Parkinson’s can’t stop us from making treasured memories

Despite my husband's diagnosis, our family still finds joy in life

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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My most treasured moments come from just a handful of days in my life. The first was the sunny, beautiful day in July 1995 when I married my husband, Arman. Then there are the times I first held each of my three children, just seconds after they were born. Many other beautiful memories flood my mind, racing in and out like waves on the shore, but these are the ones that stand out the most.

As a parent, I’ve been blessed to witness my children accomplish many milestones in their lives. Even the smaller ones felt exceptional to me, like watching them transition to a “big kid” bed, ride their bicycles without training wheels, or drive a car for the first time. These are all things we prepare for as parents, and if we’re lucky, we slowly check off the list of accomplishments as the years pass.

A while back, my oldest daughter, Alexa, moved to Brooklyn, New York, to begin her legal career. She had moved to the city without knowing more than a handful of people, and of course, I worried that she’d be lonely. She hadn’t been there for more than a week or so when she called to tell Arman and me that she had met her future husband. We were surprised and thrilled, and once we finally met Andrew, we knew they would make each other happy for a lifetime.

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The couple made it official during the first week of May: They are engaged to be married! Luckily for us, Andrew wanted to be surrounded by both families for the engagement. I’ll never forget the unimaginable joy of knowing my daughter has found someone to share life with. I now have another treasured moment to add to my small collection of the best days of my life.

So how does any of this relate to Arman’s early-onset Parkinson’s disease? It does so in many ways, actually.

Finding joy in life with Parkinson’s

When a family experiences a diagnosis of any shape or form, it can feel like the end of the world. After Arman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, I wondered how I’d ever find the muscles to smile again. I worried that life would never be good and I’d never experience joy or happiness again. It felt like a dark cloud was permanently resting on my shoulders, and that sunshine might never find its way back to me or my family.

After a very short-lived self-pity party, the sun returned to my life. My smile and positive attitude became stronger than ever. The good news is that, despite the pain and suffering of Parkinson’s disease, we are still able to be happy. We can still find joy in big and small life experiences. We can still create wonderful memories with our children, extended family, and good friends.

As poet Robert Frost said, “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” Life doesn’t stop because of a diagnosis or chronic illness; it continues whether we like it or not. The best thing we can do is choose to enjoy the good moments and remember that happiness is our choice. Don’t wait to make meaningful memories or life will pass you by. Celebrate everything. Eat the cake and drink the fancy wine. You don’t need an excuse to enjoy life. Look for the humor in all situations and laugh as much as possible, even if it means laughing at yourself.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to plan a Parkinson’s-friendly wedding. (Stay tuned for that column!) I hope to create a memorable wedding weekend that will allow Arman to safely relax and enjoy celebrating our children.

I’m looking forward to adding to my collection of treasured memories as I watch my daughter walk down the aisle and say “I do” to the love of her 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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Diane. Jacobson avatar

Diane. Jacobson

I love the quote from Robert Frost. I must admit the only time I felt cheated by Parkinson’s had to do with my grandchildren…I had so many plans to do with them. The disease robbed me of the times I could spend with them. That is what I miss the most.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Diane! I am glad you love that quote too, its a great one. PD seems to rob us of so much as well, it can be hard to take. I am sorry about all of your plans. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experiences.


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