Mary Ann and I have been married for over forty-three years now.  For twenty-two of them she has had the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.  As anyone who has a spouse with a chronic disease understands, both have the disease.  There are no longer just the two of us, but three, Mary Ann, Pete and the Parkinson’s.  Since we can’t make the Parkinson’s go away, we have to decide what place it will have in our journey.  Rather than fight it or concede to its rule, we simply live meaningfully and fulfilling lives in its company. 

With that said, there is nothing easy about living meaningful and fulfilling lives in the company of Parkinson’s or any other chronic disease for that matter.  The meaning comes in many forms, two remarkable children and their spouses, as well as, three beautiful Granddaughters give meaning to our lives.  If we never did more than serve as participants in the delivery of those people to the world, it would be enough.   Meaning comes in the relationships that have been nourished by being drawn together in response to the struggles brought by the Parkinson’s.  Fulfillment sometimes comes  in the messiest, most humbling tasks demanded by the chronic illness.  In the most frustrating moments lie the seeds of purpose.  The challenge is to nurture those seeds in a way that allows them to sprout into life that is vibrant and stimulating and satisfying.  The key to that nurture lies in a healthy view of life that does not demand pretense or perfection, but provides strength and hope that trumps despair. 

This blog intends to provide some practical tools for dealing with the daily challenges of chronic disease, as well as some ways of understanding the task of caregiving that nurture the spirit.