Monday, November 14, 2005

TWO STRANGERS ON THE PHONE

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

 

5 comments:

mumma4evr said...

I know that it is so hard to watch. I watched while my grandmother watched her sister disappear.
Becky

wendy4145 said...

Gosh.  I would have wanted to ask about Mary Ellen too.
well, one thing is sure, she knows who baby mary ellen IS.
if she whispers about babies "maybe she is trying not to wake them.

i don't think you said anything wrong.  You are a strong one!  I'm glad you
still call her and here her voice.  Just because her disease is getting a hold of her memory
doesn't mean you can forget to care about Peggy.  ML the STEEL MAGNOLIA
Love,
Wendy

bedazzzled1 said...

I have watched as Alzheimer's wreaks its havoc on others, and it is beyond cruel what it does to those afflicted with it. Maybe it is my nature, but I like to believe that somewhere inside the tormented individuals is a place where beautiful memories are safely tucked away and surface occasionally, at the very least.

I am sorry for the heartache you are experiencing as you watch your sister disappear.

mlrhjeh said...

I have some appreciation of your frustration.  It seems the harder you work to reach her the farther away she appears.  But who knows what she's hearing or experiencing.  I hope you will continue to reach out and try to make sense of the nonsense, it's the only hope you or she has.  I love you and respect you for all you do to try and connect, even when you continue to feel rejection.  I love you.  John


magogos said...

I am crying again, not out of pity for either of you, but because the sorrow of so long a parting seems unbearable at times. Margo