I had planned to save this post for the closing of Parkinson’s awareness month but it needed to be shared earlier. My Uncle Billy, our family patriarch, passed away this week. He will be greatly missed. He was a shining example of the blessing I have in my family. Uncle Billy…this post is for you…..
Michael J Fox said, ”Family is not an important thing, it is everything.”
I have said that I am not sure what God’s plan was for me on this journey but I believe the answer is my incredible “family.”
First my immediate and extended family….
Mike and my boys, Adam, Ryan and Zachary are my everything. Mike supports everything I do and he is my rock. He makes me laugh by making faces in the mirror when our dance teacher is pushing me and I pout. (I love her for it). He will bust a move with me any chance we get – dancefloor not required because we will make our own. I never thought that 3 years later dancing would be still part of my journey. It’s actually one of the best parts of this bumpy ride. We have fun with it and it’s been an example for our sons of what you do for someone you love unconditionally. Speaking of my sons, they always say “I love you,” when I call to check up on them or when they are running out of the house. Those three words can get me through a tough day.
I have a great extended family… my parents, in-laws, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins all say just the right thing when I need them. A bonus to an Italian family…there’s always an aunt, uncle or cousin ready to help and to feed you. They are ready to pick you up before you know you have fallen. They may not even actually be an aunt or uncle, but when you are Italian – EVERYBODY is related. (HINT: An Italian with food to offer is something I cannot describe. All I know is it is useless to resist.)
My other family…
Those who have faced my diagnosis right along with me…the good, the bad and the ugly. They are my friends who are my “angels” in disguise.
There are my friends who road trip with me just because we can, those who are my prayer warriors and my coffee partners and those who just happen to call or text me just when I need them. Some I see regularly and others only occasionally, but it doesn’t matter. As my one friend says, “We are foxhole friends.” She would take me in her foxhole…PD be damned!
I have a trainer who is a great friend and never lets me quit and my exercise warriors. They are bravest people I have ever met, but one of them is my hero – my mom. She is bravely fighting her way back from a stroke and encouraging me to keep fighting right along with her. In trying to help myself, I have learned to help others. So, for now, that is the plan…help others be strong and fight right beside them.
I have come to believe that your attitude and mindset can make you or break you. There’s research, meds, great doctors, exercise – tons of it, and a whole lot of faith. I have faith that when I’m exhausted and ready to quit…God is going to give me what I need. It won’t be a beam of light and angels soaring. It’s going to be my “family” stepping in to pick me up or kicking my butt to get me going.
So, to my “family”…. I love you very much and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Until next time…..say “I love you” and hug your husband, wife, kids, parents, brothers and sisters…..your “family.”