Reading the article made me chuckle as Richman described proactively talking her way through a stressful situation, a foot curling up, trying to balance homemade treats with cane and keys. The frustration of pushing yourself just a little too far. But the real connection for me was knowing that she also spends time practicing a pleasant expression in front of the mirror. I feel as though my big sister has just shared a dark secret with me and made the road ahead so much easier to travel.
Lucky? Maybe. I have been able to weed out my real friends and have recently experienced the liberation of realizing that no one expects anything from me anymore. I still miss my old self; I am learning to like the new me. And I am beginning to think that maybe the new me who appreciates so much more will become a better person.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I doubt that I was alone in looking for a way to understand the purpose and value of life long before I ever got my diagnosis. Having Parkinson's Disease poses those questions in boldface, but is this really different for those without this wretched condition? If you're not desperate at some level, you're not paying attention.
How many of us will be granted a long and happy life followed by a graceful and dignified death? Who can say they will rise from their bed tomorrow stronger, wiser and more beautiful? Much of literature, philosophy and religion is a struggle with these difficult truths and their implications.