It suddenly hit me. Those comments on my blogs by total strangers. You get them in two types:
Group 1 – unbearable suffering
You’ve got the group that labels Parkinson’s a nasty disease, an unbearable suffering, an inhuman loss of just about everything, a curse that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. Without exception, these are the people with a partner, family member or friend who had Parkinson’s and rhas since passed away.
Group 2 – brave example
Then you’ve got the group that’s proud of the way their partner, family member or friend copes with their disease. They’re usually the strong, brave, optimistic ones, who not only roll with Parkinson’s punches, they also give it a hefty right hook of their own every now and then. Without exception, they’re the shining and living example.
Medal 1 – a display of courage
I’d quite like someone to say how tough they think my life is. Even if it’s not entirely true. Not even half-true, in fact. But should someone actually say that, then I’d also like to think that I’d be in the running for a medal. For bravery. It would come close to recognition, that medal.
Medal 2 – a display of stubbornness
I’d also quite like someone to say that they’re proud of my stubborn way of coping with Parkinson’s (according to my neurologist, that stubbornness will only get worse – anyone ever met a neurologist who isn’t stubborn? Just kidding, doc!). Even though I’m not actually that stubborn at all. Not unusually stubborn anyway, as far as I’m concerned. Yet should someone out there be proud of that perceived stubbornness, then I’d like to think I’d also be in line for a stubbornness medal. That would definitely be close to recognition, that stubbornness medal.
When it comes down to it, they’re two sides of the same medal. Bravery and stubbornness.
And, truth be known, I don’t really want that medal anyway. At least not on my own.
Because that medal should be awarded to your entire team – your partner, children, family, friends, readers. That medal should be awarded to everyone who cares about you, who notices that you’re bravely fighting your fight. Nice and stubbornly.
Come to think about it, I’ve also got plenty of medals of my own to dish out. Because no-one (at least no-one I know) sails through life without even a little flutter of courage or stubbornness every now and then. I’m not saying that every man and his dog deserves a medal, but, well …almost.
Tip: if you happen to be dishing out medals and you belong to group 1, then please get a move on! Don’t wait until it’s too late – do it today.