I visited the city where I grew up recently and decided to go back to my old neighborhood. I wanted to see the house where I was raised. I wanted to see the street where Peggy and I played. I wanted to feel the joy of my youth while standing on our old front porch and remembering.
I did stand on my old front porch but it wasn't the same. It wasn't the same because the house that I called home was falling apart. The windows had been broken out, the roof was falling in and weeds have taken the place of a manicured lawn.
This was the way that I found my old neighborhood. Sad, deteriorated and abandoned by the people who loved this street and had pride in their houses.
No one lives with pride on this once pretty street anymore. It is now a street with broken houses and broken dreams.
I cried when I looked at my old neighborhood. I choked back tears as I looked at my childhood home because the bricks were falling off of it and the paint was cracked and crumbled around the front door. The windows had been broken out and it was obvious that this house was not loved any longer. No one seemed to loved this street any more, only me...in my memories.
I stood on my old front porch at 1805 and my mind took me to a time when there were people who loved and cared for these houses. They took pride in this neighborhood and called St. Charles Court their home.
I looked up and down this broken street and my mind remembered a time when beautiful green lawns surrounded these houses. A time when hanging baskets, full of colorful flowers swayed from hooks on the front porches.
I wandered back to the time when there was a swing set in our back yard where Peggy and I shouted in play. I looked down the street and remembered the Summers that we ran up and down on the hot pavement, bare footed.
There was a time in this deteriorated neighborhood, that people sat on their front porches in the evening, sipping lemonade and waving to people as they walked by on warm summer nights.
This now forsaken neighborhood was a wonderful place to live....once upon a time.
Just like Peggy's mind was a wonderful place to live...once upon a time.
Alzheimer's disease attacked her brain the way blight attacks a neighborhood and she cannot live in her body and mind much longer.
She can no longer live on the street or in the neighborhood that was.... her life.
The deterioration of Peggy's mind started slowly. Just like a neighborhood deteriorates slowly as one family after another moves away and no one moves back to care for the houses.
Alzheimer's disease causes memories and thoughts that are in the brain to move out, one thought and memory at a time.
The mind becomes a neighborhood where no one can live.
The Alzheimer's patient becomes as broken and silent as the houses on a deserted, abandoned street.
This is what is happening to Peggy.
The Peggy that was... is deteriorating just like a neighborhood where we used to live. Her brain has been covered with masses of choking vines and the windows of her soul are broken out by the rocks that Alzheimer's throws at her brain daily.
Peggy's thought processes are being destroyed and the brain that held her thoughts and memories has become a deserted street. A street where there is no past and there will never be a future. There are only broken dreams and broken hearts for those of us who walk down the street where Peggy lived and remember the person that she used to be..
The old Peggy, does not live on the street where I live any longer. Alzheimer's disease is tearing down her house a little every day.
The old Peggy can only live in my memories and in my heart. In those places, I can still see the Peggy that I knew. The Peggy that loved walking, laughing and enjoying life.
She will live in my mind as she was before Alzheimer's disease.
In the neighborhood of my mind, Peggy is still Peggy...whole and bright. She lives in a big house with a manicured lawn. She has beautiful flowers surrounding her house and a swing set in the back yard. She sits on her front porch and waves to me as I walk pass the house that was her life.
Peggy lives whole, well and beautiful...in my heart.
Alzheimer's disease has taken Peggy away from her life but it will never take the Peggy that I knew away from mylife or away from the neighborhood in my mind
She will always be happy and safe in the memories of our neighborhood and growing up at 1805 St. Charles Court.
I Love You Today, Peggy!