Parkinson’s is the gift that keeps on taking. That is a true statement, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Sometimes it gives us more than it takes.
I have developed close relationships with people I have never met in person. Fellow travelers negotiating the PD highway. Close bonds develop quickly when you communicate, either by telephone or on the Internet, with others who have PD. It seems to be a shared understanding of the daily trials and tribulation associated with the disease.
It’s almost cathartic.
There are many examples. Recently I noticed a post on a YOPD website, organized by Bret Parker, where one of the members was awake in the middle of the night and reaching out for someone to talk to. There were more than 20 replies. I went to sleep but the connection, the support needed, was there, and continued into the wee hours of the morning.
Last week, I met Bret for the first time and we talked together for about an hour. We spoke of personal things as if we had known each other forever. There was an immediate unspoken connection. Not that we both had this disease, but that we shared a common optimism, and the belief that we were going to “Kick PD’s ass.”
Another “old” friend is John Ryan. John and I met in New York last March at the Michael J Fox Foundation. We were there for mentor training. I was drawn to him because of his constant smile and giving nature. Since then we have talked periodically, and it always seems to be when one of us needs a lift up.
I could go on with examples where someone has needed a lift and there have been many there offering to help. It may be me one time, and you another.
So, what are we – a Parkinson’s nation? I don’t think so. We are not defined by this disease.
It is more like a band of brothers and sisters, who share a common journey. Like a highway, some of us are in the fast lane and some in the slow lane. Each journey is different, but somehow the same. We are kindred spirits. We share a common goal, the cure. We are quietly here for each other, rising up when needed. Letting our brothers and sisters know they are not alone.
Thank you for all you give to me and know in your heart of hearts
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Two shoes on again.