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!