I had an interesting thing happen to me.
I went to a new dentist and was sitting in the waiting room looking at a magazine.
A woman came in and sat across from me. I said hello and went back to reading the magazine.
She started a conversation and we began to talk.
She said that her mother had Alzheimer's disease and she was going to visit her later in the day.
I told her about Peggy and that she, also had Alzheimer's disease. I told her that I knew every case was different but that I understood some of the pain that she was experiencing.
She got tears in her eyes and agreed with me.
She was called into the dentist office and I continued to read the magazine while waiting to be called for my appointment.
I did not see the woman again while I was there.
After my appointment, I went to the window to check out. The woman checking me out said; Barbara, the lady you were talking to commented on what you said about her mother.
She said that you looked so together that it shocked her to hear about your sister and that you must not be very close to her.
She said that you looked like someone that never had anything bad to happen.
I really wasn't sure how to take what she said.
I have thought about her statement.
Some people carry all of the pain of their lives on their faces.
You know immediately when you meet them that they are dealing with great pain and suffering.
Some people carry the pain and suffering in their hearts.
It does not make the pain of watching Peggy disappear any less of a trama because I do not carry the pain on my face.
Every one deals with pain the best way that they can.
Judgement can be hurtful.
Maybe, I should stand on a corner, beat my chest and cry...I'm watching my sister....disappear.
Or just maybe, I approach my pain in a different way.
I carry my pain inside and write to let it out.
Peggy would be embarrassed and angry with me if she thought that the pain she has caused by disappearing had etched lines into my face and showed every day.
My pain about Peggy is real but just not on display for everyone to see when they first meet me.
I only share the depth of my pain with people that I trust to listen and people who will not judge the level of my pain by the look on my face.
I hear the words of my Mother and Grand Mother and have integrated them into my life.
"I don't care what happens to you in your life. You can still smile through your tears. Comb your hair and put on your clothes. Put on a little lipstick and a little rouge. You can handle anything that comes your way with grace and dignity".
I Love You Today, Peggy and I want you to know that......
I put on my clothes, combed my hair and added a little lipstick and blush. I am smiling as I remember you with all the grace and dignity that I can find.