Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over?

Tall, tanned and with a voice to match his authority, the highway patrolman was professional, polite and proficient as he presented the ticket he had written up through the open window. For some unknown reason there was no indication as to the amount of the fine noted on the pink copy, leaving us fearful of the worst. What I did know is that we had been pulled over for blowing through a stop sign at 50 miles an hour. Frustrated, discouraged and anxious, for reasons not immediately obvious, this seemed both ironic and significant.
37 years ago today, it was a very young and naïve couple who exchanged vows, convinced that statistics would not make their commitment a casualty. We lacked the maturity, life experience and wisdom to make that bold assumption, but it proved to be correct. Despite many struggles and stresses, the welding of our two lives withstood the struggles and strains and remained unbroken, becoming even stronger over the years. When trials threatened to slam the brakes on the relationship, we hung on and kept going. Any temptations to stop, give in, or quit were brushed aside. The honeymoon may be over but the love has stayed firmly anchored.

Even when the diagnosis of my Parkinson's disease was flung into my face like a bold four-letter word stamped in white on a red octagon sign, there seemed no reason to obey its demand. Life did not lurch to a stop. Rather, my wife and I committed to live to the fullest each moment of relative freedom we had. We remain, like escaped jailbirds, Bonnie and Clyde, who know that we will likely be caught in the ugly snare of increasing debilitation, the shaking and stiffness that squeezes me tighter in its grip each passing year. We refuse to be "victims of this unattractive disease", as stated in The Washington Post column, “Having Parkinson’s Disease is Nothing to Celebrate” by Phyllis Richman, person with Parkinson's and former food critic for that newspaper.
Yes, there are times when, because of this "unattractive disease", I feel lonely, even with my wife by my side. I know that sometimes I opt for the "cozy", preferring the use of words such as "challenged" rather than "suffering". But what is the alternative?
I may be guilty of disobeying stop signs, ignoring "realism" and its statistics and disregarding my imminent arrest and imprisonment by Parkinson's. This may be self-delusional, spitting foolishly in the face of fate, but I have a faithful lifelong partner with whom I will continue to live life to the fullest.  With the many obvious risks and sometimes daunting challenges of both marriage and life with our concerns, even when the honeymoon is over I will remain committed to my vows to keep going, keep loving and keep doing my best to elude the ultimate stop sign.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob,

    Check out the comments about Phyllis Richman's article on John's blog:

    Really enjoy your site.