Laughter is key to happiness in our life with Parkinson’s

How humor has helped our family cope with my husband's diagnosis

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

Share this article:

Share article via email
The banner image depicts friends having a picnic beneath rainbows. The writing on the image reads

I love a funny movie. Our family often rewatches our favorites over and over again. Some jokes just never get old. The more we watch, the better the punchlines become.

My recipe for a perfect night includes a delicious takeout meal (Italian or Mexican fare is my personal preference) and snuggling up with my husband, Arman, and our three children to watch old comedies in our living room. This scenario doesn’t happen often, as our kids live in different cities and are rarely all home at the same time. But when it does, you can hear our laughter from a mile away.

Although I love the freedom of not having to prepare dinner and enjoy cozying up with my kids, the laughter is what I cherish the most. When I hear my children and husband goofing around, it reminds me that although we are surrounded by Parkinson’s disease 24/7, we can be happy in spite of it.

In my opinion, laughter is truly the key to happiness. After doing a bit of research, I learned that there are also health benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, laughter can relieve stress, strengthen social bonds, increase oxygen to the body, and improve heart health.

Recommended Reading
The banner image depicts friends having a picnic beneath rainbows. The writing on the image reads

Mental health is as important as physical health in your care plan

Finding humor amid hardship

After Arman was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2009, I spent a lot of time wondering if I would ever find happiness, peace, or laughter again. I also worried that this storm cloud of a diagnosis would cast a dark shadow over my young children and make them sad and unhappy kids. Arman was only 38 years old then, and our kids were very young.

But throughout their childhood, no matter how difficult Arman’s symptoms were, he was always cheerful, frequently laughing and smiling. The brave example he set for our family was a gift. He could be hunched over, frozen, and unable to move, but he still had a joke to tell. His leg often kicked uncontrollably because of his severe dyskinesia, yet he always smiled from ear to ear. He never once complained about his debilitating symptoms or the death of his medical career; all he wanted was to see his children and his wife happy, despite his pain.

Although living with Parkinson’s isn’t easy, it didn’t translate to a miserable existence for our kids or our family as I had envisioned; it was actually quite the opposite. From watching the incredible way that their dad dealt with his diagnosis and his daily struggles, our children learned to be strong, resilient, and independent people. And importantly, they learned to find humor and laughter, even during hard times.

Laughter has been the glue that holds our family together; it’s the medicine that heals us when we’re sad. Filling our home with smiles, humor, and love has been our recipe for a healthy and happy family.

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.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.