The Irony and The Ecstasy

How ironic is it that someone like me, an adoptee, who sometimes wears The Mask of Adoption, or as we know it in my family, ‘the haunted look’, should now have Parkinsons Disease and the beginnings of the frozen face of Parkinsons? It was one of the very subtle first signs I noticed when I began to look in the mirror and see someone who didn’t look like me. Photos show me with a rather vacant expression on occasions, as if I’m puzzled by life or far away in my thoughts. Maybe I’m just drugged to the eyeballs in an attempt to deal with the pain! At least in my family we can joke about it and I feel loved, cared for and protected. I know that as this disease progresses I will have the best of care, the most sensitive treatment and will never suffer unnecessarily. It is planned that the family will continue to care for me at home should it become necessary at whatever level and between them they possess the skills and knowledge to do an expert job, because they are not amateurs or well-meaning and intentioned carers who want to do their best but are feeling their way. Of course feelings are what family sometimes don’t take into account in these situations. It is very different caring for your own relative than it is caring for the relative of someone else. I know that there will always be discussion and honesty, with everyone being kept in the loop. I am so proud and thankful to know that at this stage in my life some of the difficulties which could be present will not be and that I am so loved and cared about that my family want to make this commitment. For an adoptee nothing could be more precious or appreciated. We so often feel alone, even when we know we are loved and the mother-loss we suffered leaves a wound that may heal but will always show itself in the indelible scar we bear for life.
The upside of having a serious disease or illness is the very decided and renewed interest in making the very best of life, taking every opportunity to live fully, to learn and to experience joy. My recent adventures in New Zealand gave me many opportunities to do new things, revisit old ones and discover new enthusiasms. It was delightful to discover by accident and casual exploration in Auckland, a visiting exhibition from the Hayward Galley in London, a place I visited many times when I lived in London so many years ago. The exhibition on Light was exciting, stimulating and at times mind-boggling. We could have stayed all day soaking up the wonder of it all. We had only a few hours to enjoy the delights of this inviting city and that included our visit to the SkyTower, a building of terror for some and delight for others. I happily stood 61 storeys above the city on a glass panel, while my dear daughter professed to be terrified. Perhaps one of the current benefits of PD or the controlling drugs, is the reduction in inhibition, the willingness to face fear and the knowledge that life will eventually end and it probably won’t be from falling off a glass panel!


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