I’ve written before about being the caretaker for my father who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and, now Lewy Body Dementia. See What I’ve Learned Being The Caretaker For My Dad With Parkinson’s. I am now pleased to report that walking with my dad along this path has broken me wide open, in the best way possible.
While at work at my “day job” today, I had a brief, random encounter that left a large impression on me. I had stopped to sign out at the security desk from a location I frequent occasionally for work, when the “security officer/ receptionist” on duty, a woman I’ve only spoken to once or twice in the past 5 years or so (and even then only to exchange pleasantries), stopped me and asked if she could talk to me for a minute. I said sure and braced myself for her to ask me a complex work related question, but instead she asked me, with eyes filled with curiosity and love, “what is your passion?”
“All of our suffering in life is from saying we want one thing, and doing another.” – Debbie Ford
I, like many, tend to learn things the hard way. Recently, my therapist called me out on the fact that I said I wanted one thing and yet I behaved in the total opposite way. I did not like hearing that and basically stormed out of her office. However, a few days later, I came across the Debbie Ford quote (above), and could not deny the truth of my therapist’s statement.
I have always been borderline obsessed with music, as a listener, not a musician (sadly). One of my earliest happy memories is of me sitting on a swing singing my favorite songs over and over again. I love getting lost in a song. I love seeing bands play live. Music is a big part of my life. Putting my headphones on and listening to a favorite song takes me away from all my cares and worries – at least for 3-4 minutes.
I have written plenty before about my struggles with weight, exercise, dieting, and running (see posts here and here and here). This is not one of those posts. Although it is about running, it has little or nothing to do with running for the sake of “exercise” or “running to lose weight.” Instead, this is the REAL reason why I run (and why I need to run more).
My father has Parkinson’s. He is 74 years young, and was diagnosed almost 4 years ago. My mother and he were married for over 40 years before she died in 2010. I have one sibling, an older brother, but he lives with his family in Alaska. All that adds up to the fact that I am my father’s primary caretaker. I moved in with him after his diagnosis (and shortly after I got sober — “hello, responsibility wake up call!”). For the most part, his illness has not affected his life that much. He still lives in his home. He still has his cat. He still sits in his recliner watching baseball and eating ice cream. It has, however, affected my life. A lot. And despite my frequent pity parties and whining about it, it has mostly affected my life for the good. Here is what I have learned, thus far.
I am pretty excited about this post, you guys. It’s been pending for a couple of weeks now, just waiting for me to photograph the process.