Wednesday, April 13, 2005

WALKING THE TIGHTROPE

The answer machine picked up today when I called Peggy.

I have to say that I was relieved.  I was relieved because for one call, I did not have to hear her struggle with understanding me or hear her struggle with words.

There is a part of me that feels ashamed that I felt so relieved and another part of me that says...It's OK to have a break.

The calls to Peggy are like walking a tightrope without an umbrella or pole for balance.  

Alzheimer's disease stretched the tight rope and it is up to those of us who love her to walk the line to where she is in the disease. She has no ability to walk the tight rope back to us.

I walk the tight rope and feel like every call is a performance. I attempt to sound up and happy but I don't feel happy when I talk to her. I am usually exhausted when the call is finished.

 She will  probably be going to a nursing facility by the end of the year. When that happens, I will not be able to talk to her on a daily basis. I will miss hearing her voice because that is the only part of Peggy that is still familiar.

So, I continue to call her and do my high wire and balancing act.

I continue to pretend that she knows who I am, laughing and trying to sound..normal when I'm not sure what normal is any longer with Peggy.

I choose to remember the Peggy with the laughing green eyes and beautiful smile. The Peggy that was always ready to listen to my hurts or problems. The Peggy who was as close as a phone call.

She was always there for me by a phone call and so I will continue be there for her by a phone call.

The difference is that with each call...

I am talking to my sister, Peggy and hearing her familiar voice while she is listening to a stranger and trying to talk.

So today, we both had a break but my mind goes back to the year that Peggy said something to me that gave me chills.

The call years ago when she knew that something was very wrong with her and she told me this....

She said, I can't go anywhere.

 I said; why Not, Peggy?

She replied...I can't go anywhere because I HAVE LOST ME!!!!!

She is lost in Alzheimer's disease....

but the tight rope is stretched and all of us who love her continue to try to walk across the rope and find her because love never gives up.        

Our faith is the pillow below us as we navigate the tiny wire to find Peggy!!!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

 

5 comments:

wendy4145 said...

I am sorry that your sister had to get this disease.

i really am.

love,
Wendy

sanforized6 said...

So well put. You know how I feel. rich

lacaza3 said...

Mary,
Sigh....So elegantly put....Peggy still loves you you too...I know you feel because she can't remember that it doesnt count....oh but it does....Your right she can't reach back if she didnt have this she. would..that makes it hard for you....
I used to volunteer in a nursing home and oneof my favorite ladies was one with the same disease...Everyday she would sit in her chair with her babydoll and rock it..
I would talk to her....she would look at me with a look like she should know me..yet there was a emptyness in her eyes....Her family had brought a picture of her when she was young..I about fainted she was so beautiful like a movie star.
I went home with a sad heart...I told myself that everyday I volunteed I would visit with RUBY..and I did....I would hug her and kiss her and tell her how much her family loved her...I would tell her how much her friendship meant to me...
I talked about her alot to my family.....I took my kids to see her...
I told my husband the other day I missed ruby..I hadnt volunteered in a year...
He said you miss her dont you..I said you know I thought I was doing good visiting with her and offereing myself up to her but it wasnt me that that got the blessing...
It was ruby who gave me the blessing...
Donna In TEXAS

maidothemist said...

(((((((((((Mary Louise and Peggy)))))))))) I cant for the life of me figure out how I fond your journal about Peggy. But I did, while at work and sent the link home, because I couldnt stop reading. I feel for the Peggy that lost herself, and for you, for trying so hard to give her a lifeline to anything familiar. You are a wonderful sister and I like to think in the same circumstance I would hold on to the bits that are my sisters as diligently and patiently as you do. And its ok to have a break. ~ Sue

crazyat60 said...

Mary Louise....this is the most beautiful tribute to your sister Peggy. I know what you are going thru as my Mom had alzheimers' disease and it was a horrific thing to watch such a vibrant beautiful woman disappear before my eyes.  The lord took her home when she was 92 but it was only a shell of her body left. Her soul had left years before. May God bless you in your plight...Joan