The Things That Matter

Photo by Pixabay on

She was my mentor in my freelance days:
Shepherding me through membership in a
Prestigious writers’ organization;

Critiquing my queries to magazine editors with
Suggestions gained from success and precision;
Offering much-needed encouragement
To my fledgling spirit.

She was a prolific, sought-after author,
Gaining attention as a speaker
Til that career abruptly
Dissolved at its peak with a diagnosis.

Her gestures revealed the tremors;
Though still strong in voice, ideas, and talent,
She’d lost the visible perfection of health—
Assumed a new status as patient.

Unforgiving bookers no longer called;
Unreturned messages carried their own
Unmistakable message.

As she learned about the PD scourge
inhabiting and inhibiting her,
She turned her research and
Problem-solving skills to advocacy—
Educating and counseling as newer
Unwilling recruits entered that halting world.

Decades later, she remains my beloved friend
Still sharp and funny, still eager to seize life.
We lunch with her and her devoted spouse each month.
Each month becomes harder for them both.

It would be easier to eat at home, she says.
But the trees are so green, the tulips in bloom.
And so, with considerable assistance,
She forges ahead—every step to and
From her seated walker a marathon
Of will.

It’s a Sunday in New York.
We’re settled in an airy restaurant where
Entry demanded her loyal spousal tower
Maneuver her up a long long ramp.

She savors the menu and marvels
At the selections. She chooses
Lobster fritters with Calabrian aioli,
A beets & blue cheese salad.

Watching her eat fills me with joy:
The gusto, the pleasure, the smiles.
No tremors prevent each morsel
From reaching her hungering mouth.

That fork removes all cares for now.


11 thoughts on “The Things That Matter

  1. My grandmother had Parkinson’s back in the day. They had moved to Florida and returned periodically to the Cleveland Clinic where they tried to fix it by freezing parts of her brain. My grandfather was present for the entire ride. I hang Wednesday mornings with a group of OLD men.
    Everyone of them has or had a spouse for over fifty winters. My dad spent his entire life with one. Your friend is fortunate in her companion selection even as debility has selected her. The Buddha taught that the disabled are here to teach the rest of us. Their outward suffering is a reflection of our own inner angst. That she is able to attract and retain “students” for a lifetime speaks volumes of her abilities and reflects brightly from her followers. Siddhas often put their thoughts into verse. You have been blessed by this woman’s present, what an honor.
    All the joy the world contains
    Has come through wishing happiness for others.
    All the misery the world contains
    Has come through wishing pleasure for oneself. Shantideva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joni! The Michael J. Fox Foundation announced the discovery of a bio marker that I think links with a protein present in PD. There’s hope that it will lead to better treatments and an eventual cure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely. And love the ending on the fork. That’s so perfect, so you. PS I see you have been hearing from those who also have friends with Parkinson’s. Count me in on that list . . . twice.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s