By Tim Hague Sr.
It’s that time of year where my wife gets celebrated and cheated all at the same time. Her birthday is next door to Valentines and despite my best intentions over the years she’s almost always lost out on the latter. In truth, I don’t think she’s ever really minded…all that much!
While acknowledging the importance of celebrating milestones, we’ve learned over the years that it’s not the celebration of holidays, or made up holidays, that are ultimately of most importance.
Residing now as we do on the north side of 30 years of marriage we’ve come to realize how easy it can be to take one another for granted. To be with one another but not be present, to not really see one another.
As with so many things in life Parkinson’s has taught me a new appreciation of what it means “to be seen”. Life hasn’t turned out quite the way we planned.
Thirty-four years ago, when we stood at the altar and said “in sickness and in health” neither of us had any idea that would involve a Parkinson’s diagnosis at the age of 46. Yet time and again over the course of these past eight years since diagnosis she has always been present.
From the bewilderment of a new diagnosis, to the dark days of depression, early retirement at 51, the long trips away speaking, the days locked away writing, and, whenever I would reappear she would be present. She has been there in the good days and has come for me in the dark days when I have been dragged away by the ravages of this disease.
She remains present and sees me. While we have each watched our idea of what life would be like slip away she has never lost sight of me; that person beyond the disease. That person who I am when all the ‘stuff’ of life has been set aside.
I’m reminded of the movie Shall We Dance. It was filmed here in Winnipeg and while it’s sappy it has an incredible quote, “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”
This idea goes beyond just our marriages to all our relationships.
My hope this February is that you will be as blessed as I am to have someone who sees you, who chooses to be witness to your life. (Say, ‘thank you’ to them).
And in turn that you will be a blessing to those around you who go unseen most every day; your Parkinson’s friend, that someone you interact with regularly but seldom see.
It’s about being seen. Take the time to see someone today and in doing so… Live Your Best!
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