Afraid

I thought that I was scared, but it seems that others are every bit as scared as me. Scared of me, my Parkinson’s, my fear, my tears. How you notice exactly, I can’t quite put my finger on, but you do notice. An imperceptible, almost reverent expectation. And then comes the inevitable question, the question that I too would still dearly love to answer: how did you first spot it? There’s always another hidden question within, a sort of self-check. Because, let’s face it, when someone tells you about the first time they realised that they had Alzheimer’s/cancer/depression/or any other sickness for that matter, you instinctively check whether those same symptoms apply to you. Phew, fortunately not! I don’t have that. Let’s be honest, we’ve all reacted this way from time to time. Conversation with friends invariably changes too. If I make a joke, there’s palpable relief. Ah, thank goodness, she’s still her same old self. And friends are never quite sure if they should mention their recent holiday. As if this would somehow make it seem more important than Parkinson’s. Well, here’s the thing: that holiday is more important. As are your latest home improvements. Or your child’s exam results. Talking about them is precisely what you should be doing! We also carry on just as before. Decorating, pruning the hedge, shopping for mundane items such as socks, playing the piano. Just as we still have to work. Okay, it might require a little more effort these days, but money doesn’t grow on trees, and we still need to work. So, if I share all this, the day-to-day things and not just the darker moments, I believe that I can help others support me better. Because they’re scared, perhaps even more scared than me.