Friday, March 31, 2006


Peggy continues to sink deeper into her world of Alzheimer's disease.

She seems happy and content but cannot verbalize any longer. She carries on a conversation with herself and I wonder what she is thinking and saying.

Her conversations with herself must be comforting to her because she seems happy.

It still feels strange to be eliminated from her world.

I will talk to her this weekend even though I know that it will be a one way conversation.

She does not have to say anything to me because she doesn't remember me but....

 It would be nice to hear her say my name again. Saying a persons name means that you remember who they are.

I'm glad that I can remember for the both of us when I talk to her. That helps get through the strain of hearing her familiar voice and knowing there is no recognition of who I am.

There is a point in the decline of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease and it is.....

 The point of acceptance.

Acceptance does not come easy and I have fought it for years as I have watched Peggy disappear.

Acceptance is easing into my mind and I know that for Peggy, there will be no cure.  I  have accepted that fact intellectually but still hang on to the tiny glimmer of hope that a cure will come for her.

I am learning to accept that the life that I knew with Peggy is over except for the memories. I am learning to accept that there is nothing that I can do to change that fact.

It is like living in a house for 50 years and spending the last night there. It is walking through the house with all of my belongings and memories of Peggy packed up.

I walk through the empty rooms of my mind where Peggy used to live.

I look around and see the memories of a life time all packed in boxes. I touch each box with tender care, remembering.

I walk out of the house for the last time and close the door but do not lock it. I walk away from the house and pause to look back over my shoulder. I can see a little Peggy and Mary Louise running in the yard. I can see us sitting on the front porch and counting the cars that pass by.

I can see us walking out of the front door in our prom gowns on the arm of our dates.

I can hear us as we lie in bed giggling and sharing secrets. I can also hear us argue when we were mad at one another.

There are so many memories in the house where Peggy and I used to live.

I know that it is time to look away from the house and walk away and I am taking small steps down the walk.

I still look back at the house where we spent 18 years together as we grew up.

 I will never forget what it felt like to live there. And

I will never forget the courage it takes....

To leave.


I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I read this today and I teared up when I thought of Peggy and our years as close sisters.

It was written by Lisa Lorden.

My sister is my past.

She writes my history.

In her eyes I recognize myself.

Memories only we can share.

She remembers, she forgives.

She accepts me as I am....

with tender understanding.


This is what I have lost to Alzheimer's disease. This is what our whole family has lost.

I have lost my sister, my forever friend.

I have lost apart of my past that only Peggy remembered.

She no longer can write my history because she has forgotten hers.

I do not recognize her when I look in her eyes for her green eyes have been replaced with black holes. Her eyes look at me as a stranger.

She no longer remembers and she has no way to forgive.

She cannot accept me as I am because she doesn't remember who I am.

The tender understanding that we shared is lost.

It has all been lost to....

Alzheimer's disease.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, March 27, 2006


Do you ever drift into a place when being a grown-up seems too much, too hard, too stressful?

Do you ever have those nights as an adult, when you wish that your mother and daddy could tuck you into bed? That they could sit by your bedside until you drifted off to sleep?  Maybe even read you a story and sing you into dream land reassuring you that everything would be OK?

Do you ever wish that you could still be a grown-up but have the comforts of being cared for as a child? Just during those  times when the grown-up stresses get to be too much?

I do visit those safe places of my childhood but I do not stay there long. If I did, I would have to give up the rights and privileges of adulthood.

Peggy is in a perpetual place of childhood. She lives in a world of being taken care of and told what to do, when to eat and when to go to bed. She has lost the privileges and rights of adulthood.

She sleeps and eats well and seems happy most of the time. She lives in the childhood place of Alzheimer's disease.

 Sometimes, when all of the stresses of adulthood get too heavy and seem too much, I wish that I had my momma and daddy close to reassure me that everything will be OK.

I resite in my mind those learned lessons from my parents so long ago as I think about Peggy but........

There is just something about the voice of my mother and the big hands of my father's wrapped around my small hand that always made me believe that everything would be all right.

In the remembered voice of my mother and the remembered touch of my daddy, I can believe everything will be OK with Peggy.

It is in the reassurance that my mother and daddy taught me so long ago that I can feel reassured that Peggy will be OK.

Maybe, not in the way that I want her to be OK but she is OK because she is living in a place where she is cared for and looked after.

I know this because I can feel the reassurance of my youth.

I know that.... somewhere inside of Peggy, mother and daddy are close and I know that...

She feels it too!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Friday, March 24, 2006


I have not had access to a computer for quite a while.

I will be leaving Santa Barbara tomorrow to fly home. I have enjoyed my month stay here but am ready to go home.

There is really no place like home!

I have kept up on Peggy while I have been away and she is doing fine.

I sat on my balcony last evening and looked up at the beautiful sky, sprinkled with stars. I was enjoying the warmth of the evening breezes and thought...It is nice to be in this beautiful place but it is also nice to go home again.

I am excited about going home because I remember where home is and I remember the comfort of familiar things.

Peggy does not have that privilege because she does not remember home. She does not have to get from one place to another. She just is and her home is where she is at the moment.

I wonder what it would feel like to just be.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Sunday, March 12, 2006


Peggy said a three word sentence the other day. This is very unusual because as she slides deeper into the disease, her verbal skills are being lost.

The sentence, said to her husband gave me chills and made my heart ache for him.

He told her that he was going out of town and would not be visiting for a few days.

She looked at him and said................


He has been waiting all of this time to hear her say a sentence and the words she chose were hurtful and cold. That is what Alzheimer's disease does to a brain, it takes the warmth and loving feelings away

It made me wonder, how much does she still know?

How much does she still feel?

Was she just having a bad day or did she mean to be hurtful with her words?

There is no way to know but I do know that if she had said those words to me, it would have cut a chunk out of my heart.

Maybe, she doesn't need to care any longer. Maybe, she is still protecting herself from hurt and pain.

Or maybe, she just....

Doesn't care any longer.

She has no idea at this stage of Alzheimer's disease, how many people still care and pray for her every day.

How could she know when Alzheimer's is blocking the messages of love, care and warmth from her brain.

My fear and the pain that it causes is that she thinks that I don't care. But how could she think that when she doesn't remember who I am any longer....or does she?

I care so much that my heart cannot hold all of the pain that I feel just thinking that she feels alone and thinks that I do not care.

I will care until there are no thoughts left in my brain and soul, until there is no memory of Peggy in my mind.

I Love You Today, Peggy and...


Mary Louise



Sunday, March 5, 2006


I am in beautiful Santa Barbara for the month of March. It is good to get out of the cold temperatures of Ohio for a while.

I was sitting on the balcony last evening enjoying the warmth of the night. Looking up, I saw a dark navy blue sky dotted with brilliant stars.  The stars felt like they were inches above my head and if I reached for them,  they would be in my hands.

Every night while watching the sky, I see one or two shooting stars fly across the navy blue canvas and disappear.

I cannot help but say Ahhhh as they put on a show for me. I enjoy their brief beauty and then they are gone forever. They start their trip so bright, so strong, so beautiful. It is as if they have a mission to complete and once they make their final trip, they burn out and vanish.

The shooting stars remind me of Peggy.

She streaked across the sky of my life, burning brightly, so beautiful, so strong, so full of life. Then, it was as if her mission was completed and she was gone.

Now, as I remember her life, I can say Ahhhh. 

I can say Ahhhh because she continues to streak across the navy blue sky in my mind. 

She has left an impression in my memory that will never go away, never burn out, never fade like the shooting stars in the Santa Barbara sky.

My sister will always be a bright star because I remember.

I remember.

I remember the bright star that Peggy was to me. She lit up my life and so often, helped me find my way in the dark places of life.

I make a wish on the shooting stars that I see every night.

Maybe, my wish will come true. If not for Peggy, for all the other  bright stars out there who sit in the darkness of Alzheimer's disease.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, March 2, 2006


Peggy husband told me that she is satisfied and happy most of the time.

She likes her room and the people she sees every day in the nursing home.

Peggy is comfortable in her world of Alzheimer's disease.

I am thankful that she finds her world is comfortable.

I ask myself this question...

Why am I so uncomfortable when I think of my sister in her Alzheimer's world of comfort?

I should just be happy for her and I am most of the time but the selfish part of my mind is angry.

Who should I be angry with?

Peggy for being comfortable and forgetting about me or should I be angry at myself for having these negative feelings?

My world is uncomfortable when I think of Peggy and what we have lost.

I thought we would grow old together and be these two cute old ladies stirring up our part of the world.

Instead, she is living in her comfortable world and I will grow old without her in my life and a part of me will always be uncomfortable with that realization.

I will grow old but the memory of my sister will make me stir my world a little harder.

That what being uncomfortable does.

It will make me search for ways to find the comfort I need to get through any challenge that comes my way. I do not have Peggy in my life to discuss every day problems or joys.

Peggy may not be a physical presence in my growing older.

But her laughter and fun loving nature are a part of who I am and will be.

There will just be one old lady walking through the rest of my life. That old lady will be me but I will carry a big spoon with Peggy name on it...

Just to keep the world around me stirred up....In her honor

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I miss you.

Mary Louise