THERE IS NO TIME
LIKE THE OLD TIME,
WHEN YOU AND I
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I Love You Today, Peggy!
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
TAKING ACTION AGAINST THE SCOURGE OF ALZHEIMER'S
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!
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.
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 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
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....
I Love You Today, Peggy! Through the anger and tears.
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!