive back at the airport so that I could be there to take him home.

If it were not for this exact plan by the airline, there would be chaos. I would not know when to be at the airport. I would not know which flight or when it left or arrived.

 I read the information and thought that it would be nice to navigate through Alzheimer's disease with a clear understanding of what was expected and what to do and where to be at the appropriate time.

My uncle George was a pilot for years and he often talked about his days of flying in a war. He said that he flew by the seat of his pants. Not knowing where to land his chopper to pick up the wounded men and if it would be a safe place to land and take off again. He talked about the fear of flying into the unknown.

That is the way that I feel about the navigation through Alzheimer's disease with Peggy.

Most of the time...

I don't know where to land or if what I say is appropriate or when I should take off again.

I am flying by the seat of my pants and continue to look for a safe place to land because...

I am flying into the unknown.

I Love You Today, Peggy and I miss you so much!

Mary Louise


Thursday, September 8, 2005


A wonderful sister.

A special friend.

That's what you've been to me....

So much a part of the lovely times that I keep in my memory.

(Author unknown)

I was able to hear Peggy's voice last night.

Her husband called me from her room at the nursing home and let her talk to me.

It was a wonderful gift to hear her voice.

It didn't matter that she could not carry on a conversation. I knew that she was listening to the sound of my voice and I was listening to the sound of hers.

Who would have ever thought that hearing......

Yes, un-huh and OK could ever sound so sweet.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Tuesday, September 6, 2005


I have not been able to talk with Peggy in a long time.

Even if I do get to talk to her, she usually lays down the phone and walks away.

I do not belong in her world any longer and I know that I will remain separated from her for the rest of my life.

I feel such sadness as I watch the victims of hurricane Katrina.

Families are separated and desperately trying to find one another and as I watch their despertation, I understand a "little" of what they are feeling. My search is not as desperate as theirs because I know where Peggy is and that she is well taken care of and safe.

But I do understand the empty feeling of a search for someone  you love.

I have been desperately trying to find Peggy since she went into the nursing home.

I know that she is there but...

I cannot find her and I cannot help her but I will continue to try.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, September 1, 2005


My grief over losing Peggy takes a back seat to the grief of the people along our beautiful Gulf Coast.

Peggy and I are from Alabama and know that part of the world very well.

The destruction of the coast and the images that I have seen on television for the past few days has crunched my heart.

I know that Peggy is well, safe and is being taken care of where she is right now and for that, I am thankful.

My heart and prayers goes out to the people who are suffering through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

I love the Gulf Coast and have gone there since I was a child and to view the destruction is very painful.

Please pray for all of the people there. They will need your money as well as your prayers.

Please go to...

To donate to the Red Cross.

I have seen the very best and the very worse from the people who are trying to survive this castastrophe.

I am thankful that Peggy doesn't know about this hurricane. She lived along the Alabama and Louisiana Gulf Coasts and this news would break her heart.

We need to remember that we are Americans and we help in times of tragedy.

Peggy would be the first to give her time and money to the relief of the people along our beloved Gulf Coast!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


If you "only" recall and live in the past...You see no future.

That is where I find myself concerning Peggy.

Remembering our past as sister's is all that is left because....

There is no future with Peggy.

Watching Peggy disappear has taught me many things. One great lesson is the gift of remembering the past and also looking to the future.

I appreciate the gift of the future more now because....

I have been watching my sister...disappear.

My sister, Peggy who has a past but her future stopped when Alzheimer's entered her brain and destroyed any hope for a future. 

I have to remind myself that it is alright to ramble around in our past as sister's but....

 I must always remember to keep my eyes and heart focused on the future.

The future that will eventually become my past.

I Love You Today, Peggy and I will miss our future together.

Mary Louise

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Yesterday, hurricane  Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, I pray for family and friends who live there. I pray for all who have lost everything and must start over. I pray for the people who have lost loved ones and must go on.

I do what I can do...I pray.

I heard a reporter say that during the night she heard people yelling and screaming for help, calling out for someone, anyone to come and rescue them. She cried as she  reported and remembered the night and the helplessness that covered her as she heard the screams. 

Rescuers Search For Katrina Survivors Along Gulf Coast

Katrina: New Orleans looter

First responders are advised not to worry about bodies for now. One Mississippi official said, "If they're dead, they're dead. We've got the living to take care of."
Biloxi | Rescue | Images: New Orleans | Gulf Coast

I tracked the storm from it's birth to today while it affects our weather in Ohio.

This hurricane was and continues to be a monster!

I can't help but compare Hurricane Katrina to Alzheimer's disease.

People like Peggy, knew that the storm was coming but there was no way to be protected from the wrath of the storm.

There was no where to run and no where to hide.

Peggy is living proof of what the Alzheimer's hurricane can do to a life.

Peggy has stopped yelling for someone, anyone to come and rescue her. I can relate to the reporter who heard the cries for help last night and could do nothing but stay where she was and cry.

I had to stand by and watch Peggy disappear while she called out for help. Now, her voice is silent. No one can help her now. No one can rescue her.

Peggy is lost in the storm.

She is a statistic, lost in the Hurricane called....

Alzheimer's disease.

W. M. Lewis wrote.......

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon...

But that we wait so long to begin it.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Friday, August 26, 2005


I saw my doctor the other day and he asked me to grade the pain that I was feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. That way, he would know the level of pain that I was experiencing.

The grief  that I feel concerning Peggy is like that scale. One day, I might be experiencing a 9 level of grief and the next day, it will be a 4. It constantly bounces from 1 to 10.

I heard a song the other day and my grief level shot up to 10. The song was..I'll be seeing you.

Yesterday my grief level was about 3 but today it is back up to 9.

When I called to talk to Peggy this morning, she was in exercise class and a thought crossed my mind.

Her life is going along just fine without me in it.

I am the one who is managing a grief level of 9 today because.....

I remember and Peggy has forgotten.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


In my corner of the world today, there is a brilliant blue sky with thick, fluffy white clouds.

I looked at the clouds this afternoon and thought how solid they appeared. I imagined that if I could fly high above and jump onto one of the thickest clouds, I would surely have a soft landing. I could lie on it and float looking down at the world below me.

The clouds, though thick are deceiving because if I were to jump, I wouldn't land on one, I would fall straight through it to the ground.

Grief is like the fluffy clouds to me. It forms, thick around me but I know that it can not hold me.

Falling through the grief over losing Peggy is the only way to heal.

It's just a long way to fall and there is always the fear of the unknown landing spot.

I heard this yesterday and now, I know where I will land.

The grammar is not good but the words brought great comfort to me when I heard them.

"Ain't nothin gonna happen  to me today that me and Jesus cain't handle".

Bring on the clouds of grief and let me fall through them to heal because even in my grief over watching Peggy disappear......

"Ain't nothin gonna happen to me today that me and Jesus cain't handle"!

I Miss You and.......

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise 




Thursday, August 18, 2005


Peggy has been apart of my life since I was 3 years old.

Now that she is disappearing, I feel like a 3 year old inside today who's best friend has moved away.


It is interesting that a grown woman can feel as lost as a child but I do as I experience the disappearance of Peggy from my life.

I have to remind myself that even hard objects become smooth and disappear over time. I remind myself that nothing is promised forever.

I know that we are not promised forever but my forever with Peggy...

Came to soon.

I read this the other day and wanted to share what it was like to have Peggy for a sister.

A sister is one of the nicest things that can happen to anyone.

She is someone to laugh with and share with, to work with and join in the fun.

She is someone who helps in the rough times and knows when you need a warm smile.

She is someone who will quietly listen when you just want to talk for awhile.

Peggy was that kind of sister and I miss her and....

 I think that it is alright to be a 3 year old inside today.

Some days are just like that and I feel sad because......

 My best friend, Peggy has moved away! 

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I Miss You!

Mary Louise  

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I now have a 800 number where I can call the nurses station and ask about Peggy.

I called today and I asked if I could speak to Peggy and the attendent said yes, she is sitting right here. The attendent told me that she doesn't talk but I asked her to give Peggy the phone anyway.

Peggy said hello and I was so glad to hear her voice.

Her answers to questions were usually un huh or yes but the voice is still the same. She answered in some sentences and I heard the attendents in the background say, she is talking!!!!

I know that she doesn't know who I am but she does remember the sound of my voice.

This is a nice day because I was honored to her my sister's voice once again.

She has not accepted the doll that I sent to her but it is lying on her bed. She may never accept Mary Ellen into her life and I understand that because..........

I have not and never will accept the fact that Peggy has forgotten me!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, August 15, 2005


I watched extreme surgery on the Health Channel last night.

The program concerned people who had been horribly disfigured by an accident.

Most of them did not look human as we know it because of their accidents.

I listened to their stories and realized as they talked that they were the same on the inside but their outward appearance had been altered.

These severely damaged people were getting a new start in life because of an artist who can make body parts.

When he had finished his amazing work, the people looked as well on the outside as they were on the inside.

I thought of how the people on the show were the reverse of what Peggy is experiencing.

The people on the show were the same on the "inside" but looked different on the "outside" because of their accidents.

Peggy looks the same on the "outside" but is different on the "inside"  because of the accident of Alzheimer's disease.

Physical looks can be deceiving. What is on the outside may not reflect what is on the inside.

The people that I saw last night were horribly damaged but still had their speech, their spirit, their spunk to survive and their drive to be whole and well again.

When the accident of Alzheimer's happen to a person, it goes inside of the brain and destroys the person on the "inside" while leaving the "outside" almost the same.

The next time that you see a person who has been disfigured or born with a deformity don't look away...

Smile and say, Hello. They may look different on the outside but they may be still present and whole on the inside.


When you encounter a person who looks normal on the outside but has a bland look in their eyes and can not communicate but stares blankly at you....

Alzheimer's disease may have disfigured them on their "inside" but still smile and say...Hello.

The human spirit processes great power to be well again but...

Alzheimer's disease takes that power away and what remains is...

A perfect body with nothing left on the inside.

Your physical appearence is not who you really are....

Who you really are is on the "inside" and Alzheimer's disease has taken that away from Peggy.

I Love You Today, Peggy and ....

I so miss the person who was on the inside and made you who you were!

Mary Louise


Saturday, August 13, 2005


I always knew that the day would come when I wouldn't be able to talk with Peggy any longer.

To everything...there is a season.

I watched her disappear over the years until the only part of the Peggy that I still knew was the sound of her voice on the phone.

Now, the sound of her voice daily is gone and it has left a huge empty space.

 I was not prepared for....

The silence in my heart where Peggy used to live.

I had prepared myself for her eventually going into a nursing home.

I had prepared myself for her eventual death.

I thought that I had prepared for everything concerning Peggy but I did not prepare for one major thing and that is......

The Silence of her voice.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Friday, August 12, 2005


Peggy did get Mary Ellen on Wednesday night.

Her husband said that she smiled a big smile but did not have much interest in holding her.

He put her in the rocking chair beside her bed.

So, we will just have to wait and see if Peggy can connect with Mary Ellen in her own time.

It will be waiting to hear and hoping that she will love and care for Mary Ellen and that Mary Ellen will bring Peggy joy and most of all...

Someone to hold on to!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, August 11, 2005

GOT YA!!!!!!

I still have not heard any news about Mary Ellen and how Peggy received her. I'll let you know when I do.

I'm feel down as I write because I miss talking with Peggy every day.

At least, when I heard her voice daily, I could connect with her on some level. Now, I feel rather lost.

I keep tearing up as I write and think of her and what we will miss in the years ahead.

Mary Louise ...Who?... keeps creeping into my mind.

There is pain in life, that's a given.  There is no way to avoid pain from touching every part of me when I think of Peggy forgetting me.

I would like to know what to do in any situation but the fact is... I do not and never will know.

 I do know that if you live and love, you open your heart to pain. I heard it said once that "Love puts the fun in together and the sad in apart".

Watching Peggy disappear from my life has brought great pain and sorrow but it has also brought great growth.

Watching my sister..disappear has taught me that it is OK to grieve.

That it is OK to...

Be angry and to cry out... why!

That it is OK to....

Feel alone and to reach out for help.

Peggy has taught me to research my feelings and take comfort in the fact that others care and are with me in this great grief.

I have learned through my grief that I don't always have to be strong and keep my feelings inside of me.

Writing my feeling in this journal has shown me how many people now love, care and pray for Peggy. Thousands of people who know of the struggle of watching someone you love...disappear from life because of Alzheimer's disease.

If I had not known Peggy, I would have missed the pain that I am experiencing today but I would have also missed the lessons I have learned by knowing her.

I have days when I would just like to kick something and stomp around in anger. 

Then, there are days like today, when my heart fills up with liquid grief and I want to find a dark corner in my mind, hug my knees and cry...

So, on this lonely day in my life, I have learned that grief is like playing the game of Hide and Seek.

Just when you think you have hidden in a safe place...Grief jumps out, grabs you and shouts...

Got Ya!

Grief grabbed me today and yelled, Got Ya!  but

My grief will not hold me for long because I have had the privilege of knowing and learning from my sister, Peggy.   I am learning even as she continues to disappear from my life.

Brenda Ueland wrote...Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time,

You are incomparable!

That is what I think of when I think of Peggy.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Peggy will meet Mary Ellen tonight when her husband visits with her.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Peggy will want her and

I will let everyone know as soon as I hear something.

Keep Peggy in your hearts and mind tonight. Maybe, there will be a place in her heart for a baby to love and Mother!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Tuesday, August 9, 2005


I talked to Peggy last night for the first time in a week.

It was a nice surprise to hear her voice.

Her husband called and asked if I would like to talk to Peggy. It only took a nano second to say, yes.

Her voice sounded small at first but as soon as I started talking about the baby that I was sending her and how much I had missed her, she got excited and tried to talk back.

When her husband came back on the phone he told me that Peggy was smiling the whole time that I was talking to her.

She doesn't remember my name or that we are sisters but she does still know that I am a familiar voice.

What a gift!

My sister remembers the sound of my voice.

I have often wondered what it would be like to have Alzheimer's disease.  I think that I found a little of what it may be like in my daily life.

Have you ever been in a social situation and a person starts walking  toward you, smiling?  They get closer and you know that you should know who they are and have seen them somewhere but not sure where. Their name is lost somewhere in your brain and you cannot remember it as you smile back and shake their hand. The harder you try to recall their name, the deeper the name hides inside of you and it can be embarrasing as the person clasps your hand, smiles and says your name.

They remember who you are but you are searching your brain to remember their name and where you met them without making a total idiot of yourself.

So, you stand there smiling and pretending that you remember this person who obviously remembers who you are. All the time trying  hard to put a name to the face. A name that never comes into your mind as you nod and talk.

 One of the major thoughts that come to you as you continue to talk is to pray that this person will not utter these words....

You don't know who I am, do you?

I think this must be what it is like to have Alzheimer's disease and try to remember people's names even though are familiar to you.

The next time this situation happens to you...

Think of Peggy and other Alzheimer's patients and how hard it must be to try to remember who people are, how you are connected and their name.

Never ask an Alzheimer's patient this question....

Do you know who I am or You don't remember me, do you?

If they did...they would have called you by name when they saw you.

Never put an Alzheimer's patient in the embarrassing position of playing the name game.

If you do.. remember how embarrassed you have been at the times in your life when you were put on the spot. The spot of remembering a face but forgetting the name. The awful spot when that person says to you.... 

You don't remember me, do you? Or...Do you know who I am?

Alzheimer's takes away so much from a person.  There are stages of the disease when the patient gets embarrassed by forgetting the names of people who know them.

Just try to be sensitive to the Alzheimer's patient and in your own life by not putting a person on the spot by playing the name game.

Thanks for the gift of remembering the sound of my voice, Peggy! 

I don't really need a name anyway!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Monday, August 8, 2005


Peggy is slowly adjusting to her new home.

I still feels strange to not hear her voice every day. I miss being a daily part of her life so much. 

I mailed her doll, Mary Ellen to her and she should have it by Wednesday and her husband will take it to her. I hope that she will want it and that it brings her some comfort.

So, one journey is over and another begins.

I just keep reminding myself to breathe.

I remind myself to breathe as I hold on and let go.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Friday, August 5, 2005


I have asked "Why" for many years. That is the question of the ages with no answer.

Seneca said; The thing that matters is not what you bear......

But, How you bear it.

I have been up with hope for Peggy and down with hope in pieces on the floor. I finally realize that there is no hope for Peggy to recover. So, what do I do with this realization?

I stop asking Why and start asking.....

What Now?

I Love You Today, Peggy and I miss you!

Mary Louise

Thursday, August 4, 2005


Peggy is not adjusting to her new surroundings, so far.

She did not sleep on Monday or Tuesday night so keep her close in your prayers.

The baby that I ordered from the Alzheimer's store has arrived and it is very life like and weighted to feel like a real baby of 8 pounds.

I bought Mary Ellen a pink blanket and have her all ready to send to Peggy.

I just pray that Peggy will want her and that Mary Ellen will become a comfort to her.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, August 3, 2005


Peggy was having some problems adjusting to her new home yesterday, which is to be expected.

Please pray that she will adjust to her surroundings soon. It breaks my heart to think that she is scared or lonely.

I do think that with time she will settle into a routine and be fine.

Remember her in your prayers.

God is so big...He can cover the whole world with His love....


So small that He can curl up inside of your heart.

 (June Masters Bacher)

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, August 1, 2005


I am writing with a heavy heart today.

Peggy is in a nursing facility and is being accessed as I write in this journal.

It seemed strange today not calling her and hearing her voice.

I pray that all goes smoothly and she will like the facility.

Please pray for her husband and children. This was a difficult decision for her husband but I believe it was the right one for Peggy.

I have talked to two of my sister's and my husband this morning and we are all feeling sad as we watch her enter this last stage of the disease.

On the flip side of our sadness...we know that this was the best move for Peggy and done at the right time.

Our prayer is that Peggy's husband can walk out of the nursing home without hearing Peggy call for him or hear her crying.

If that happens...It will be a very long walk for him.

Keep Peggy and Rick in your prayers.

I will continue to write my feelings about watching my sister...disappear.

It is the only thing that I can do with the sadness and frustration that I continue to feel.  I have watched what this disease has done to my sister, her family and their friends.

I have watched what it has done to my family and my friends.

 Alzheimer's disease does a vicious, heartless thing to the families of it's victims...

It placed our family in front row seats and commanded us to watch as Peggy continues to disappear before our eyes. Alzheimer's disease makes sure that we watch as it drags the disappearance out over a period of many years.

Peggy is always on my mind but today...She is where she needs to be at this point of her disease. I know that in my heart.

 She will have 24 hour care from this point on and that will be good for her as she continues her journey of disappearance from this world.

My task today is to keep the...I, I, I and the Me, Me, Me out of this day. I do know that a lot of my sadness is that I will not be able to hear her voice on a daily basis.

That is where I will need to work on my feelings because this day is not about me or my sadness....

This day is about Peggy and what is best for her.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I ordered Peggy's baby this morning from the Alzheimer's store.

I ordered the blonde headed baby with blue eyes.

Mary Ellen is Peggy's baby's name ( named after a doll that our Mother had) and I pray that she will be a comfort to her while she is in the nursing facility.

It will be interesting to hear how she reacts when her husband gives her the baby. I hope that she will like Mary Ellen and that Mary Ellen will be a comforting part of her life.

The baby doll is all that I can do for her now.

I have been watching Peggy since she was born and watching her disappear since 1998.

The Peggy that I knew is gone and I now have the task of adjusting my life to the absence of her presence.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I talked with Peggy today and she had a flat sound to her voice.

I had been on the Alzheimer's web site recently and read that Alzheimer's patients love babies. Sometimes when I call her, she is watching the Special Delivery channel on television. The sitter said that she loves the baby and children's channel.

Talking with her today, I asked her if she would like to have a baby to hold. Her voice brightened and she laughed and said, yes in a strong voice.

I told her that I would find her a baby doll and send it to her. She laughed and said, good!  I said that if she had a baby doll, she would never be alone.  She would always have something to hold, talk to and take care of. She sounded so happy with the idea and said, good, good! I suggested that we name the baby doll "Mary Ellen" because that was Mother's doll name.

She responded with.... that would be good and there was excitement in her voice.

I am now on a hunt for a life like baby doll for Peggy to take to the nursing home next week.

It will have to be a special doll.

A special doll with a pleasant face and soft body.

I will keep looking until I find the doll that will become Mary Ellen.

I will give Mary Ellen to a special Mother who will love and take care of her. A Mother who will have a baby to hold and love and talk with as Alzheimer's disease continues to take her away

Peggy will soon be a Mother again and Mary Ellen is a lucky babydoll to have a Mother named...Peggy!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


During the summer months, we have some interesting bugs that come to visit with us.

I do not know the proper name for these bugs but I call them...Banger Bugs.

They bang themselves into the glass of our windows over and over.

It is as if they are trying to burst through the glass and come inside. If they are on the inside, they bang the glass over and over as if they are trying to escape.

Sometimes, they grow tired and drop to the window ledge. Then the bugs start the process all over again, hurling themselves into the window. 

The Banger bugs represent Peggy in her struggle against Alzheimer's disease......

The glass represents Alzheimer's disease, the unmovable barrier that she can never break through.....

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, July 25, 2005


Once, when my son was little, we were sitting on a hill behind our house watching earth moving machines carve out a road. A gust of wind blew past us and he held out his small hand in a grasping motion.

I asked him what he was doing and he said he was trying to catch the wind.

 He would open his hands to see the wind he had caught only to be disappointed when there was nothing there.

Talking to Peggy now is like trying to catch the wind in my hand. I know that she is on the other end of my phone line. I can hear her breathing and struggling to talk but there is no way to catch her in my hand. There is no way to catch her because she is like the wind.

Peggy lives in the wind of Alzheimer's disease and it is blowing destruction through her life.

The wind can be cooling and pleasant or forceful and destructive.

The winds of Alzheimer's disease are forceful and destructive. The only thing that a family of an Alzheimer's patient can do is board up the windows of their hearts and wait for the destruction to be completed.

I have tried each day to catch Peggy in my hand when we talk but I am always disappointed. I open my hands and my heart to see if she is there but my hands are always empty.

I can feel her presence blowing through my life but there is no way to connect to her. I cannot hold her in my hands and keep her in this place that I call home. 

The Alzheimer's wind is taking her away from this world a little more every day with the force of it's fury.

But it can never completely take her away because...

When I see the trees dance in the wind or see the tall grasses bow to a breeze........

I will feel the presence of Peggy.

When the dark storm clouds gather on the horizon and the wind blows with destructive force..

I will feel the presence of Peggy.

When a gentle wind blows and touches my face...

I will feel the presence of Peggy and.......

On those days when the air is still and there is no wind..

I will still feel the presence of Peggy because she is forever in the wind that blows through my mind.

She will always be present in the wind of my memories.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise