Monday, October 30, 2006


We  were supposed to turn our clocks back on Saturday night in Ohio.

The big...Fall Back.

We never got the chance to change our clocks because our power went off at 3:00 pm and didn't come on again until 5:00 am the next morning.

It was very quiet in the house with no television, computer or radio. When night came, it was dark inside the house and dark outside as well.

One never notices the power in our homes until it is gone.

I forgot how our senses are bombarded with the sights and sounds of our modern world.

Alone in the dark, I found myself with....... me.

There were no distractions to keep my mind busy and to keep me from being alone and thinking.

I learned that being without power every once in a while is a good thing because it forced me to be with me with no outside distractions.

It forced me to take charge and find ways to be comfortable in my home without power to light my night.

I thought about how the power in Peggy's brain is being shut off a little more every day.

I was able to find flash lights and lanterns to light the night in my home.

Peggy cannot do that for herself. Her power is turned off and she has no way of taking charge of her situation.

I decided to use the time without electrical power, as a time for reflection and to get to know me again. I knew that eventually, the power will be restored and my life would go on as usual.

I found that after a period of adjustment,  I was comfortable in the dark with no television, radio or computer to keep me company.

There was nothing to keep me from being with the one person that I really need to get to know again....


When our power came back on and the darkness of the house was gone and it was bright again, I was the first one to shout...ALRIGHT!!!!!!!

I love the light in our home but it was good to sit in the dark...

Just using the time to get to know me again and thinking of Peggy.

Peggy is lost in the dark with no power trucks and brave people to work through the night to restore the power to her brain.

My prayer for Peggy during this black out was that she is comfortable in the dark of Alzheimers disease and is not afraid to live in the night of the disease.

I still struggle with the knowledge that there is nothing that I can do to restore the power to her brain.

Sometimes, I need to find the balance between my need to fix things for her and just being comfortable to sit in the dark.

I cannot restore the power to Peggy's brain no matter how much I wish that I could.          So....................

I sit in the dark place of my mind with wonderful memories of Peggy to light my night.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, October 26, 2006


( Shared with Barbara's permission)

 Dear Mary Louise,

Ray and I  visited with Peggy in the assisted living home last weekend.  I still have not processed all of it yet. 

 It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. She is the youngest one in the complex only 58 years old.  Everyone else was in their 80's and 90's. 
When we arrived, she was sitting at the nurses station and the staff told her she had visitors and she smiled as she was getting up from her chair.  She laughed some too.
She really enjoyed Ray because he joked with her.  Brooke and Richard arrived around 1:30 PM.  She laughed when Brooke told something that happened when she was a small child. 
Peggy  knows some things, too.  I could say Peggy...come sit here and she would. 
 We took her out of the complex but had her back by dinner time.  At lunch after I showed her how to feed herself she did it for a while. But I had to feed her at supper. 
I could go on and on about the visit but I still need to process the time spent with her.  
On Sunday, when we arrived she was sitting at the dinner table staring out the window and it didn't matter that we were there because she just kept staring outside. 
      After 30 minutes, I told Ray I needed to leave because I was starting to cry and feared I would break completely down. She turned when I left and just looked at me. 
 It was so hard to leave her there but I know it is the best place for her now.  How her husband does it, I do not know but only know that God has him completely in his hands.  It has to break his heart.  

  Sunday night when I called him, he was brushing her hair.  He gets her hair done each week and tries to keep her looking nice.  She would be horrified to know how she looks now.              Ray was pleasantly surprise about how well she looked and I was too.  She hasn't changed much in the way of how looks when I saw her in July 2005. 
I know God has her now and am grateful that she accepted Christ when she was young because if she had not done that,  I don't know if I could handle everything. 
There were good times spent with her and I am grateful for that. 
She constantly whispers and you cannot tell what she is saying because it is all in her mind but she tries to keep a beat with her foot when she hears music. When I asked her if she liked to sing she would whisper some type of song. 
There were some funny things that happened on Sat with other people in the home.
She liked my watch so I left it with her along with an ALABAMA bracelet  and a sisters bracelet too.  She had the watch on the table when we got there Sunday morning.   
She wasn't smiling much on Sunday and just sat there staring out of the window.                                                                    The only way I can describe it was that she looked "hollow". 
 She use to sing Amazing Grace and Jesus Love Me but she can't now.  When we left her, we took her up front and a lady was sitting there with a Broadman Baptist Hymnal in her lap.  I told her Peggy use to sing Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me.  She looked straight at me and said "that song... Jesus Loves Me says it all!  Then added that she was Presbyterian and so were her parents and her brothers and sisters.
Peggy loved music especially country music.  At Stepping Stone, where Peggy is, they play classical music and what they  played, sounded like funeral music to me. I wanted to put country music on for Peggy.
We stayed with her from 11 AM to 6:30 PM on Saturday. 
It is heartbreaking only because she is so young! But she is where she needs to be and Ricky takes such loving care of her and she smiles when she sees him. 
She didn't  know who we were but knows Ricky is someone who comes to see her everyday at a certain time.
I believe she might have recognized my name. 
Ricky has decorated her room and it looks so nice.  He has the family pictures set out, too. 
ML, her doll is one her bed and the staffer said that she will sometimes hold it.  I took a picture of her with the doll and amazingly, they have the same haircut and color. I have several pictures of her with "her baby" and will send them to you.  
 Again, our visit on Saturday was good but it was still hard to leave her. 
It makes you re- evaluate your life and has taught me that time is so short.
Peggy still has a sense of humor and laughed when she hit her head on a handle while trying to get into the car when we took her for a ride. 
 Another note...since Ricky was out of town another male patient, sitting at her table got her napkin out and placed her silverware so she could reach it and told me that her husband was out of town and he had to help her at the table. 
So sweet don't you think? 

It was a good visit and when I talked to Ricky Sunday night, he was combing her hair after he had taken her to the rest room.  
Also, I noticed one other thing....while she was eating lunch she didn't spill any food on herself! 
I do that all the time!!!! 
With love, Barbara

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


We just returned from an 8 day cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.

We had a relaxing, wonderful time on the ship and my husband and I enjoyed being together.

We visited the same ports that Peggy and her husband visited on their last cruise together.

I enjoyed sitting on our balcony and looking at the sea as we skimmed the top of the blue water.

One evening, I sat on the balcony in the early hours of the morning. I watched the black night turn into a blanket of stars lighting up the sea. I thought of Peggy cruising the same waters when her mind was crisp and her eyes could take in all of the night and see all of the stars.

I felt a strong connection to her that evening. I knew that she had seen the same ocean and the same stars and ports from the balcony of her cabin so many years earlier.

I felt a tug of sadness in my heart because I knew that I could never share my memories of this cruise with her.

I was on the deck as we slid into the Port of St. Thomas. I looked at the beautiful landscape and knew that Peggy had seen the same sights on her cruise. I felt close to her as we walked the streets of St. Thomas.

 I thought of Peggy when we reached  St. Maarten and glided into the port.

I was seeing all of this beauty through my eyes but also....

Through Peggy's eyes......

I felt a connection to her as I took in the beauty of the Islands for I was looking and seeing the same things that she had seen years earlier.

I thought of the excitement that she must have felt because of the excitement that I felt with each day at sea and each port of call.

I was comforted just knowing that I was seeing everything on this cruise through....

Peggy's eyes.

I love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



Thursday, October 12, 2006


Peggy's eyes have told the story of her descent into Alzheimer's disease.

Before Alzheimer's disease entered her mind, her eyes were green and sparkled with light and laughter.

When she began to notice that something was wrong, her eyes grew serious as she submitted to test after test with no diagnosis.

Time passed and fear showed from the window of her soul. She knew something was wrong but did not know what was happening to her.

Then, I remember when her eyes began to show serious fear because she had started to forget major events and appointments.

We all do that kind of thing in our daily lives and it is perfectly normal. The difference with Peggy was that she didn't remember that she had forgotten.

The eyes can show a range of emotions.

The eyes reveal what Alzheimer's disease does to a mind. It blocks out the light of the brain and the eyes grow dark and blank.

Peggy's eyes are no longer green and there is no sparkle left in them.

Alzheimer's disease has frozen her brain and her eyes have turned cold. The stare from her eyes is....


But I know that deep inside of her mind, there is still some of the Peggy that I knew......Still some of the light and laughter left somewhere deep inside of her.


It is frozen and has no way to thaw and work its way to the windows of her soul.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, October 8, 2006


Sometimes, when I think of Peggy, I am looking through a window pane in my mind.

I am looking through that window and seeing the Peggy that I used to know.

Looking through my window, I see her healthy and laughing.

Looking through my window, I see her talking with emotion.

Looking through the window in my mind, I see her the way she was and not the way she is today.

Then, something began to happen as I gazed through the panes of my memory glass.

Alzheimer's disease has turned off the sun and is drawing the curtains on Peggy's life.

I am aware that I see what I want to see in the window of my mind about my sister.

 Peggy is getting harder to see through the glass of the real world window.

I am glad that the sun always shines and the curtains are always open in the window of my mind.

I can always go to my memory, open the window and see Peggy laughing and enjoying life.

Windows are wonderful things. They keep the cold out and the warm in......

Windows let us view the outside world without experiencing the extreme weather conditions on our skin.

 The window in my mind keeps my memories of Peggy just beyond the clear glass panes.

The window in my mind keeps the memories of my sister....warm.

The window in my mind keeps my memories of Peggy safe from the cold of Alzheimer's disease.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I'll see you outside of my window today! My curtains are open and I have polished the window panes. I will open my window and let the fresh air inside.

I'll see you Peggy........

In the window of my mind.......

The way you were.

Mary Louise