In the dark days, a light shines.

I’m a little behind. Ever have that feeling? I know it’s the time of year, but the 7 of us behind this website (plus a couple) have said we will be prepared, thoughts and computer ‘in hand’ and hope the coffee is working so I sound coherent.

So if you haven’t read Cid’s blog from yesterday, go there now and read it. Now. Click out, you can always come back.

Ok, you back? So I’m not tooting my own horn, but I went to Cidney and Pat’s garage sale/pancake breakfast, mostly to see Cidney before her surgery. I was feeling guilty about being out of town when she actually had her surgery, and the promised hospital shenanigans maybe would go on without me. But when I had asked what she needed, (in addition to shenanigans) it included emails and calls and funny memes…that the food was covered. Seemingly at this point, transportation was covered. But I wanted to do something, I’m - really good at this stuff having been on the receiving end of it all. (And being the daughter of a bad a** church lady.)

But I went to the sale because I wanted to show up. Beyond Cidney’s incredible persona, don’t miss her message about showing up. About how much that matters. Find a way, even if it begins with an uncomfortable “do you need anything after you have your brain surgery?” Or whatever it is. Or just think about what you would need and then ask about THAT. And by God, be willing to follow through on what they ask. Folks with serious challenges - chronic health or situational - learn the difference between people who say ‘let me know if you need anything’ and won’t ever follow through on it - and those who will do it. Just ask ‘em.

The other message I heard echoed in Cid’s comments are about how big her world has become BECAUSE of Parkinson’s. I’ve heard many folks in my career talk about all the friend’s they have lost when they develop Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Just when you need your old friends, they get uncomfortable/scared/lazy/have found an excuse and “disappear”.

Again, ask the people you know if this has happened to them. But the beauty of what she said, when she talked about all those she have met SINCE her diagnosis, I have heard repeatedly. Once I sat in a group of people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. One of the wives said “one of the most painful things has been losing our friend’s that were precious to us. Who abandoned us when they couldn’t deal with the Alzheimer’s. But we could have never imagined” - and she looked around the room at everyone and continued “all the beautiful people who would come in to our life.”

Let’s show up for each other, and be those beautiful people for each other. As the days get darker and darker, the Christian and Jewish traditions in particular - light candles in this dark season as we celebrate this holy season of the year. As the solstice approaches many will gather in the dark and light a fire to celebrate the beginning of the return of the light to our dark world.

Let’s continue to be each other’s lights against the darkness - let’s keep showing up for each other even if are feeling outside our comfort zone, because it matters. And we are brighter and stronger and warmer together. And you ARE beautiful people.

Cheers Cid! You are in great hands, and we’ve got your back.

Peace be with you.

Ruth A. Almén

Parkinson's Place