Really Living Life with Parkinson’s Disease

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Today I spent another day with my 4-year-old grandson. His words of wisdom have come and gone yet again.

Finn’s day began early. Before climbing into the car with his mom to skedaddle to Grammy’s for the day, Finn stopped abruptly. 

He took a deep breath and exclaimed in front of the only sunflower that survived of the two packages we planted, “Oh, wow! This sunflower is really living its life, isn’t it, mom?!”

I wish I lived life like he does, with utter joy in each moment, each circumstance, and each opportunity that is given to me. But sometimes it’s just downright hard to live that way all the time. Especially when you have a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s disease (PD).

I was at a farm today and they were selling single stems (stalks) of sunflowers. All the kids were buying one or two. So were the adults. 

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Sunflowers have an alluring quality that draws you into a magical place no matter your age. But it’s not every day that we are able to run down to the local farm or nursery and get ourselves a few stalks to cheer ourselves up. Sometimes we have to improvise and find something else that will put a new spring in our step. Something that will bring a positive outlook to our day. And sometimes, that can be hard to do when we are fighting a battle against an enemy like PD. But here are some suggestions to get you started:


Sing out loud. It’s healing physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters made a song titled “Sing” famous. The lyrics are:

“Sing, sing a song,

Sing out loud, sing out strong,

Sing of good things not bad,

Sing of happy not sad, …

Don’t worry that it’s not good enough,

For anyone else to hear,

Just sing, sing a song.”

You aren’t singing to impress anyone, so just sing!

Do something for someone else

When we are feeling down in the dumps, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to do something kind, something unexpected, something good for someone else. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you has a profound effect.

Send a note of encouragement

Text someone merely to let them know that you are thinking about them. It’s another way of doing something kind for someone else.

Read an uplifting book

Try a biography of someone who made a positive difference during their lifetime despite the adversity around them. Someone like Mother Teresa.

Whether we have Parkinson’s or not, it’s vital to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward — even if it seems we are often moving backward. 

In this journey with Parkinson’s disease, I want to live life like a sunflower standing as tall and as sturdy as I possibly can. I want to follow the warmth of the sun throughout the day, and I want to bring joy to others as I bloom. I want others to see me and exclaim, “That person is really living life!”


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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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