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Memories of Marilyn Biggins (1940-2020) as dictated to her husband Peter from December 2019 to February 2020 at Sunrise Senior Living at Turn of River Road in Stamford, Connecticut, and at the beginning of her stay at Ridge Crest in Redding, Connecticut. Marilyn could not move her arms or legs. She had lost her appetite for food. She was often on oxygen. Sometimes, she would yell "Emergency, please help me!" But Marilyn very much enjoyed writing Mar's Memories.
This is a gift for me and the kids. It can be used however anybody wants. I enjoyed writing this because it brought back so many memories to me. I thank God for the opportunity to write this. Many people die before they have the opportunity to do this kind of thing - the time and the will to write something like this.
I was always afraid of dying. Why? I'm not sure there is an after-life. I hope there is, but I'm not sure.
Death scares me because it is so final, and dead people are so still. I am afraid to die because I'll miss my friends and Peter.
I wish I weren't afraid, but I am.
I am also afraid when people touch me, and it scares me. I don't want to be like that. I shake.
I haven't improved on it. I'm still scared.
I thought when I wrote this it would make me improve, but it hasn't. I guess I'll be afraid the rest of my life.
I believe in God, but I certainly don't understand Him or Her. Sometimes I feel God really does exist - like when I have children. That was a very spiritual time for me. I wonder where kids come from. They are such miracles. One of the highlights of my life was going to the hospital and coming back with a prize.
Having children is such a miracle. I am glad I have so many. I thank God every night that I have so many.
I am afraid I'll miss the kids and what they are doing. I don't want to be like this, but I am. I love my children very much. And I even love Peter very much - even though we fight. He tries to be nice, but he isn't always. He always takes the other person's point of view.
Sometimes when I think of the children I cry because I love them and him so much.
I love the children because they are so innocent and nice. I love Declan because he is funny and does such sweet things. He has a cute face.
I love Carroll even though she doesn't talk about love.
I love Chris and I admire his being his own person.
I love Edward because he tries to be nice and comforting to me.
I love Brendan because he is good-tempered and a joy to behold.
Clare looks so cute in her glasses now. She looks like a model.
The grand kids are very well behaved - much different from our kids. That's not exactly true.
Edward was such a naughty kid; and, if I told him not to do something, he did it. Such as, I told him to stay out of the fireplace and, guess what, he went into it anyway. Now that he is older, he is easier to handle. He is also very thoughtful now.
Brendan is a great writer. When he and Erin got married, he gave us this beautiful writing: "Dear Mom and Dad, I love you. Thanks for all your love and support throughout the years . . . ."
Chris is a world traveler. He spends all his money on travel. I wish he would get a regular job, but he doesn't want to, apparently. I miss him when he is not here. But I admire him being his own person. When I was talking about jobs with him one time, he told me "you've got to follow your own dream." I guess that's what he does. When he goes away, I miss him. The, there is no one to read the paper to me. He has a good sense of humor. He has many friends, but not as many as he had when he was in grammar school. I guess that's because he travels out of the country so much. He only comes home every couple months. The other kids miss him. He seems happy with his life.
Carroll doesn't tell us much about her life, but she is a good kid, and works hard at everything she does. We're proud of her. Her kids are doing fine - both Sean and Danny are in college. She likes movies and enjoys taking Daniel to movies. And he enjoys going with her.
Peter tries to come and see me every day. I miss him and I love to have him come. It's something to look forward to. He is a kind and gentle man. I don't know what i would do if i didn't have him. I look forward to his visit. I would be sad without it. He doesn't stay long - but he comes. I love him very much - even though his jokes are not funny.
Marilyn is worried and shakes when people touch her. She is scared of many things. The doctor says she has leukodystrophy, which means she has something wrong with the white matter in her brain. That scares her. Leukodystrophy is a degenerative disease. He hands shake so much. She thinks it is getting worse, so she is worried. Otherwise, things seem OK.
Jack is in high school and has recently learned to drive a car. He is a nice boy - not fresh. He is a joy to his parents, and us. He is very good to his sisters. He tries to be kind to them. They love him, too.
Mary and Sarah are darling. When Sarah left our house, she said "Goodbye, Mar!" I liked that. Sarah is very loving. She talks to and loves us both. Mary loves pandas. She is quieter than Sarah, and not as outgoing. Mary is taller than Sarah.
Peter and Marilyn have been married 55 years, which is a record in this day and age. She loves him very much and misses him when he's gone. She wishes he would never leave. He says he stays for an hour and a half, but I don't think so. I miss him so much when he is gone.
Roger seems to be doing better, considering he is living with a bad diagnosis. He seems to be taking his situation very well. He never talks about his illness, but that's his choice. I can't understand how he is doing so well with such a difficult diagnosis.
Kerry keeps busy with her business, which is doing very well. Edward is a big help to her. We miss spending Thanksgiving with them. When Marilyn feels better, we will go again.
From the ULF site: "Leukodystrophy is a rare progressive disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and often peripheral nerves. Each type of leukodystrophy is caused by a specific gene abnormality that leads to abnormal development or destruction of the white matter (myelin sheath) of the brain. The word leukodystrophy comes from the Greek words
Dear Peter - I love you so much. I am sorry we fight when you come. I miss you when you're not here. It makes my whole day to have you come. I love you so much. I appreciate your being so kind to me. I miss you.
It's been a difficult year. I learned I have leukodystrophy, which means my white matter is not the way it should be. I shake when I do not want to. And I cannot do anywhere near what I used to, like swimming and going to parties. Leukodystrophy really slows me down. Sometimes I have to go to the hospital with it. I'm not the same Mar I used to be, and that bothers me. I guess at 80, one will have some problems. I feel very blessed to have nice children and a wonderful husband. God has blessed me.
Chris is now home for a few weeks. Today, he is going to read me the Post. He is my favorite reader of all. He picks out interesting articles that we enjoy together. It's fun having him home because he is such an interesting person. Chris has always to be one to roll with the punches. He never seems to worry too much about things. He tells me I shouldn't worry so much, but I haven't changed even though i know he's right. I still do worry. It's really fun to have him home.
I appreciate Peter's many kindnesses to me. I'm glad I married him. Mar scares easily these days. That's for sure. Perhaps this may have something to do with her leukodystrophy.
Mar appreciates the kids so much. And I appreciate Peter so much. I thank God every day for my kids and my husband. I cry when I think about that. I appreciate all God has given me.
When Mary and Sarah came home from the hospital, I always got a chance to hold Mary because she wasn't as fragile as Sarah. I really enjoyed holding her.
I miss my sister Micki. I miss her especially when I come home. She is not there to listen to me and talk to me. I never liked her when she was young. She used to wear my clothes without my permission. And my mother would tell her to get out of them before I got home from school. She often wrecked my clothes by spilling on them. It didn't seem to bother her. She used my nail polish.
I liker her better as we got older. She didn't bother me so much. She and I became friends around college time. Today I mess her very much. I wish she were still alive. She died a couple years ago. She was a lot of fun, and was always ready for a party and to try new things. We had many fun times with her and Johnny in Florida when we used to visit them.
Every day I took the kids to the beach in the summertime. Brendan would always ask me "where we go tomorrow? The beach?" We went to Pear Tree Beach most of the time because they had free swimming lessons. The kids told me that Mr. Darnell was not a good teacher, but I made them go anyway. Today, they are all good swimmers.
Chris always said "Weed Beach is better than Pear Tree Beach!" He sang it. They had a raft at Weed Beach. That's why they liked it better. And they could use the raft. They could jump off. It made them feel like big kids. I used to give them each a small box of cereal when i swam. That way I could watch them with every breath I took. I counted their heads each time I breathed. That shows how slow I was going. The cereal kept them occupied. I enjoyed swimming more than they did even though I had to watch them all the time. I had a lot of fun and they did, too. I loved to go to the beach. (I wish I could still go today, but I can't because I have leukodystrophy.)
They closed the beach when it rained the day before because it was polluted. So, I probably didn't go. I think they closed it too much. But they took the readings, and they were in charge. I'll never forget my fun times at the beach with the kids. One time, Peter's parents came with me, and I could swim without watching the kids.
We stayed a couple hours each time and had our lunch there. One time when I bought the kids ice cream, Brendan noticed and he stood there doing nothing just waiting for his ice cream until I bought him one. He was about one year old. I felt sorry for him.
We had peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch. I used to make the sandwiches the night before but they didn't notice.
There were jellyfish on the beach late in the summer. So we had to be careful where we walked. Jellyfish sting, and one time Chris got stung by one. It hurt him and I remember his crying about it. I think his leg got swollen.
My mother always tried to be kind to everyone. One time John painted a picture and my mother didn't understand why it was on our wall. I don't think she liked it. It wasn't exactly a positive comment. I don't know what happened to the picture.
Mother always had many friends. They made up a club. They used to meet once a month. Gertrude, one of the ladies, would read me a story whenever she came. She was my favorite from the group. I still miss Gertrude. She was a very kind and interesting person. She was interested in many things.
My father was always kind. There used to be a boy near our house who was crippled. Every day my father would say hello and pay attention to him and talk to him. When my father died, the boy felt bad and even went to the wake. The boy, who was a young man then, felt very sad. The young boy was my father's friend. Maybe that's one reason why the boy felt so sad. His name was Gregory. Gregory was a nice kid. He appreciated my father's talking to him every day.
My Father and mother seemed to get along pretty well. After my grandmother Kenny died, my father became my favorite person. Until he died. At my father's funeral, he had many mourners. I counted the cars. There were 50 cars, which shows how popular he was.
During the wake, Marianne and Harold Rainville took my sister and me out for a treat - a malted milk - to make us feel better. My father was so well-liked. Mr. Herbert V. Kohler came to the funeral. He had recently been to our house in Birmingham, about a week before. My mother was impressed - everybody was. Mr. Kohler was President of Kohler Company. My father was the manager of the Detroit office. We were all very proud of my father.
My father liked to play golf. The weekend before he died, my father played golf with Mr. Parmenter, the neighbor across the street in Birmingham (Wing Lake). Later we found out that Mr. Parmenter absconded with a lot of money from his company. I never found out what happened to him.
Every year we went to Florida for our vacation - Fort Lauderdale usually. We went in the summer because it was cheaper. The waves were pretty good in Fort Lauderdale. My father called the beach Seaweed Beach. I had fun with the waves. We stayed at pompano Beach a few times after my father died. I think mother felt bad, and she wanted my sister and me to have a special time at the beach. A nice couple took us to Cap's Place. They paid for it. I think they felt sorry for us.
Mr. Kohler's wife had died a couple weeks before my father died. And that may be one reason why Mr. Kohler felt so bad when my father died. Some people said Mr. Kohler died at the wake. It was very sad when my father died. I felt very sad. He was only 50 when he died. I was 15.
He was a great sportsman. He was good at baseball. And he was a handball champion of Illinois. My father could do a backwards flip off the diving board. That maybe encouraged me to learn to do a backward flip off the diving board.
My romance began at Lake Lawn Lodge. Peter proposed to me there in the bar. He said "I think I ought to get married." I think that was a proposal. I wasn't sure if he was really asking me to marry him. After he said what he said, I said "I think I have to go to the bathroom." So, I went to the bathroom. It was a pretty mixed up proposal. As I thought about it, i wasn't sure he was asking me to marry him or not. The, a few days later, I told him :I'll marry you, but I don't love you." As I look at it now, I did love him. I think I said that because I was nervous about getting married. It's a major deal - actually getting married.
Currently, we have been married for 55 years. That's scary. How did I get so old?
Emergencies and Peter
I worry about emergencies. And Peter never helps me with that. He doesn't bother to listen.
I'm scared - when somebody like Peter touches me. I jump. I wish he would leave me alone and not scare me.
He means well, but he scares me. I wish he would stop.
I don't want to be any more scared than I am.
He means well, but he acts like a jerk when he does it. I wish he'd stop acting so goofy. He does scare me.
He's a pain to be around when he scares me.
He scares me a lot when he doesn't pay attention to me and help me.
I went to Purdue University because there were more guys than girls, at least 2 to 1. It was an OK school. I had a lot of dates at Purdue - the ratio was in my favor. I don't miss those days. I was always concerned about finding a good husband. I'm glad i don't have to worry about that now. My whole life I was worried about that - finding someone to marry even when I was a little kid. And then I met Peter. He was average looking. It wasn't love at first sight. But he was a nice enough guy. When i look back at our wedding pictures, he was a lot more handsome than i thought.
I was in a sorority called Phi Mu. One of my boyfriend s always called it Phi Moo: Bob Leilich. My favorite sorority sister was Joanne Leilich. She was fun, and I wish we lived closer now. Bob and I dated for a few years. I was never seriously interested in him. He was seriously interested in me. I did not marry him. We had different things that kept us apart - like religion. He was nice but I never was serious about him.
Proviso West High School
I got my teaching job through Ralph Gust, who was a friend of the family. He was President of the School Board. I think I would have found a job even if I had gotten it on my own. It was in an era when schools needed teachers.
I enjoyed teaching pretty much, but I was always afraid I wouldn't find someone to marry. That was my biggest worry. Then I met Peter. I wasn't that interested in him at first. He proposed to me at lake Lawn Lodge. He said "I think I ought to get married." What a way to put it! Was he asking me to marry him or not? It certainly was an odd proposal.
I quit teaching when I was pregnant. My boss told me that if I told anyone I was pregnant, they would have to let me go. I didn't tell anyone at first. When i look back on it, I see it as a funny situation. Here I was, six months pregnant, teaching senior boys. How could they not have guessed? I quit at the end of the school year. I was about seven months pregnant
My First Child
I was excited to have a baby, but it scared me a lot. I went and talked to a priest about it. That didn't help me very much. I was still afraid.
There are a lot of emotions that go into this. I was afraid it would hurt - and it did. I was afraid of actually having the baby. It was such a foreign thing to me. I guess I got used to it because I had three more.
I'm still afraid of it, but now I see the rewards. A child is a blessing from God. A child is a treasure. I am thankful I had so many children. They are such gifts.
I read a lot about having a baby before I had one. I looked at many pictures and movies about childbirth. Having a baby was very scary to me. I lived through it, but it still scares me.
After I had Carroll I was depressed. I read about a doctor who treated people who were depressed after they had children. Dr. Daro was his name. He was an OB/GYN. His office was at Old orchard in Skokie or Niles. I was less depressed than when I had my first baby. He gave me some hormones, and I was less depressed after my second child.
My cousin Carroll said to me that she would be glad to have the baby for me because I had such a hard time. That was nice of her to say that. I would never have said it to her.
Looking back, I am glad I had so many children. I miss bringing a prize home each time I went to the hospital.
The hormone was Pituitrin. And it helped me. I took the hormones also for my third and fourth children.
When Edward was born, I said to myself I wish I could die rather than go through this. I felt guilty about thinking this because it was not a very nice thought.
It scares me when people aren't nice to me. When they don't talk. I don't know where I'm coming from then. It scares me when they are mean to me. Mostly they don;t scare me at all. But they do sometimes. When they are critical, they scare me.
I hate the Hoyer lift. That scares me every time. I never know if they are going to drop me or get me in the right position.
I am afraid of falling out of bed even though I try to be careful.
I am afraid of Peter sometimes because he wont take me where I want to go and he wont pay attention to me sometimes.
I don't want to talk about anger. I have so much anger about Peter and how he treats me. He's not very nice to me.
My feet are falling out again.
You always are the judge and I don't like it. You make me sick to my stomach. And I'm afraid of you.
You're not nice to me much of the time. I don't like you much of the time because you're not nice to me.
Ridge Crest at Meadow Ridge on February 19, 1920
I'm going to forget My Memories.
Oh, Peter, I'm not going to pick them up.
I love you.
Emergency, please help me.