What was left behind

I thought I had walked it off, sweated it through, washed it out with liters of water and cold mugs of beer. I thought I had talked about it until there was nothing left to say. And when I thought it was done, when I thought I was done, my walking partners true and honest comments caused me to pause…because they stung. She could clearly see what I could not.  Thinking I had left my anger and sadness on the meseta in Spain when I was taken down to my knees on that hot dusty afternoon.  I was wrong, there was still something of it left in me.  She saw it when I first started to talk, but she did not interrupt, listening intently as I told the stories of what used to be me.  The me before the disease and the me that I had become,  what the medicine did to me, why I started to write.  Then she spoke those burning truthful words that caused me to realize that if I wanted to survive, I needed to change.

Her exact words etched in my heart, the remnants of the carvings then  blew away in the wind, landing somewhere on the Camino. Somewhere amongst the millions upon millions of words now embedded in the footpath, tread upon by thousands of pilgrims, rising up in the dust of their feet…like the smoke of burning incense from the botefumiero, lifting the burden of sins and  prayers  The Camino knows the stories, told over and over, none new.

These past weeks have been busy with travels. Metal and rubber hit the pavement instead of the vibram soles of my boots. The scenery flies by, only a  bit of the sky is visible through the oversized windshield of our van.  It’s too fast. I cannot see the wide expanse of the blue sky, or smell the new greeness on the hillside. There are no words left here on the pavement to remind me of the choices I made. I can only recall from the fragments left on my heart.  They aren’t broken, pieces just fell away.

I chose to live well.  That is obvious. But did I choose to love well?  Can I love an old friend enough to let her live well without me interfering in her life? Can I love a new friend well enough that she feels my caring presence beside her when I am miles away? Can the individuals in these groups I speak to see how much I love them when I don’t even  know each of their names? Do the two young men with whom I share a last  name with know how much I love them? Does the man I chose to spend my life with understand this changing love from the point of a disease I did not choose?

Today I had an “ahah” moment.  Because I held some of it in me, because the winds on the Camino did not blow away onto the paths of future pilgrims.

I haven’t loved enough.

Yet I know I haven’t failed, there is still time.

….from an unexpected place this prayer came back to me. Thank you Thank you for reminding me that you are surrounded and protected as well as I am, you who I love.

Christ be with me

Christ before me

Christ behind me

Christ in me

Christ beneath me

Christ above me

Christ on my right

Christ on my left

Christ where I lie

Christ where I sit

Christ in every eye that sees me

Christ in every ear that hears me










Published by Carol Clupny, author Ultreia Books

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, will be published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage.

3 thoughts on “What was left behind

  1. Carol…..I cant wait to meet you in Cape Town!!
    You write so well – honest, open and to the point.
    Thanks for the sharing the above blog…..
    I agree wholeheartedly that living with a chronic disease changes one’s outlook on Life big time…..
    Wishing you continued success with your adventures around America spreading your positive energy, love for others and knowledge about Parkinsons Disease.
    I salute you and Charlie!! Shot…..well done!!

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