Thursday, October 26, 2006

A LETTER FROM MY SISTER, BARBARA

( 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
 

6 comments:

mosie1944 said...

I agree, the hardest part of all this is how young she is.  Makes me so sad just to think about it.

frankandmary said...

And I still feel badly at times that my dad at 85 has chosen to live in a facility now that he cannot walk & has beginning alz.......at least he was able to make a choice. ~Mary

wendy4145 said...

That was a very informative update and I know you were glad to hear about Barbara's visit with Peggy.  

Still has her sense of humor!  I love that.  God has her in his hands...  I love that.  No matter how hard the circumstances of life can be...  life can still be beautiful.

I'm glad she has her doll, that you gave her, and that they respemble eachother!

You all are taking such good care of her.

Love,
Wendy

pharmolo said...

Thank you for sharing that, it reinforces the inexorable decline that Peggy has gone through, even in the short period (about a year) that I have followed your blog. She has some very kind people around her, and her husband is plain amazing. But who wouldn't. I was pleased to read about the flashes of recognition which Peggy had - but that also made it all the more sad.

Wishing you and your family every strength,

Guido
http://journals.aol.co.uk/pharmolo/NorthernTrip

magogos said...

Thank you for sharing Barbara's letter. I have a better image of her life now, and will continue to keep you all in my thoughts. Margo

motoxmom72 said...

Mary Louise....thank you so much for sharing Barbara's letter.  I worked in long term care and know much of what you describe and your sister described of her visit.  I agree that the sad part is that she IS so young.  My mother is turning 60 on November 4th.  She really doesn't look her age.  I took care of those with Alzheimer's.  I don't know how I'd handle it if it happened to my mom.  But observing your journal entries over the past year and more, Peggy is more than just a name to me and I believe that your first hand knowledge would be helpful to me and I know it has to many others here.  Take care.....God Bless....and remember that Peggy loves you too- No matter what!
Hugs,
Gina
http://journals.aol.com/motoxmom72/GinasWeigtLossJourney
http://journals.aol.com/motoxmom72/j-land-convention/