Watching acts of kindness happen

Laura Willams, left, and Bob Harmon, right, follow the instructor Michael Carey during Tai Chi classes. Tuesday, August 17, 2010. (George Aycrigg / News Chief)

In her very first blog post earlier this week, Mom talked about how Parkinson’s has changed Dad for the better. She mentions how he goes out of his way to help others battling the same disease.

I got to witness two of those acts this week, and while I’m sure there are more that have happened, these two stuck out to me.

Tuesday morning, Mom and I accompanied Dad to weekly tai chi. (see photo) Tai chi is really really hard for me. I like to move quickly, and you really have to slow things down.

I’ve been before, and met a woman who used to be wheelchair bound, but thanks to tai chi, she’s walking now. Before we went this week, Dad got a call from a woman in Lakeland who was concerned about her husband who has PD.

Dad talked to her for awhile and invited her to tai chi. They showed up late, and Dad was able to help her and her husband as they watched us all. While the instructor moved kinda quickly through the movements, Dad stayed late after with the couple explaining to them that they not try to do too much to quickly, and said he’d get her a copy of tai chi for chairs.

We stayed for awhile, talking with them, as she told Dad that she doesn’t really understand the disease, and she worries about being alone. He, of course, reassured her that she wasn’t, and told her to call anytime. I even talked to her a little bit about tai chi and everything. And Dad invited them to the support group next week which is also for caregivers so she can come and talk to Mom and the other care partners.

Then on the day after Thanksgiving, Dad got a call from a person in their community Lake Ashton, whose brother was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

With company in the house, Dad said to have him call him immediately and he’d take the call. The man who lives in Singapore called, and Dad was able to explain Parkinson’s to him and talk him through medicine and exercise.

After he got off the phone, Dad looked a little shell-shocked. I asked him if he was OK, and he said yes. He does this often, but he knows just how scared that man was. And that man didn’t have Mom there like Dad did, to bring him out of shock by saying “Thank God it’s not something that will kill you in 90 days.” For this man, Dad was that person.

He got a call later from the family member thanking him again for taking the time to talk. And said the man was feeling a lot better after just a few minutes on the phone with Dad.

These two examples were amazing to watch. It made me so proud that I can’t even put it into words.

Talk about amazing acts of kindness that change someone’s life. And while it happens often, I can tell each one means so much not only to the person Dad’s helping, but to him.

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