Friday, February 11, 2005


I wonder what Peggy thinks about every day? I wonder if she thinks at all.

I asked her today if she ever thinks about Mother and Daddy and she said, yes.

I asked her if she ever thinks about when we were little and she said, yes.

I asked her if she thinks about Betty Jean, Barbara and Johnny and she said, yes.

I asked if she knew who Mary Louise was and she said, yes.

Everything was a yes.

I was not sure if she understood what I was asking or what she was saying yes too, so I said, Do you think about the ground?

Her answer was......Yes.

I would like to understand what a day is like inside of Peggy's mind.

What does she see when she looks out of her eyes?

Is she able to think and process her thoughts?

I wonder if everything she sees is a mystery to her. I wonder if she can put a name to the objects around her.  Objects like a book, a lamp, a blanket or a flower. I wonder if she knows what food is when she eats?

I wonder if her mind has become a blank sheet of paper or are some of her memories still written there?

What do her thought processes write on her mind as she sees her world? What does she think when she watches television or hears music on the radio?

When I visited with her, she would watch the television screen but I couldn't tell if she knew what she was seeing. One of the major things that I noticed was that she would never look me in the face. She would never make eye contact with me. Her face had a blank look but it also had a serene look. A look like nothing bothered her, nothing frightened her and also like nothing meant anything to her.

She just was.......

I wonder what it would be like to....disremember every single part of your life?

I think of our minds as a chalkboard and we write on it from the time of our birth. When we reach adulthood, we have written many thoughts and memories on the chalkboard of our mind.

I think of Alzheimer's disease as a giant chalkboard eraser. It enters a mind and starts the process of erasing the memories, feelings and information that is stored there.

It wipes the chalkboard of our mind clean of all that has been written there.  It continues to erase until there are only faint marks left on a person's mind. A mind that is still alive but cannot  read, recall or function as a adult.

Alzheimer's disease takes an intelligent, competent adult back in time to the existence of a baby.  It erases thoughts, memories and the ability to do even minor tasks that we all take for granted.

Tasks like combing your hair, brushing your teeth, putting on your clothes or going to the bathroom. It takes your mind back to the time when you were totally dependent. Totally dependent on those who love you to take care of you. 

Alzheimer's disease erases your mind until it has made you a tiny baby in a adult body.

The disease will progress to a time when Peggy will forget how to chew and swallow and then finally.....forget how to breathe.                   

There was a time in the beginning of the disease that Peggy was afraid. She would talk with me and I could hear the fear in her voice. She didn't know what was wrong with her and neither did her doctors. 

I am thankful that Alzheimer's has erased the fear that I heard in her voice in the beginning. I am angry that it has also erased who she was and who she could be.

Now, Peggy just sits and waits with a calm demeanor for Alzheimer's to finish the job of erasing her mind. She waits for it to finish what it started in her mind 4 years ago.

Peggy will continue to sit and wait for the final swipe of the eraser. The final swipe when she will be erased from this world forever.     

Alzheimer's disease will erase her from....... herself.

But Peggy will never be erased from the hearts of those who love her!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



sanforized6 said...

I feel like I keep repeating myself, but you just tell it with such love. You are doing us all a favor. If we ever have to face this, on either side, we will have a better understanding of what to expect. Thank you. rich

trishaham said...

You are such a caring and loving sister. I can't imagine the heartache and pain that this disease is causing you and your family. You write so beautifully of the love you have for Peggy. She is blessed to have you by her side.
God Bless.

wendy4145 said...

True!  Alsthimers can't erase Peggy from your memory... and can't change the fact that Peggy is an exisiting Child of God and she always will be.. just as you and i are....

  I hate the saddness that Alsthimers brings to you and your relatives.  But it can't take her from God or from you and your family.


colemansr78 said...

Your journal has touched me on a very deep level. Not only was my mother a nurse and worked on Alzheimer's units in nursing homes for several years, but because I have 3 sisters. My older sister was missing for 4 years. No contact, no idea where she was...My younger sisters and I almost had a guilt about being sisters and being close during the time one was missing...We all slowly faded away...In August of this year we located my sister. We all describe it as "imagine losing someone very close to you, mourning their loss, to have them one day re-appear, happy and healthy" It's an amazing feeling to be sisters again. We all reunited for the first time this last Xmas...we laughed and cried and recanted stories of our childhood...Never again will I take my sisters for granted...Your journal just confirms the power of sisters! May Peace and comfort find you and wrap you up!

dimundntheruf69 said...

What if Alzheimer's is God's way of cushioning the blow of old age and death???My grandmother, who has alzheimer's, never re-married after the death of my grandfather...He left us suddenly of a massive heart attack in the middle of the night a little more than 30 years ago...I wonder if that became my grandmother's way of retreat into her mind slowly....I love your journal for many reasons...Christie

kmarlainekusek said...

I Understand how she was thinking . I dealt with my Mother who had the disease. she was a Great Mother Of 7 She incurred the disease inher 70 .She left us at the age of 87.  She was married to my father for 66 yrs. When he passed away she didn't know him or me. It is a very hard thing to deal with. I still grieve for the mother I knew