Saturday, December 22, 2007





















Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Hey Peggy,

Christmas is always hard without you.

We had some grand times growing up this time of year.

If somewhere...somewhere in your soul, you remember Christmas at 1805 St Charles Court....I smile!

I hope you remember the love of our family at Christmas.

 Just a little part of it........ Any part of it.

We had such fun. So many laughs.


Daddy and Mother sitting in chairs. Daddy passing out the gifts.

Paper flying....

Laughter and squeals.

Happy times together as a family!

Happy times together as Sisters.

I miss those Christmases, Peggy.

I miss Mother and Daddy.


I miss you........ At Christmas and always.

I Love You Today, Peggy!


Wherever you are......

I send you my love.

Merry Christmas....2007!

Mary Louise

Thursday, December 6, 2007






I have been shopping for Christmas and searching for the perfect gifts for those I love.

 I walked through the stores at the mall and looked at all the wonderful gifts that I could buy. I took my time because these will be special gifts, opened on Christmas morning. 

While shopping, I thought about a store that I wish existed in our mall.

It would be called "The Memory Place Store".

I could go in this shop and buy my gifts to give to Peggy for Christmas.

I could stroll down the isles of the Memory Place Store and buy all of her memories back, wrap them in pretty christmas paper and give them to her this Christmas morning.

On Christmas morning, under her Christmas tree, there would be colorful boxes, decorated with bows and glitter and signed, Love, Mary Louise.

She could open the boxes one at a time and each would contain a group of  her forgotten memories. 

One box would have all the stories of her childhood.

Just by opening the box, her childhood memories would flood back into her brain as she sipped the coffee that she loved.

Next, she could open the gift box containing all of the memories of her teen years.

She would carefully take them from the box and drape them around her neck and in a flash, all of those memories would be hers again on this special Christmas day.

 Then, she would open the next three boxes.

Those boxes would have the memories of her 20's, 30's and 40's wrapped in white tissue paper.

She would open the boxes one at a time and have all of those memories drift back into her mind while sitting in the light of her shining, twinkling Christmas tree.

The next gift box would contain the memories of her husband, her marriage and of her children.

What joy would shine from her face as she looked at them lying in the box and she could remember all of the times they spent together.

She would throw the contents of the box into the air and let the memories rain down on her and bask in the glow of their love and remember each of them once again.

The last gift box would hold the memories of our parents, her sisters and her brother.

She would smile and hold the box to her heart and remember the love that we all share. She could take each memory out and hold it in her hands. She could throw the memories around like balls, bouncing them from the floor to the ceilings while laughing.

Her eyes would be shining and brimming with tears because she could remember her life and the love that was shared at Christmas time and the rest of the year.

On this special Christmas morning...The morning of miracles, Peggy could have a miracle for one day.

For this one special Christmas Day, Peggy would get 7 beautiful boxes. Each box containing the gift of the remembering her life.


She would open all of "The Memory Place Store" gifts that were carefully wrapped in beautiful paper and colorful bows.

She could unwrap her past and present and remember.

She would have one day to remember what it is like to love and be loved. 

Peggy would know on Christmas day morning that even though her life is disappearing...

My love for her will never disappear!

Just because she cannot remember.... doesn't mean that I have forgotten!

Life may end, times spent together may end but ....

Love remembered at Christmas and through the year will never end!!

Merry Christmas, Peggy!

I Love You Today!

Mary Louise

Saturday, November 17, 2007


    No one knows better than a sister       

    how we grew up, and who our

    friends, teachers and favorite toys were.

    No one knows better than she.    (Dale V. Atkins)


                        This knowing about our lives....

            Is what Alzheimer's disease took from Peggy.

                   This disease......

                                 took my sister from me.


 I have often thought that if Alzheimer's disease

could take on a form.....

It wouldn't ever want to meet me.

It would want to hide from me.

I grew up watching out for Peggy,

defending her against anyone who  was mean to her

or would harm her.

Alzheimer's disease wouldn't ever want to meet me

after what it has done to Peggy.

My anger towards this vile monster would be unleashed

and after the fight....

There would only be a greasy spot where Alzheimer's stood.


I love you Today, Peggy!   I miss you so much!

Mary Louise


Monday, November 5, 2007

ABSENT..but Remembered

The approach of the holidays is harder than ever when

someone you love cannot be apart of your life.

It really doesn't matter why they will be absent....

it is just that they are not there to celebrate with you.

 When we were first married, my husband was surprised when

my mother said how sad she would be because we were not able

to come home for Thanksgiving one year.

He said; I don't understand why she feels that way, she has 4 other children.

 He didn't understand until our own daughter could not come home one year.

 It doesn't matter how many people are present,

 if there is one person you love and that person is absent...

no one can take their place. No one can be that person.

No one can fill their place at the table or around the Christmas tree.

I feel like that about Peggy and the holidays.

I have many people in my life that I love dearly and who will bring joy for the gatherings to come.


There was just one Peggy and....................

She has disappeared and cannot be a part of the holiday joy this year!

  (THANKSGIVING FUN) Peggy, Betty Jean, Barbara

                                                                        ML   (taking picture )


Betty Jean, Barbara, Mary Louise, Peggy  (CHRISTMAS)

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I will remember you this holiday season and forever!

Mary Louise

Sunday, October 21, 2007


One of the most important things I have learned as I have watched my sister disappear........

When someone you love and have depended upon all of your life disappears,

you are forced to find yourself.

I have learned to find my own strength, my own own inter- voice, my own  inter- parent.

I didn't realize how much I depended on Peggy to tell me that everything would be Ok, everything would work out and that I would be OK.

I depended on her and she, on me.

Now, she doesn't need my guidance and I have been forced to find my own.

I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was.

I miss her very much but I am learning to depend on....


Thank you, PJ!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Thursday, October 18, 2007


I see the world around me when I look out of my eyes but

I cannot see myself.

I can only see myself if I have the reflection of a mirror or something

else that projects my image back to me.

 My world can become small if I look out of my eyes and

 cannot process what I see.

I understand the world around me because my

brain sends a message to my eyes. I learned as I grew that a tree was a tree,

a car is a car, a house is a house.

What does Peggy see, now that her brain is not sending the correct messages to her eyes. Does she remember that a tree is a tree?

I wonder if her eyes recognize that she is Peggy when she sees her reflection in the mirror.

Does her plaque filled brain send the message to her eyes that a chair is a person or a person a chair?

Peggy whispers a lot and seems to talking in a language that only

she and the person that she is whispering with in her mind can understand.

I have many questions about this disease and its effects on the brain. At present, my questions have no answers.

As I continue to try and figure this out it occurs to me.....

It really doesn't matter what Peggy sees or who she is talking with in hushed whispers during her day.

What matters is that she doesn't feel afraid or lonely. She smiles a lot and is content and happy.

If content, cared for and happy is what she sees when she looks from her eyes....

I'm glad that she can still see.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise






Monday, October 1, 2007



Photo by MaryLouiseRossHarris ...March 2007


I don't like to feel anger but I think it is healthy to feel and

acknowledge that it is there...then learn from it and move on.

I also think that it would be un-natural to say or pretend that

there is no anger while watching someone you love disappear from your life.

Maybe, I am the un-natural one for feeling and acknowledging

my anger at Peggy from time to time.

I love Peggy dearly but I still feel abandoned by her in many ways.

I struggle with feeling anger towards my sister because I know that she would have never chosen this path for her life. She had no say in disappearing from the lives of all who love her.

I feel bad sometimes because it feels like that I am the only one who feels this anger or will acknowledge it.

Peggy has been and always be a special person in my life.

I have to think about my anger when it rears its ugly head.

It forces me to sort out and understand where it is coming

 from and how to handle it.

I feel this is the only way that I can grow as a person and as Peggy's sister.

I think of my anger as a tea pot boiling on a stove.

 Once I reach the boiling point and spew out my feelings

I can remove the heat, which is the anger under the pot.

Only then can I think, sort and understand some of the

mixed feelings that I encounter from time to time

where Peggy is concerned.

I love her, no matter what. She is in my prayers all through the day

and if I wake up in the night.

I have felt anger toward Peggy during our lives as sisters.

I always told her why I was angry and she shared

her anger with me.

I think that if you love someone, you care enough to get angry.

I'm not talking about destructive anger but constructive anger.

Maybe, even a little poor me anger from time to time.


I love and care about my sister, Peggy and...

I'm still angry that she went away!

I think that is a OK statement to make because if our fates were reversed, Peggy would be giving you an ear full of her anger

about my leaving!

That's just the way the Ross girls feel about one another.

We love each other enough to get angry and share that anger with one another but always with care.

Anger doesn't need to be loud and abusive.

It may be hurtful but it can be a stepping stone to growth

if one is willing to learn.

I think that I grow each time that I am honest and

acknowledge that I have feelings of anger concerning Peggy.

It does not hurt Peggy and will not hurt me if I understand

where it is coming from and strive to learn as I go through

this long process of watching her disappear.

I know that I grow each time that I refuse to sit in the anger

for very long.

I have found that I never have to sit in my pool of anger

for very long before I learn something interesting about myself.

I have learned that if I sat in my pool of anger for to long...

I  would drown and be of no help to anyone.

I have learned so much while watching Peggy disappear.

I have learned that I can be angry with the disease and with Peggy

and it is OK to have those feelings.

I have learned to jump into the pool of my anger, swim around for awhile, get out and dry off.

I Love You, Peggy and thank you for teaching me how to swim.

I'm perfecting the back stroke, the butterfly and the

quick underwater turns.

You will be proud to know that I am swimming better every day!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise






Wednesday, September 26, 2007










I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Monday, September 17, 2007


This letter and reply was in "Dear Abby" this morning. Dear Abby is written by Jeanne Phillips, whose mother founded the column. You can write Dear Abby at Box 69440, Los Angles, Ca. 90069



After a 10 year battle, I recently lost my husband to Alzheimer's disease.

My darling was handsome, brilliant and athletic, a chemist and an avid golfer.

Our family was confused and concerned when he began to lose the ability to do simple tasks.

 The progression of his illness was devastating physically, emotionally and financially.

No one should have this disease, either as a person afflicted with it or as a caregiver who is helpless to intervene.

Alzheimer's disease is not the funny punch line of a joke that it has been made out to be.

It's the seventh-leading cause of death in this country, yet it doesn't seem to get the attention that cancer, heart disease or even AIDS does.

What can I do to ensure that Alzheimer's won't affect my children and grandchildren?

Elizabeth in Dallas


Your concerns are echoed by the families of more than 5 million American's currently living with Alzheimer's and the nearly 10 million people who are providing their care.

If something isn't done about it now, an estimated 16 million people will have it by the year 2050.

I applaud your determination to get involved.

September 21 is WORLD ALZHEIMER'S DAY, and I hope that you- and others-

will join the Alzheimer's Association by becoming an Alzheimer's Champion, as I have.

To learn more about the disease and how you can take steps to join the fight,



This letter was real to me as I have and continue to......

Watch My Sister Disappear.........

From Alzheimer's disease.

If you don't know anyone with the disease..Do it for Peggy!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise




Friday, September 7, 2007


I wrote this letter to Peggy.

I did not intend to share it with anyone. 

I thought that as raw as my feeling were, 

it might be important to someone who has similar feelings.......

while they watch someone they love disappear.



Dear Peggy,

I have felt an angry edge all summer.

I wasn't angry at anyone in particular but felt that I was carrying some angry feelings that I couldn't put my finger on.

Where were they coming from, who was I angry with, why did I feel this way?

I know that you don't know or probably care that I haven't come to see you in a long time.

I didn't even know why I couldn't bring myself to see you, I just knew that I couldn't and didn't want to if I am honest.

I have been searching my mind and trying to figure me out!

Not an easy task for the brightest psychiatrist or renown therapist! 

   You, Peggy Jane could always see right through me and did many times! You could point out things to me before I could see them myself.

I have to admit that it wasn't always a pleasant experience.

You know how much I have always loved you. You were my audience when we were growing up. You were my biggest cheerleader and my friend as we grew into adults. I depended on you and you on me.

So, why can't I come to see you now? Why have I dug my heels in and stood firm?

I have beat myself up over this dilemma, believe me.

I have thought it was because you really wouldn't even know it was me or that I had traveled many miles to be where you live now.

I have thought it was because I hate to fly or drive that far.

I have thought it was because I couldn't stand the thought of seeing you as you are today.

I have thought and thought, analyzed and sorted out reasons.

The truth is Peggy....

I'm scared!

I'm scared that you will not know me and that would break my heart. I have protected my heart all summer and to have it broken in a moment .... I'm not sure my heart is ready for that right now.

I'm scared, Peggy!

You were the most kind and caring person in the world. I couldn't take not seeing those traits in your eyes now.

I know that it is not all about me, it never has been and you know me well enough to know that..if you remembered me and I don't think that you would or could for more than a moment.

Another big thing that I have discovered about me, Peggy is...

I am so angry with you!

I am so angry!!!!!! You know how mad and stubborn I can get in my anger.

I am so...SO Angry with YOU!

How could you do this to me and to everyone who loves and cares about you??

How could you leave like this?

How could you just retreat into yourself like you have? 

How dare you be here in body but not in mind?

 How dare you!!!!!

I know that Mother taught us to be patient and kind to anyone who was ill but Peggy....

She never told us how to handle something like this.... Something like you getting sick and going away but NOT going away at the same time!

I feelso much anger towards you tonight, Peggy!

I just had to write it down.

There is one major thing that I have learned over the years and

it is....................

You only get angry with someone you trust. Someone you trust

and someone who will hear your anger and not go away.

You always heard my anger and never went away, Peggy....

What am I supposed to do with my anger towards you now????

 I have anger towards you, Peggy and you are not here to hear it because you have really....

 Gone away!

I Love You Today, Peggy!  Through the anger and tears.

Mary Louise






Saturday, September 1, 2007


When someone you love has Alzheimer's disease, it is like looking at them through the window of a locked house. You have no key to the house and can never open the door and walk inside.

You can only see them if you stand on the outside of their house and look through the window.

A major problem with standing on the outside of their window and trying to look inside, is that the window gets more fogged and more dirty with each passing year. 

 The person you remember becomes more and more distorted as the sooty film continues to cover the window to their soul.

With the passing of time and the build-up of soot and fog on the window of who they were........

 It is more difficult for you to see them or for them to see you.

Peggy's window has a build-up of fog that is getting more dense and it is more difficult to see her from this side of her window.

Maybe, with time and research, windows can be cleaned and the people behind the windows will be able to walk to the door, open it wide and let the sun shine into the window of their minds again.

I know that the window of opportunity Peggy and I had ......has been closed and is covered with fog and a gray soot.

One of the things that I deal with as I watch Peggy disappear  is that.......

She doesn't see me standing on the outside of her window any longer and even if she did, she wouldn't remember who I am or why I am standing there. She wouldn't recall the connection we had in our lives.

I don't think that Peggy sees a fogged or dirty window as she stares....

Out of  the window of her mind

It is only dirty and fogged when I try to look.............


I Love You Today, Peggy!

I miss you!

Mary Louise


Thursday, August 30, 2007



I never realized that this goodbye wave.....

 Really meant goodbye!

I wonder if Peggy ever gets lonely.

She is surrounded by care givers and medical staff 24 hours a day where she lives.

But does she get lonely?

Do people who suffer from diseases like Alzheimer's, Pick's and other dementia diseases remember what lonely is or what it feels like?

I know that I have felt lonely in crowds. I was in a city once at the airport and there were thousands of people rushing in every direction. I sat waiting for a plane and looked at the faces of people as they rushed by me and there was not a single face that was familiar. In the thousands of people, I felt completely alone.

Is this what Peggy feels?

Alone and lonely is a terrible place to visit much!

Everyone tells me that Peggy smiles a lot and seems happy in her world.

Maybe, she has forgotten what lonely is and what lonely feels like.

Maybe, she is just happy to be loved and cared for and doesn't spend time connecting with the feeling of lonely.

I really hope that she isn't lonely in her world of Alzheimer's disease. The disease has already taken so much from her...... Maybe, it has done a nice thing in all it has destroyed.

Maybe, it has made her forget....

What lonely feels like.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Monday, August 27, 2007



 The Peggy that I knew has been absent from my life for a long time now.

I think of her every day and say prayers for her constantly in my mind.

It has become a way of life without the sister that I love.

I still think of calling her when something happens in my day but I know that she won't be there to listen and care.

It is a strange feeling to become comfortable in these feelings because I fought them for so long.

 I saw a show last night about Elvis Presley. He had finished his preformance and left the stage but people in the audience were frozen in place. They were screaming and crying and waving their tickets for one more song, one more glance, one more sight of him on stage. While the people were calling and screaming for one more anything from him, a voice came over the auditorium speaker and stated.........

Elvis has left the building!

It meant that there was no need to scream and cry for another look at Elvis. No need to wave a ticket and demand that he return.  The croud of fans would not hear his voice from the stage one more time.  Because as much as the people longed to see and hear him again,the show was over and Elvis had left the building and wasn't coming back.

It took the crowd a while to calm down and realize that the show was really over. People were still crying and wanting more when they slowly realized that there more.

In many ways, that is where I  find myself with Peggy.

It will never be the same.............. With her or Without her 

I don't think that being resigned  to her leaving means that I have to give up hope. I don't think that it means we love the person any less. I do think that it means we move on in our lives while still loving and caring and being there for them in a variety of ways.

I am not saying that I will ever move so far away that I forget about the Peggy that I knew. I  never could because she has helped to mold me into the person that I am today...but the past is a nice place to visit but not a healthy place to live.

I don't think that I will ever give up hope that one day, she will just wake up,  like in fairy tales or the movies. That is who I am and will always be...hopeful.

Peggy has lost so much time at this point in her life if she did wake up, she would see that the world that has moved on and changed without her. Children have grown to fine adults, grandchildren are years older. Sisters and brother have aged and changed. Peggy would be surprised at all the changes in the world and in herself if she woke up today.  None of us are the same as when she slipped away years ago. Wanting her back is selfish on my part because it would be very hard for her to adjust to all the changes. I want the old Peggy back but I am resigned to the fact that the old Peggy is gone forever, even if she were to wake up tomorrow.

I have been doing a lot of deep thinking tonight. I'm not sure if any of it will make sense to anyone but me.

All I know is that my sister Peggy is no longer the sister that I knew and that feels strange. It feels strange but it has become a part of life for me now.

There will be no more contact with the old Peggy. The Peggy that was comfortable in my life for so many years because........... like Elvis....

Peggy Has Left The Building.

She left a long time ago but like the Elvis fans.........

I have been sitting in the auditorium of yesterday, frozen to my seat and waving the ticket of all my Peggy memories hoping that she will reappear one more time.

I will never give my ticket away because it is too precious. It is the ticket to the "Peggy Show" that plays in my mind even though....

Peggy Has Left The Building!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise




Friday, August 17, 2007


I was in the dentist office yesterday. The room was small with padded chairs lining the walls. The chairs were decorated with grass green cushions and a ton of worn magazines littered the small tables.

In one corner of the room sat a mother with three small children who were all playing on the floor. The little boy was running cars back and forth on the shaggy rug and the girls were talking with animated faces while playing with their dolls.

I noticed that one of the little girls small for her age. I thought she must be around four years old. She had wispy, thin blonde hair and eyes that sparkled as she talked. The other noticeable thing about her was that she had a very large nose and it did not fit her small face. She seemed blissfully unaware of her face or her nose.

The door to the office opened and a little boy walked in with his Dad. The boy looked at the children playing on the floor as he walked past them at to sit in a chair on the other side of the room. He looked like he might be four or five years old.

He watched the three children as they played and didn't offer to join them. The little girl looked up at him and said, wanna play?

He jumped down to join them on the floor. He was waiting to be wanted.

He didn't notice that the little girl had wispy, thin hair or that her nose was too large for her face like I did.

He just saw someone who had asked him to join in the play. He was unaware of her physical appearance as he jumped down to play.

I watched them play and laugh and wondered when self- consciousness enteres the mind. At what age do we notice we are different and retreat into ourselves?

At this point in the young lives, they are equal. There is no skin color, no ugly or pretty, no difference. They are just playing and enjoying one another.

They will be blissfully un-aware until we teach them different.

Peggy is at a stage of being blissfully un-aware.

She doesn't worry about her weight, hair, make-up or if people like her or not.

She is blissfully unaware and lives in the moment just like the children on the floor of the dental office.

This state of being will not change for Peggy like it will for the children I saw yesterday.

She continues to go backward in time.

I am thankful that she is blissfully unaware.

She needs the basic needs met and nothing more.

No houses or cars. No clothes or fancy jewelry.

She only needs to be taken care of and loved...just like the children on the floor......

There are times when I think that blissfully un-aware would be a nice place but....

I'm not ready to move there because I am too..... aware.

I am glad that Peggy has un-learned some of the lessons that we were taught as we grew from children to adults.

I am glad that nothing hurts her feelings and hurtful words mean nothing but.....

When a negitive is taken away so is the positive that is always on the flip side.


I love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I finally have my computer up and running again.

I will be sharing the thoughts that I have been writing in my notebook while I have been away from my computer.

It has been a resting period for me and one that I needed.

Peggy is doing as well as can be expected for this stage of the disease.

My sisters, Betty Jean and Barbara have visited with her and I will share some of their memories of that visit.

Last week was our sister's week and we all missed Peggy more than I could possibly write. It was good to have the time together with my sisters to remember the past, live in the present and talk about the future.

I love you today, Peggy!

Sister's Week with the three of us was fun but Oh, Peggy.... We all felt the empty place where you used to be!!!!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I just finished writing a long entry that simply...disappeared!

My last entry gave the impression that something had happened to Peggy.

Peggy is doing well and seems to be happy most of the time.

Nothing can bring back the entry that I just finished! I watched and said...NO, No, No as it disappeared from my screen.

It made me think of how Peggy disappeared from my life.

She was here and then...she was gone.

  There was absolutely nothing that I could do to bring my sister or the long entry that I had just written back!

Sometimes, we never truly understand how important someone or something is to us ....... Until                              

It is no longer in front of us! 

I miss you Peggy and have since you disappeared and you were no longer in front of me!!

I Love You Today!

Mary Louise


Monday, June 18, 2007



You either have too much of it or not enough.

A time to be born and a time to die.

What a person does with the time between being born and dying is interesting.

We usually don't realize the gravity of time until there is no more.

Peggy and I shared many good times but neither of us realized how short our time together would be.......

Even when she began to forget simple things...we never thought that our "time" would be cut so short.

Time has a way of being slow or fast.

When I am waiting on someone to arrive for a visit, the minutes seem to turn into hours. When they arrive, time speeds up and the visit is over in a flash. 

So, our moods reflect how we perceive time.

When I was 17, I had all the time in the world and everything moved much to slow for me.

Now, time goes too fast and weeks turn into years. Holidays come faster and my birthdays are every other week.

When Peggy first started to forget, I thought it would take a long time before she forgot who I was....

I was wrong.

From the first day that I knew that she had Alzheimer's disease to today was just a flash of time.

Time ran out  for us while I was living my life and planning the next week and next month. 

Peggy isn't dead but she has disappeared from my daily living. She has disappeared and my time moves on without her presence. Time continues and I continue to plan time for the day, the week, the month, the year. 

 Sometimes, I cry because Peggy doesn't have any more time. I cry because we don't have any more time and I miss her so much.

It never crossed my mind during the years that we shared, that time might not be ours forever. We were supposed to be old spry ladies together but........

TIME had other ideas. TIME ran out while we weren't looking and now, time has run out for us to share our lives as sister's.

Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way
Through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,
There's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.

I am thankful for the time that Peggy and I shared as sister's but I wish that we had just one more hour. Just 60 short ticks of the clock!

How I wish that...

We had a little more time!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

I smile when I remember our time together. The laughter, the serious talks, the dreams and even the anger. It was.....

Our time and it went by much too fast!

Mary Louise


Wednesday, June 13, 2007




I stumbled across a blog last night that had a comment about my journal.

It said...Watching My Sister...Disappear----Drama Queen Blog

At first, I was hurt, then upset, then angry.

How dare this person put a tag on my journal about losing my sister to Alzheimer's disease!

I couldn't get the comment out of my mind. I think he is right on some level because watching my sister disappear is real drama in my life.

I have received thousands of wonderful, supportive comments and yet this one, negative comment rolled around in my mind for quite a while.

This person dismissed my writing and it didn't feel good. I wished that I could talk to him and win him over by explaining how this disease effects family members. But he probably could not hear my words.

Losing someone you love,whether it is fast or slow and deserves a bit of drama.

 I am very serious about teaching what Alzheimer's and other brain deseases can do to the person affected and to all who love that person.

I think he needs to know Peggy before he decides that this journal is a waste of time for him and anyone who reads my words.

People grieve in different ways and writing this journal is my way to grieve over losing my sister.

W. M. S D.    Drama....Yes.

Writer of W. M. S. D.     Drama Queen.....O K.....At times, Yes.

Getting defensive over my style of writing....Yes!

Writing this journal and reading the support of so many people has made this journey..... not as lonely as it may have been.

I want to thank all of you for the comments of support over the years.

Personally, I think that Peggy deserves all the drama that I can write.

I will never let her disappear quietly for I am.......

The W. M. S. D. Drama Queen and Peggy is my sister!

I like the title after I got used to saying it to myself.  I know that Peggy would get a huge laugh if she knew that I had been labeled a D. Q. and knowing her, she would probably call me D. Q. for the rest of my life!  

 Peggy would make sure to remind me of my title every chance she got....... If only.....

She wasn't disappearing from Alzheimer's Disease and..... if only....

She still remembered who I am!                 

I Love You Today, Peggy!

 Mary Louise



Thursday, May 31, 2007



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I looked at a picture of Peggy and me when we were children and it seemed like yesterday.

I thought of how long ago that picture was made and thought.....

Yesterday and Forever are worlds apart but close.

I remember the first time thatI heard the word Alzheimer's Disease connected to Peggy  like it was yesterday but it was forever ago.

I remember talking to her on the phone, laughing and talking about an upcoming sister's trip as if it was yesterday but it was forever ago.

Our minds are powerful enough for us remember yesterday like it was really yesterday.

Two words...

So close and so far away in meaning.

Yesterday was a day ago, a year ago or many years ago.

Peggy is gone to me today but I have the the yesterdays. I wonder what it would be like to have neither???

I Love You Today, Peggy!  See you tomorrow, when today becomes.....


Mary Louise


Thursday, May 17, 2007

I WISH.....

I received some new pictures of Peggy yesterday. Her husband is always good about sending them to me.

I am glad to get them but they always make me cry. Not because she looks awful but because I miss her so much.

I see the picture of my sister and know that she doesn't remember who I am.

She is still beautiful in a vacant kind of way. Her smile is still big and bright but the essence of who she was..... is gone.

I am thankful that she isn't in any kind of pain, physically or mentally.

I wish that I had a magic wand to wave over her head.

I wish that I was a brilliant researcher who discovered a cure today.

I wish that I could restore the smile in her eyes.

I wish that I could....But I can't!

Peggy just is.........    And.......

I miss my sister.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Saturday, May 12, 2007






Wednesday, May 9, 2007


I have been quiet for awhile in my writing.

It is not that I don't have a lot of words and feelings wandering around in my mind. Words and feelings concerning Peggy.

No words are making it to my fingers at this time.

These times come.

These times go.

I know that I will be able to write my feelings again.

Right now, they are resting.

Sometimes, I have so much to say that I am unable to talk.

I Love You Today, Peggy! 

 I know that you never would have imagined that I could be quiet!

Mary Louise

In quietness and your strength  Isaiah 30:15



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A SISTER IS SOMEONE.............

A sister is one of the nicest things that can happen to anyone.

She is someone to laugh with and share with, to work with and join in the fun.

She is someone who helps in the rough times and knows when you need a warm smile.

She is someone who will quietly listen when you just want to talk for awhile.

She is someone who will always call you back if she misses your call.

She is someone who knows all of your faults and loves you anyway.

She is someone who is strong when you need strength and soft when you need a velvet place to fall.

She is someone who is like you but different.

She is someone who knows where you came from because she came from the same place.

She is your sister...Your forever friend.

 I love you so much today, Peggy and............

I miss you more than I could ever write on paper.

Mary Louise


Friday, April 20, 2007


I have never liked to see anything that I considered...scary.

I am the first person to look at the floor in a movie theatre or watching television if something scares me. I am the person who covers her eyes with her hands and spreads her fingers, just a little bit to see if it is safe to look again.

Sometimes, things are so scary to me that my mind doesn't want it to be imprinted on my brain. So, I don't look or go where there are images that frighten me.

If I do watch or hear something frightening, it sometimes gets installed in my brain doesn't go away. It visits me with repeated images of what I have seen.

I have always known to cover my eyes and ears at certain times.

I think this is quite normal for some super sensitive people.

But I have taken it a step further when it comes to watching my sister...disappear.

I haven't wanted to visit with Peggy for a while now.

I don't want to see her or have her look at me and not know who I am...right now.

It hurts too much and I feel too deep. I have entered a coward phase.

I don't know if I am the only person in the world who gets to this place when someone you love has Alzheimer's or Picks disease.

I am in a numb place. A"take care of myself place" right now.

My husband visited with Peggy a few weeks ago and said she looks better than he thought that she would. He said that it felt like she recognized him but she could not respond verbally.

I am so glad that he went to see her while he was on a business trip to the area where she lives.

I am so glad he visited with her because I feel like such a bad sister right now. I feel like I am letting her down but at this time...I cannot go to see her.

I never thought that I would ever be in this place concerning Peggy.

It is a "out of sight, out ofmind" type of place but......

The out of sight part works just find.

It's the out of mind part that I am having trouble dealing with right now.

It really doesn't matter if I see Peggy in person or not...

She is forever imprinted on my brain and it doesn't matter if my eyes are covered or wide open...

She is always there and I know that Peggy understands me and the stuck place... I find myself in at the present time. 

I can't explain why I am here. I just know that my heart needs to rest and heal.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Thanks for knowing me so well that I feel your love and acceptance even though I am stuck here and you are struck there.

I hope that I am not the only person in the world who has found them selves in this awful place.

The place of caring so much that it hurts.

I have no excuse for my stuck place. It is where I am.

It is a good feeling to know that I am loved even when I am not a very great sister.

Mary Louise



Sunday, March 18, 2007


This Christmas, our son gave his Father and me a unique gift with a request attached.

He gave us each a hand held recorder with small tapes.

His request was that we take time to record our verbal history.

He wants us to record our earliest memory, our childhood moments, teenage years and young adult years.

How we met, what we thought of one another when we started dating. Our engagement, wedding and memories of the pregnancies and births of each of our children.

He has heard all of these stories before but wanted each of us to record our memories in our own voices.

This personal history of our lives will be passed down to the future generations of our family.

A big request but a thoughtful one.

I have been walking back through my mind to my earliest memories. Where we lived and how I felt at the time.

It has been interesting to visit the places that have been tucked away in my mind for so long.

My earliest memory is of being 3 years old and finding a ring in the gutter in front of our apartment. 

I remember being 4 years old and seeing Mother come home from the hospital with a new baby named, Peggy.

I don't recall all of the details but I do remember sketches from my early childhood days. They have made their home in my mind and remain there, waiting to be visited and remembered

Trying to remember my early memories made me wonder......


My memories have made me who I am today. Even the bad memories shaped my life in ways that resurface from time to time.

So, who am I without my memories??????

I am the millions of people who suffer from, Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, dementia and other brain injuries.

Who am I.... if my memories are gone?

I am still me but without a past, present or future.

Our memories shape who we are and how we act and react today to different circumstances.

Peggy has no memory of her past, her present or plans for her future. No memories to tell her who she was and who she is today.

I feel that  as her brother and sisters, we should  record our unique memories of Peggy. The Peggy we knew as a child, teenager and young adult. We must record and pass this remembrances to her daughters and grandchild. If we don't....The Peggy they did not know as a child....will be forever lost to them.

My memories are precious to me and to lose them would be unimaginable.

But then, I thought....

If you don't Know that you don't Know....Memories have no meaning.

So, without my memories.......


Who would you be without your memories????

I Love You Today, Peggy!

 I can say that I love you because I remember.

 I will remember our shared time together until...I think no more and I....

 am also a memory!

 Generations of my family will come and go, live and love, laugh and cry, marry and have children, grow old and die and become memories themselves.

I hope that one day, one of my great, great, great grandchildren will find some tiny tapes in a dusty box. They will take them to be recorded on the listening machines of the day and they will hear my voice saying.....


My name is Mary Louise Ross Harris. I was born to Allen and Myrtice Ross in Fairfield, Alabama. 

I am your great, great, great grandmother.

I want to share some of the memories of my life with each of you. 

To all who are listening to this recording...I send my love from the generations before you were born.

My prayer, a prayer that flies over time, is that your lives are filled with love, joy and purpose. If they are what you must to fix it!

That is not a request but an order!

Here are some of the memories of my growing up years.......................

The fashions of the day, the cars, the world today and the news from around the world, my sisters and brother, my children and grandchildren. Their names are.....................

I want you to meet the love of my life, my husband, John. We were married in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a warm, beautiful June day and..........................

Life is shorted than you realize at this time in your lives.

Live well, laugh often, love much!

My Mother and Daddy were unique, wonderful people who worked hard all of their lives..............

And as my Daddy used to say to the girls and boys of our family............

I love all of you, Today!

Your Great, Great, Great Grand Mother....Mary Louise


Let me tell you about my sister, Peggy!

Peggy was born when I was almost 4 years old. I remember..................


Friday, March 9, 2007


Peggy's husband always called her Peg.

I heard a song on XM radio today called "Peg of My Heart". It was a song from the 40's era.

 I thought of Peggy and R. as I listened to the words of the song. They are living a true love story that continues today. It continues as he visits every day with the woman he married. It continues even though she has forgotten her wedding day and the words she spoke from her heart that day to R. 

That made me think about the heart and what it knows as love. What the heart contains and what it remembers.

Three weeks ago, I had a Heart Catheterization. I was able to see my heart as the procedure was performed.

I saw the arteries and the chambers of my heart as it was beating. I was amazed during the procedure as a tiny probe searched my heart.       What I didn't see as I looked at my beating heart were all of the thoughts, feelings and memories that I thought were stored there.

 What I saw was a beating muscle that was giving me life.

We use terms like...I love you with all my heart.

My heart aches or breaks for you and many others expressions to describe our heart as the seat of our emotion.

The real seat of our thoughts, memories and emotions lies in our brains not in our hearts.

Our heart keeps us alive. It's constant beating supplies the blood and oxygen we need to survive. When the heart do we. When the heart stops beating, we die and so does our brain.

The brain cannot live without the heart but....

 The heart can live without the brain.

Peggy's heart is well and healthy but her brain is sick and dying.

While I was lying on a table in the cardiac lab, I saw an artery in my heart that just ended with no way to let the blood flow to other parts of my heart, an artery was 100% blocked.  I watched as the probe opened the clogged artery and a stent was inserted to keep it open.

The procedure caused no pain and my prognosis is wonderful. 

 I live in a time when a serious heart procedure can be performed and you can be sent home the next day.  Even 5 or 10 years ago, open heart surgery would have probably been the only way to open that blocked artery.

There has been so much progress in areas of the heart.

 One day, there will be a simular procedure performed on the brain of patients like Peggy who develop Alzheimer's disease.

 Areas of the brain that have been blocked by plaque can be opened, stented and blood flow restored.

Alzheimer's and other brain diseases will be a one or two day hospital stay and a patient can go home to a long, healthy life.

I am thankful for a second chance at life.

 A second chance.....

Peggy did not get a second chance in life.... because of her brain.

 I got a second chance in life..... because of my heart!


My Brain...... told my Heart to say....

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Thursday, March 1, 2007


               MY SISTER IS MY HEART.





(Lisa Gorden)

This is what I miss about not having Peggy in my life.

Her mind is silent and her eyes have lost their sparkle.

There is no way that Peggy can open the doors to the many rooms of my heart.

She can no longer break through the walls that I build by living my daily life.

She can no longer light the darkest rooms of my heart with the sparkle in her eyes.

But I remember when Peggy's strength was a part of my life and I remember all that she taught me by being my sister.

Even birds push their young out of the nest so that they can learn to fly on their own.

 Peggy is no longer a part of my daily life. I have been pushed out of the nest that we had built as sisters.

I have learned that I am a strong woman.

I have learned that flying without her is lonely but that I can do it.

Alzheimer's disease took Peggy away but by doing so it..................

Gave me the wings to fly on my own,with confidence and purpose.

 Purpose.... to write about what it feels like from this side of Alzheimer's disease and not be embarrassed for people to read what I have written and most of all......

 Confidence... to fly and soar in my life, knowing that my sister cannot catch me if I fall.

Hey Peggy...I'm doing it........ Thank you for helping adjust my wings................... so that I can soar!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise


Wednesday, February 7, 2007


I watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy on television last week.

Meredith's mother has been in a nursing home for five years with brain clutter and forgetfulness of Alzheimer's disease. She spent five years not knowing who or where she was and of not recognizing her only daughter.

Five years of not remembering her life or being to communicate with anyone.

No one understands how a person in this condition can suddenly awaken for a period of time and remember.

The awakening can last for seconds, minutes, hours, days or even weeks. It is a rare gift that can happen with Alzheimer's patients.

I watched the people play the roles and was astounded at the waste of precious time played by both characters.

 Old issues resurfaced during the awakening and though many words were spoken, there was nothing of love or care to one other.

I wondered what I would say to Peggy if she were to suddenly awaken after all of these years?

I could imagine the words would flow like water running over a waterfall at tremendous force. There would be so many things that I would want to tell her.

  I would tell her that I have grandchildren now and recite their names and ages.  I would want to tell her about all the things that have happen in my life since she forgot who I was and that we were sisters.

I would talk fast so that I could get everything in before she slipped away again.            I would tell her all of my accomplishments and disappointments. I would talk, talk, talk just like we used to do before she got sick.

 I would ask her........

And then, I stopped my thought process.

If I have a moment, hour or a day to talk to Peggy again, I would probably skip most of the things that I recited above...

I would hug her and tell her over and over how much I had missed her and how much I love her. I would say the things that I didn't say enough when we were together.

I would ask her questions about where she has been and what it felt like to have Alzheimer's disease. I would ask her if she felt afraid or safe.

We never know how much time we have with the people we love and admire.

In the television show, Grey's Anatomy, I watched as Meredith and her mother wasted the short time that they were given, time that may or may not ever come again.

I have always heard that talk is cheap. I would waste time with Peggy by talking and telling her about my life these past years.

We live in the now..........

To be able to talk to someone in the now is a gift and to hug that person is a gift and to have them hug back is a greater gift.

If I ever have the privilege of speaking to Peggy again, I would just look at her and tell her how much I love her. I would tell her how much I have missed her and how proud I have always been of her and I would add.....

It is so nice to have you back again even for a little while.

It is so nice to see your smile.

It is so nice to see recognition in your eyes.

I want to thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for our growing up years as children, young adults and grown women.

Thank you for all that you taught me along the way. Thank you for always believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself.

I would take her hands and look into her eyes and say...........

Peggy, you taught me a lot when we were together but you know taught me the greatest lessons of all....

When you went away!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I had another dream about Peggy the other day. I don't have them as often as I once did and I think that is normal. 

Dreams feel so real that I actually felt that Peggy and I had talked when I awaken.

I'm sure a Psychiatrist would have a field day with this one!

I called Peggy and we were talking just like we used to do. I asked her if she could come to visit me. The longer we talked, the slower her voice became and the softer it became, the further away it became.  Her words were was so soft towards the last of our conversation that I had to strain to hear her speak.

  I started talking  louder and telling her all the things we could do and the places we could go while she was here.

When there was was no response from her and I said; Peggy, are you there? Peggy, can you hear me?

There was still no response from her end of the phone. I felt a sense of desperation as I continued to call her name. When she finally spoke, it was like listening to a recording that was slowing down. Her words were slow, muffled and distorted.

I yelled into the phone...Peggy, Peggy, Peggy, can you still hear me?

She finally said in a slow, distorted voice..Yes, but Louise...............

I don't know anything new to say!  I can't remember anymore words.

And then her voice faded away and I awaken.

How true that dream was when I thought about it later.

Peggy is like a record recording that has been so damaged, so distorted over time, so scratched and warped that it can barely be recognized as the new recording that it was when we used to talk.

The old Peggy is damaged beyond repair and the new Peggy.....

Can't remember the words to say.

I didn't like the way that the dream ended but I did get to talk to her in the beginning of the dream and that was a gift.

I think that our dreams help us to stay connected to those we cannot connect with and work out unresolved  feelings.

It's rather nice to know that I will always have a connection to Peggy in my dreams. The dreams are coming less often now as I become resigned to her disease.

But for now, I know that....

 I'll talk to you in my dreams, Peggy!

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I wrote in my last entry that I tend to analyze everything that I don't understand.

I wish that I had a brain "pause control" or at least a volume control to turn down the constant questions that bounce around in my head.

Sometimes, I can figure things out but mostly, the questions are never resolved because they really have no answers.

The "why" of my head noise is always with me.

I can never do a project without trying to figure out how to do it a better way.

I was thinking today about making the simple hug better so that the feeling could last forever.

My daughter hugged me goodbye yesterday as she was leaving and I wanted the feelings of that hug to last forever.

I was wondering if there is a better way to remember the exact feelings of a hug good-bye.

I do know that a hug goodbye feels different from a hug, hello.

A hug you give to someone you care about contains all the feeling you have assigned to that person. A hug from that person carries the assigned feelings that they have given to you.

Peggy and I shared a lot of hello and goodbye hugs over our lifetime as sisters. We hugged goodbye in front of our houses, at airports, at our parents home and many other places.

We hugged goodbye at those times,  knowing we would see one another again.

I am trying to remember our last hug goodbye. The hug that said we would see one another again. The hug that let me know that she knew that I was Mary Louise, her sister.

It has been so long ago that I am slowly forgetting how it felt.  How it felt to know we would see one another again and talk and laugh again, that we would share our lives again on the phone or in person.

Peggy's hugs, since she developed Alzheimer's disease are stiff and wooden. I can tell by her hugs,  the assigned feelings that made me her sister are gone.

Now, she has completely forgotten how to hug. Her arms hang limp against her sides as arms surround her in a hug.

It's just a simple thing...a hug.

A simple thing that carries a world of feelings gathered over a life time.

Peggy has forgotten how to hug and she has forgotten how to send assigned feelings that are encompassed in a hug.

I have started to forget how our last hug felt. I have trouble remembering where and when ourlast real hug took place.

I do not have Alzheimer's disease and I am forgetting the feelings that always surrounded our good-bye hugs. The feelings that said I love you and will see you again. The feelings that said, call me if you need me and the feelings that said, I need some breathing time away from family. All of that could be said in a simple hug.

  I think that time helps us remember the hugs good-bye but not the feelings attached to the hug as clearly any more.

It is a simple thing...............A hug.

It's interesting how something as simple as a hug can be..................

 Missed so much.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise

Sunday, January 7, 2007


My computer has been down.

I have felt cut off from everyone and the world wide web.

I didn't realize how much having a connection to the computer meant until...I didn't have it any longer.

Just like I take for granted having power in my house. I don't think about it until it goes off.  I sit in a dark room and deal with my thoughts without the normal interruptions of radio, television and telephones.

I admit that I analyze everything to death, always have and probably always will.

When I couldn't get to the web sites, like my journals, I felt cut off and I admit, lonely.  I wasn't able to express my feelings and know that someone was reading what I was writing. I didn't know if someone was viewing the photographs on my photography journal or if someone was laughing at something that I had said on one of my other journals.

I felt cut off from important places and people.

I began to wonder if Peggy feels cut off from the world?

I wondered if she feels lonely because she cannot communicate with those who care about her and those she cares about?

Does she have any ability any longer to feel anything at all? I analyzed.....and analyzed.

 I wasn't able to write and explain my feelings, I felt cut off.  Not only to those who read my journal but from the ability to communicate the words, pictures and feeling that are always roaming around in my head..

As I analyzed my thoughts about what Peggy does or does not feel, I began to realize that instead of trying to figure out the why of something, maybe, I should just let it be as it is.

I still cannot understand why a vibrant, young woman would develop Alzheimer's disease and I probably never will but.... I can stop analyzing and trying to figure it all out and just love her.

I have been trying so hard to see through Alzheimer's disease and understand the why and how of it that I sometimes lose sight of the most important thing... Peggy.          

Not the way that she was but the way that she is today.

 I want to stop trying to see through her and figure everything out and just see her, as she is now. I need to stop trying to see through her and just see her through.

Writing makes my feelings real and then, I must deal with them

I thought about it and realized that the way that I handled not writing about Peggy was exactly the way that I handle not being able to talk with her any longer.

The same way that I handle anything in my life that hurts, confuses or scares me.

I handle it............................

Just a little bit at a time.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise