Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Dear Peggy,

Your favorite season is on the way! I know how much you loved the Christmas season.

I remember the Christmas that we gave each other the same "sisters" coffee cups! We had such a good laugh when we opened our gifts and realized we had bought the same cup for one another.

I'm sorry that you can't remember that Christmas because it was a special time for each of us.

I also miss talking to you on the phone at this time of year. We always fused a little about our husbands and wanted them to get in the spirit of the season like we did.

I am glad that I still remember our Christmas' as children......I am sad that you cannot bring those memories up to warm your heart during this month before Christmas.

This will be a happy month for me. You, of all people know how I really get into the decorating and gift buying.

Peggy, If I can find a store that sells memories........

I will buy all of your memories back for you.

They will be under your Christmas tree wrapped in bright red paper and a fluffy green bow and the card will say, this box contains all of Peggy's memories.

So, as I go about the month, getting ready for the happiest time of the year........I will hold you and all of our memories in my heart.

This is the time for miracles so........

Maybe, you will find a package under your Christmas tree from me!

It will say....

To Peggy from Mary Louise

Merry Christmas 2005!

When you open the box and pull back the white tissue...

You will be able to see and hold all of your forgotten memories on Christmas morning!

Just one more time.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, November 27, 2005


My husband and I went to a funeral home last week for a viewing.

The man who had died was in our church. He was jovial, fun and always had a story to tell.

His face always lighted with a smile when he saw us and his eyes twinkled with mischief.

We walked up to the casket in the dimly lit room and the smell of the flowers was over powering.  When I saw him lying there....I knew that he was no longer in his body. His spirit was gone and the person who laid there was just a shell.

It reminded me of what Alzheimer's disease does to a person, what it has done to Peggy.

It moves into the brain and takes away the spirit, until the person is just a walking shell, empty of emotion. All of the spirit that made the person who they were...is gone.

This is how Peggy is today.

She is just an empty shell of the person that she once was.

She is like the man from our church except she is still walking around, breathing and existing.

I think that a definition of a patient of Alzheimer's Disease would be...

The walking dead.

It is a somber reality that makes me angry.

Alzheimer's took the Peggy that I knew away but left her to live out her life with no memories.

Roxanne Brown said;

Sisters---- They share the agony and the exhilaration.

As youngsters, they share Popsicles, chewing gum, hair dryers and bedrooms.

When they grow up, they share confidences, careers and children.

Some even chat on the phone for hours every day.......

That is what Alzheimer's disease has taken away from Peggy and

From me.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I just wish that you remembered your life.

I just wish that you remembered me and that I love you.

I just wish........................................

Mary Louise



Friday, November 25, 2005


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

Another Thanksgiving, with only memories of the happy times that Peggy and I shared at the family table. The shared times that we thought would always  last and we were sure that we would always be around for one another

Another Thanksgiving to give thanks for....

The memories of Peggy.

Another Thanksgiving to....

Witness her disappearance from my life 

I Love You Today, Peggy!  Happy Thanksgiving 2005!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I am thankful this Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for the love of my husband who has stood beside me all these years and supported my choices.

I am thankful for my daughter's and my son's who grew up to be wonderful people. I am thankful because they are productive adults in spite of my mothering at times.

I am thankful for my grand children who bring such joy and remind me, when they are visiting and running around...that I am getting older!

I thank each of them....Jordan, Christopher, Michael, Cameron, Lauren, Caleb and Richard for keeping me young at heart

I am thankful for the opportunity to Watch my Sister, Peggy disappear. She could have died suddenly and I would not have had the opportunity to say good bye to her for so many years.

I am thankful for all of the people who read my words about Peggy and leave encouraging comments that are helping me to heal.


More aware of what you have than what you don't.

Recognizing the treasure in the simple...a child's hug, fertile soil, a golden sunset, a walk in the snow or rain.

Relishing in the comfort of the common.    ( Max Lucado )

This Thanksgiving, I bow my head and give thanks........

I Love You Today, Peggy!  

 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Peggy used 3 word sentences when I spoke with her on Sunday night.

That is rare now and it was good to hear.

I told her that I missed her and she said; You Do? Good!

Her voice was strong and she seems happy.

The holiday's make me miss Peggy more than ever.

I find myself tearing up when I hear certain Christmas songs.

I have so many wonderful memories of our shared holiday's together and I must draw on those.

I refuse to let her disappearance ruin the happiness of the holiday's!

I have to do this or Peggy just might find me and hit me over the head with a baseball bat! (smile).

This was her favorite time of the year and we will share it together....

 In memories.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Weekend Assignment #86: Who are you thankful for -- who you won't be able to spend this Thanksgiving with? This is a chance to tell us about the people you care about who will be far away from you this holiday, or who have passed on but remain in your heart.

  I have been Watching Peggy Disappear for 7 Thanksgivings. I never get accustomed to the fact that she is gone, especially during holiday's.   Peggy loved Thanksgiving and Christmas and was the life of the party.   I miss her always but especially during this time of the year!   I Love You Today, Peggy! I will miss having you near next Thursday!   Mary Louise

Thursday, November 17, 2005


AOL took it upon themselves to put advertising at the top of all AOL journals without permission. If I had wanted to advertise, I would have written in a Blog that pays for advertising space in a journal.

I was insulted  when I saw the adds flashing above my words  about Peggy and they feel intrusive.

It made me think of Alzheimer's disease and the way it intruded it's self into Peggy's life.

She didn't ask for Alzheimer's to come into her mind, it just came and took over.

She wouldn't have wanted it to cover her brain with it's on agenda but it did.

Peggy is now a walking billboard for Alzheimer's disease, an advertisement for what it can do to a mind. 

I am angry about this intrusive move into my space by AOL. I pay money  to AOL every month for the privilege of using my journal space as I see fit.

This journal was written to express my questions, my grief, my pain and my sense of loss.

It is written to explain how a young vibrant woman could end up in a nursing home, not knowing who she is and remembering her life.

This journal was not meant to be a flashing advertising bill board for AOL.

I need to be angry at someone for the intrusion of Alzheimer's disease into my sister's life, into my life. I need to be angry that AOL has intruded my journal with it's agenda into my journal space.

So, AOL will get my stored up anger!


I'm sure that a giant like AOL is shaking in their corporate boots at the thought that I am angry about being used in this manner.

How dare they use my sister and my journey to advertise!

I had permission to start this journal about Watching My Sister..Disappear

AOL did not ask for my permission to place these adds at the top of my journal.

Peggy cannot voice her opinion about anything any longer and I have been trying to be her voice.

AOL...Hear this.....At this point in my journal writing, you have become the definition of intrusion.

INTRUSION  n. interruption, forced entrance, trespass, intervention, meddling, encroachment, invasion, overstepping, transgression, nose-in, horn-in, muscle-in; see also INTERFERENCE.

You, AOL crept into my space and wrote your agenda above my words.

Just like Alzheimer's disease crept into Peggy's mind, took her free will away with it's intrusion into her life.

Hey Peggy, we still have our spunk!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I was upset when I saw the Add Banner across the top of my journal!

It is tacky and offensive!

AOL did not ask permission to do this to our journals.

I apologize to all who read my words and have to see the add banner across the top of my journal.

If you also have feelings about this contact...


And tell them what you think!

I know that Peggy wouldn't like it one bit!

Pretty soon, we will be putting add banners on our babies if we don't stop this assault of advertising on our eyes and minds!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, November 14, 2005


I talked with Peggy last night.  Her voice was strong and she said that she was happy. I could tell that she had no idea who she was talking with and that still stings my heart.

She still can not make a sentence as she talks and I find myself talking faster to cover up the empty spaces.

Everything was going fine until I asked her how Mary Ellen ( the doll that I gave her ) was doing. I asked her if she held Mary Ellen and if Mary Ellen was a good baby.

The moment that I said the word "Baby", Peggy started whispering and laid the phone down and walked away.

Her husband said that she whispers about babies a lot.

I wonder what is going on in her mind when the word baby is mentioned?

I'll have to remember not to say baby again.

It is difficult to talk to her and watch every word that I say.

I want to make her feel better, not worse and I feel like I made things worse last night.

I love my sister so much and it feels strange to admit  that I  really don't know her any longer.

I know who she was before I started watching her disappear. But now, she is a stranger with a familiar voice and I am a stranger to her.

I am a strange voice on the other end of the phone line who calls and asks about her day.

I know what it feels like to be with thousands of people and not recognize a single face.

I know what it feels like to be in a strange city and not know my way around.

I know what it feels like to be sick and to be alone.

I know what it feels like to not understand instructions and give up on a project.

I know what it feels like to have children chattering and asking questions while trying to complete a task.  I am not a multi-task person. I have to focus my attention on one task at a time and when that is not possible, I make mistakes.

I know what it feels like to be in a country and not understand the language. I remember how frustrating it was to try and get people to understand what I was saying to them.

I know what it feels like to be in so much pain that I feel numb. I know what it feels like to try and explain the level of pain that I was feeling to another person.

I know what it feels like for my mind to go blank when trying to remember a name or recall a place.

I know what it feels like to forget how to spell a word and have to look it up in the dictionary.

Knowing all of these things...

I can understand a little of what it must feel like to have Alzheimer's disease.

I can understand a little of what it might feel like to be Peggy.

We are becoming more like strangers to one another with every passing day.

I was talking to a stranger on the phone last night and Peggy was listening to a stranger talk to her.

The only thing that I have in common now with Peggy, is our past.

Peggy doesn't remember a past and she doesn't remember me and so to Peggy....

I am just a stranger who calls to ask about her day. A stranger who is speaking a foreign language and she cannot understand my words.

It is difficult for me to put stranger and Peggy in one sentence but thats where we are today.

Two strangers on the phone.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Friday, November 11, 2005


I called Peggy today but she wasn't able to talk.

That seems so strange to me. How does a person lose the ability to communicate? Her mind seems to have been swept clean of all thoughts and memories.

Trying to get her to say anything is like walking up to a beautiful house in the dark and knocking on the front door.

All the lights are on but there are thick shades over the windows. I can see light shining through the edge of the window shades and I can hear sounds from the inside of the house. That tells me that someone is home.

I walk to the front door and ring the door bell and knock as hard as I can but no one comes to open the door.

I stand on the outside of the house and ring the doorbell over and over but no one hears me and no one can let me come inside.

 I know that Peggy is still inside of her body somewhere but she has lost the ability to walk to the front door of her mind and open it.

Peggy is like that beautiful house standing in the dark.

Her lights are on but dimming, the shades to her mind are darker and thicker. 

Peggy will never be able to open the door of her mind and let me come inside to visit...ever again.

She will remain a beautiful house with no keys to the doors. 

No keys to open her mind.

No keys to open her spirit.

No keys to open her heart.

Alzheimer's disease has taken the keys of Peggy's life and thrown them away.

The house where Peggy lives is locked. It will remain locked until she leaves this earth and.....

 Meets God.

I think that God will smile and hang Peggy's life key's on the door of her mind that day                    


She Will Remember her life and she will remember that I am her sister and that I love her.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Thursday, November 10, 2005


Most day's, I do pretty well as I continue to watch Peggy disappear from my life.

But then, there are days like today when I would give anything to pick up the phone, call her and tell her what has been going on in my life this week.

She would be very happy about the ViVi award but there is no way that I can share that news with her.

I wonder if she is lonely or sad and wishes that she could share her thoughts with me.

Alzheimer's disease is a vicious malady.

Alzheimer's hasn't only affected Peggy, it has affected our whole family.

Peggy is still alive but she is dead.

She has a mind but she cannot think like she did.

She has a mouth but she cannot talk about her day.

She cannot give and she cannot receive.

Peggy, just is....And I miss her so much!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



Monday, November 7, 2005


                            2005 VIVI AWARD


Thank you for reading my thoughts and for understanding as I write this journal.

Thank you for the comments you leave. Comments that are helping me continue this journal.

Thank you for walking with me as I continue to.....

Watch My Sister...Disappear.

I Love You Today, Peggy and know that you would be so proud!

Proud that I am helping others to understand what Alzheimer's disease feels like from the outside...

Looking in.

I love you and miss you more than I can write!

Mary Louise

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


We accumulate grief over a lifetime. When something life altering happens, all of the other grief that we have experienced in our life time, line up like dominos set to fall...one after the other.


I wish that we had a wall of cubby holes in our minds to store the grief after it has happened.

We would experience the grief and place it in the cubby hole in our mind, never to experience it again.

If we could do that, the past grief would not color the grief of the present.

I could experience my grief, one at a time, check it off and store it in cubby holes marked for the grief...

DOG DIED...5 years old

GRANDFATHER DIED...7 years old

FIRST LOVE...broke up, 17 years old

MOTHER DIED....34 years old

 And so it would go on through our lives, experiencing and putting grief away in a special cubby hole.

I do not mean to say that we would not remember our grief and the pain that accompanied it. But we would not relive it over and over again and mix it with the grief of the present.

I could experience the pain and grief of today and one day, put it away in the cubby hole marked..


Ralph Waldo Emerson said;

Finish every day and be done with it....Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair.

It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise