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