My mom has Parkinson's Disease and is wheelchair bound.
For a number of years, I have watched (feeling helpless) my mom go from a vibrant person to succumbing to the devastation of this disease of unknown origin.
First, for many years (before we new) was a slowness of gait--with everyone yelling "come on mom, hurry up! Why so slow?"
Then, the uncontrolled shaking, especially of her hands, and deformity of the joints.
Next came the difficulty moving, the shakiness when walking, and the falls--until the time, some nerves were damaged and her foot got turned inward, so she could no longer stand.
Therapy, a walker, and then a wheelchair, and now for most of the day--confined to bed and loss of basic movement that we usually take for granted.
With loss of mobility, came loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and GI problems.
Despite visits to numerous medical experts--we could only treat the symptoms, but could never keep up somehow with the progression of the illness.
My beautiful mom has suffered terribly, and my dad (despite his own medical challenges and age) has been her caretaker through it all.
Dad has done all the things for a person that can be done--on call every minute--until exhaustion at times. He has been nothing less than heroic in his deeds, dedicated to my mom and doing it with endless love for her--and always remaining (at least outwardly) optimistic and hopeful for both of them.
My mom went to the hospital a week and a half ago and this last week was transferred to a home.
Her eyes show the story of her suffering, and her body is drawn from fighting the illness, yet inside her the intelligence and love--she shows with a mere rise of her eyebrows and smirk--gives me strength.
I love my mom and dad. It is a tough road when age and illness take their toll.
It is scary to think at times what the future holds for each of us and how we will endure in the face of it.
Mom and Dad have suffered in their lives from the holocaust, with seemingly endless hard work trying to make a living, and with debilitating illness.
Their story and lives are a monument of strength and courage, love and devotion, and faith in the Almighty.