Once, while at the beach, my husband and I trudged through the hot sand with colorful floats in tow, to reach the water.
We were going to float in the warm sun and water. The Gulf was calm that day and it felt safe to float. We plodded to waist high water and laid down on the floats and closed our eyes. We held each others hands so that we would stay close to one another.
Soon, in our contentment, we let our hands go. We drifted out to sea and didn't even notice until we heard the shrill whistle of the life guard. His whistle kept blaring again and again. I was aggravated because the sound was playing havoc with my dreamy rest upon the sea. I opened my eyes and gasped when I saw how far we had drifted from the shore. Fear ran through me as I also saw the life guard jumping up and down on the beach. He was flailing his arms with a "come in" motion. It was not a come in when you have time motion but a come in...Now motion!
I remember the chill of fear that ran through ever fiber of my body as I thought...Maybe, the life guard has seen a shark!
We turned our floats sideways and began to paddle back to shore but the harder we paddled the farther we drifted out to sea.
My husband was ahead of me and kept yelling, paddle harder, Mary Louise. Paddle harder!
My legs felt like they had been filled with cement as I continued to make my way to shore.
After what seemed like hours of paddling, we finally made it back to shore and collapsed on the warm sand.
We had made it! We were safe!
The life guard warned us to never get out that far again. Through our panting and catching our breath, we nodded our heads in agreement.
We had gotten caught in a rip tide that was taking us farther and farther from the safety of the beach and out into the shipping lanes.
The interesting thing about it was that it happened so calmly and slowly that we didn't even notice that we were in danger until our ears heard the shrill sound of the lifeguards whistle.
This is how Alzheimer's disease slowly and calmly entered Peggy's life.
She was floating through life and began to notice that she was forgetting important dates. Then she noticed as she handled money, that she could not figure out how to make change.
Slowly and calmly she forgot where she had put her jewelry and other things. While driving, she realized that she couldn't remember how to get home.
She was drifting out into the Alzheimer's sea on the colorful float of her life.
She was taken to a Doctor who would became her lifeguard. The Doctor began to blow a warning whistle but it was too late for Peggy to hear.
Peggy could not hear the shrill, warning whistles that the Doctor was blowing because she had already drifted out into the shipping lanes of the Alzheimer's sea.
Now, Peggy is lying on the colorful float of her life. Her eyes are closed and she is calm as she continues to drift away.
I can still see her from the shore. I see her drifting farther and farther away.
I jump up and down on the warm sand and frantically wave my arms trying to call her back to shore.
She doesn't hear me or see me as I motion for her to come back to the safety of the beach and to me.
Peggy just keeps drifting away and will until she is just a dot on the horizon in the Alzheimer's ocean.
One day, with Alzheimer's research, a boat will be launched...
and people will be pulled from the icy waters of this disease to safety.
But for Peggy....
The rescue has been called off and the rescue ship will never reach her in time.
She will continue to drift until she is out of sight of the shore and of the people who love her....
Peggy will disappear from the horizon but she will never be forgotten by a lonely figure standing on the shore of life and searching the water of the Alzheimer's ocean.
Searching..... For Peggy...
So that I can say to her...
You have made it...You are safe!
I Love You Today, Peggy!