Tuesday, August 29, 2006

DIGNITY AND GRACE

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.

Mary Louise

12 comments:

wendy4145 said...

I am speachless.  Mary Louise, that so beautiful.  "Not very close to her sister" she says.  Well, the receptionist may be should learn how to shut her mouth between patients comments of each other.  If Barbara only KNEW how close you ARE to your sister Peggy.  Sounds like Barbara would bennefit from doing some journaling herself.  You are a much more healthy person than she is (while delaing with this type of diseas) because you let it out, you give it to friends who care and you give it to God.  She is carrying hers around instead of dealing with it.  

Good for you Mary Louise.  I see it as a COMPLIMENT about YOU, what Barbara and the receptionist said about and to you.  They said you are handling your situation with "Grase and Dignity"

Yes, we are all witnesses to that.

Love,
Wendy

pharmolo said...

There are ways of dealing with distress on life, Mary Louise. Each of us does it in a different way, as you pointed out. What the lady receptionist said was not considerate in any measure - that must have been quite hurtful. Follow your ancestors' advice. Bear your sorrow with dignity and grace.

eeofficemgr said...

Everytime I read one of your entries I think how lucky your sister is to have you in her life.  God Bless you.

Michelle

siennastarr said...

I'm the same way, MaryLouise.  People think that I look as though I never have a care, because I don't shout it for the world to see.  Why?  Why make everyone else suffer just because you are?  My mother always taught me the same thing as yours.

Both your sister and you, are blessed to have each other in your lives, even if you are more aware of this than Peggy.

Jackie

whitedove3622 said...

You are both very beautiful women. I know how it is to feel pain at the loss of a loved one in one way or another. My Mom and Grandmother also told me to always stand tall, fix your face and hair, no matter how your heart is breaking inside. I know that your sister would be looking lovely too if the situation were reversed. That is what makes you both who you are. Two very lovely beautiful girls your Mom and Grandmother would be proud.

mgmturner said...

Mary Louise...a very good lesson in not judging a book by the cover - not only for your situation, but for many others I can think of.

The way you share your heart about Peggy leaves no room for mistaking your deep love for her and your devotion to her.

Hugs,
Gwynn

pattboy92 said...

I can only hope that woman one day stumbles upon your blog to see how wrong she was!

There's no doubt about how you feel about Peggy for those of us who visit regularly.  I hope others dealing with similar situations have such an outlet.

Patrick
http://patricks-place.blogspot.com

softbluemist said...

I just came across your journal today, so I haven't read all the older entries, but I had to comment on this entry.  I have had two deaths in my family and have had so many people not understand why I am not falling apart or seeking counseling or on anti-depressant drugs.  I am greiving deeply, and sob until I can't see at times and I do get depressed, but I don't stop living.  I don't show the pain I feel on my face, and I don't share it with EVERYONE.  Even my doctor said.. " Well you don't seem to be handling this right.!!!" ?? What is that suppose to mean???

Like you said eveyone handles pain differently and we can't judge.. we have no idea how they feel or what they are dealing with on the inside.

Your sister would be proud, and you show deep sincere love in honoring her this way.

I will be visiting your journal again.

magogos said...

I, too, wish that woman could read this blog, for you articulate your pain so well here. It is sad that the woman could not see beyond her own pain to really connect with someone who would understand. Her judgement of you is sad, too. Margo

daddyleer said...

Thank you for visiting my journal, and this poignant entry. As a caregiver spouse, over the 20 years I've I've seen and felt so many different ways to "feel".
Patrick

stupidsheetguy said...

I don't believe for one minute that there is anything wrong with someone who handles adversity in a controlled and dignified manner. When you wrote this entry, the first person who entered my mind was Jacqueline Kennedy, and the way she carried herself after the assassination of her husband. It brought her nothing but admiration.

You don't have to stand on any corner. This pain is yours to bear, and you choose how to conduct yourself. And it's through your writing that maybe we can share even a little bit of your burden.

Jimmy

my78novata said...

I agree some wear thier pain for the whole world to see. some hide it. Dotn take it bad though it sounds bad what she said. ....... Ihave a neighbor who said when shecame over saw me taking pill after pill after pill that I did not know you had to take all this for yourself. I take herbs and vitamines nad then naproxin for my hip. I said yes if I dont I cant function as well. she said you dont say much about your pain . She complains all thetime you dont talk toher that you dont see her face grimace with pain. we wentout to a mexican resturant and she got a brain freeze from the frozen drink she bent over her face was full of pain and she was ouw owee ouch ummmmmmmm ohhhhhhhh. I had two bad ones but no one knew that night. I think some have a very low tolerance for pain and for dealing with life.