I love this picture.
Not only had I never seen Mom so happy, she was dancing--like really dancing--with no sign of that pesky Parkinson’s that had been in her life for the past ten years.
It was amazing to witness because that same morning, Mom had needed her cane to assist her in moving around while we were prepping for her wedding ceremony. Nerves had crept in (though she was mostly excited for the day ahead) so it was normal for her PD symptoms to show up and her mobility to be compromised. But once the ceremony started, Mom’s symptoms completely vanished. It was as though her disease didn't exist!
Mom has always loved to dance, and for as long as she's had Parkinson's, she has done her darndest to keep this favorite pastime in her life. She met Dave (the groom in the picture) at a singles dance, and I remember her very happily reporting to us the next morning about how great he was at cutting a rug.
It wasn't unusual for Mom's symptoms to disappear during times of extreme joy and excitement. We had witnessed this phenomenon at other celebrations--her retirement party being one of them. Anytime stress or anxiety entered into the equation however, she was snookered.
Most folks who have had Parkinson's for any length of time have probably realized how much their emotions play a part in helping alleviate or exacerbate their symptoms. When we realized this to be true for Mom, our family made a very concerted effort to keep stress levels as low as possible in her house.
Mom also took any opportunity to celebrate whatever life had to offer. Weddings and birthdays seemed to be her favorites, but she'd take you up on celebrating anything if you presented it to her. My favorite celebrations with Mom came in the form of post- swimming and pentathlon competition dinners out. She loved taking me out to my favorite eatery and listen to me reflect upon the day's events.
I treasure those times with her.
If you or your loved one has Parkinson's, I challenge you to look for more ways to celebrate in your life. It doesn't always have to be something big like a wedding or retirement--there are reasons all around if you keep your eyes open for them.
In closing, I want to point out that this picture of Mom, Dave, me and my sister dancing was taken during the playing of Travis Tritt’s song, “It’s a Great Day to be Alive”. It was one of Dave’s favorites and a great reminder for all of us--with or without Parkinson’s--to celebrate each and every day we are given.