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