Embracing the seasons of life with gratitude and a porch swing
A columnist bids her readers farewell with a final column about change
There’s a time and a season for everything, as the familiar passage notes, but I didn’t appreciate that sentiment until now.
Growing up in Pennsylvania allowed me to experience the changing seasons in all of their glory. Winter brought snow, spring brought new life with flowers, summer was for swimming, and leaves were shed in the fall. The takeaway is simple: Seasons bring change.
Chronic illnesses like Parkinson’s disease also entail seasons that symbolize change, but they’re not quite as simple as variations in the weather. Instead, they often involve the introduction or progression of symptoms. In one season, for example, bradykinesia, or a difficulty in body movement, might slow us down, while in another, we might experience uncontrolled, involuntary movements known as dyskinesia.
There also are positive seasons in the form of acceptance and growth. Before leaves fall, after all, trees explode with color. When things are lost, our intensified gratitude for what remains makes life feel more vibrant. Perhaps this discovery might spark the artist hiding in you to life. It’s a documented phenomenon that neurological changes from Parkinson’s can help patients feel a strong connection with art.
To use the seasons analogy another way, we can have a winter of the mind as we grieve our losses, but, like trees in spring, we can bloom anew through the exploration of unfamiliar interests and talents. If you have Parkinson’s, don’t surrender to the idea that your diagnosis means it’s too late to try new things.
I give old furniture a fresh look by painting it, and my husband, Mike, and I bust a move to our favorite tune, “Kryptonite.” In one of the best sparks I’ve had, I felt the courage to share the DePorter family journey through writing as we’ve weathered the storm of a life with young-onset Parkinson’s.
Thank you for the last 4 years
“Life, Lemons, and Lemonade” debuted July 18, 2019, with a column titled “Happy Trails While Hiking Your Parkinson’s Mountain.” A framed copy, a gift from my sons, sits on my desk as a reminder of the unwavering support of my family. From the first column to this 96th and final column, I’ve shared our experiences, both good and bad. Life with Parkinson’s may be different, but it can still be good. Patients will always have challenges, but look for the blessings.
I plan to savor the joy of sitting on the porch swing with my granddaughter while remembering moments with my three boys on that same swing. These are simple moments that created significant memories.
Everything has a time and a season. For me, the time is now for “Life, Lemons, and Lemonade” to end. I’m grateful for the friends and colleagues I’ve met along the way and the new opportunities I’ve yet to explore. Thank you for allowing me to share our story with you.
For my last advice: Enjoy the holidays and don’t stress over small things. Hug your care partners and take care of yourselves. Until next time, dance through the seasons of your life, and do it like no one is watching.
You can follow me at my website, lorideporter.com. I hope to hear from you soon.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.