I have known you for less than a year. It seems as though I knew you long ago, when we were both younger before the Parkinson’s got us. I didn’t.
I remember the moment I met you. In Westminster, at the hotel conference room. It seemed you were standing in a reception line. You weren’t. You were just standing. I walked up to you and introduced myself. Our hands shook, together.
You stood only a table’s length away, wearing your hat, and spoke your poems, spoke your truths. I, this small town country girl, this naïve girl, was swept away in your honesty, swept away in that moment. I became sophisticated. I began to know. I understood the words read from a black binder.
I knew, then, I wanted to be your friend.
I hear your voice daily as if we are connected. Your poems: I read them. Your posts: I read them. Your responses: I read them. But your heart, I hear it.
You are not at battle with Parkinson’s. You don’t claim to be a warrior. What you believe about peace resounds through your whole being, even this disease.
I met another man like you, once. Like you in his peace. He had walked from Austria. Joined up on the Camino. His shuffled walk, his soft voice difficult to understand.
He took no medicine; he did no special exercise.
I was outraged. WHY, I almost shouted. Your quality of life could be so better.
I need to come to my peace with Parkinson’s, Dominic from Austria said. When I have peace, then the medicine will work on the disease.
With fumbling fingers, he took a pin from his cap and placed it on my sweater. I keep it close. It reminds me to do peace. It reminds me to live peace. It reminds me to be peace.
The medicine you take does not dissolve in your gut. It does not pass through the blood-brain barrier. Unlike vanishing dopamine, it grows.
Your medicine is peace. It comes from your soul.