My Hero and the Lessons of Parkinson’s

For 10 years he felt he was going a little crazy, okay maybe a lot, in moments.

Let us never negate our intuition, because some 10-odd years, countless conversations with GPs, a 6-month wait for a neurologist and literally 5 minutes of testing with him, later, sanity was offered up.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush Charles, you have Parkinson’s.” Dr. Jogg said.

As a loving daughter who had embarked on this intensive journey 2 1/2 years earlier, after noticing a slight tremor in his left hand, I was stunned. No where along the line had anyone even offered up this concept; I’d been at every doctor visit. The countless tests had been clear. His memory was above par for a man in his 80s, he swam 5-days a week and loved his bike rides.

But no matter, we journeyed for answers, because regardless of what they ever said, my dad knew something wasn’t right.
As a kindred friend and loved one you don’t question, you just get busy delving in, asking, recording, digging deeper and demanding that this healthcare system not chalk any ailments up to ‘simply old age’ and offer up the less-than-adequate prescription of ‘live with it’.

For me, the diagnosis brought on skepticism. How could this be so simple, assessed and diagnosed so quickly by one doctor when countless others hadn’t even recognized a hit of it? Dr. Jogg, with less than a reputable bedside manner, but certainly a reputation for successfully supporting patients with varied neurological anomalies, put me in my place.

“I assure you Jennifer, this is what it is. It is casebook. Just because you don’t understand it, does not mean that it isn’t so.”

Even so, on top of indignation (which was the easiest go-to in the moment), I was filled with wonder, concern and a frightening flashback to a book I’d once read by Michael J. Fox about his dance with this particular split-personality villain (half blessing/half curse).

For my father, the diagnosis brought on a long slow out-breath that I couldn’t read, amidst the information flowing our way and the influx of experts offering up pamphlets and support systems.

As we walked back to the car, I gathered my thoughts, swallowed my fears and remembered, this truly wasn’t about me. As we belted in, I couldn’t help notice the calm of the air.

“Daddy, how are you? How do you feel about what Dr. Jogg said?”

There was a deep silence, not surprising as my dad has never been one for dramatics and one certainly for the blessings that all of life brings to call us forth to greater knowing and action.

“Jenny, I can’t tell you how relieved I am.”

I suppose if I thought about it, I wouldn’t have been surprised with this answer knowing my daddy, but I wasn’t there yet so I simply listened.

“I’m not crazy Jenny. I’m not.
I’ve always known there was something wrong and everyone just kept trying to convince me otherwise. I am happy to know. Now I can see my way forward, no matter what may come. This is a gift.”

Moments define us, don’t they?
Right here, this second, wrapped up with a conscientious bow, was the essence, strength, courage, sweet simplicity and profound wisdom of my father.

Four years later at 86, Charles is a beautiful enigma for Dr. Jogg.
He still swims, 6-days a week now,
bikes as soon as the snow melts, and
tucks in each night at 9 p.m. to count his blessings and settle his mind on all that matters most.

He flows with life.
He does not entertain angst or worry.
He surrenders to the perfection in it all, no matter how imperfect it may be.

And always in response to, “How are you feeling Daddy?” he predictably answers,”I have my ups and downs and my memory bothers me a little, but Jenny, honestly I am so grateful to have the health I do and the love of my blessed family.”

Looks like the another villain is discovered to be
not so treacherous after all and
a Hero’s valiant qualities enlighten yet another day,
setting an example for us all.

In honor of your CAPEabilities
and the qualities you cultivate to inspire others in your midst,


About jennifermaki

Jennifer Maki is Writer, Seeker, Speaker, Pilgrim, Ingenuity Junkie, Mentor and Motivator for wildly free ones, poised influential Type A to Type C ones, innately wise wee-ones, and all the cape-donning wannabes in between. She has a background in Communications, Marketing, Inner Leadership Development and Team Dynamics for more than 15 years, spanning the British West Indies, Europe, US and Canada. "From corporate, and agency, to non-profit, I've been amazed to have had opportunity to build powerful campaigns for rockin' the socks off ideas via creative flair, practical planning and old-fashioned roll-yer-sleeves-up perseverance with teams and inventors brilliant beyond compare. But what really fuels me? My life-long study of the tenacity and depth of the human spirit; people put to the real tests who come out swinging and inspiring despite the odds; the ordinary heroes who reveal the potential for extraordinary within us all." The Result: Writings, workshops, coaching, retreats, community-building events and keynotes, delivered through her biz and passion, Project YES! Life, designed to empower people, companies and communities to question, listen, think and deliver their YES! "But most amazingly, I get to be a mom and a LifeSchooling one at that. And my two brilliant boys and I are thrilled to have recently launched our vision and movement to ignite and fuel heroism in the world via The Phone Booth Project. Check us out and gain your rightful place within the League of Xtraordinary Game-Changers at"
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6 Responses to My Hero and the Lessons of Parkinson’s

  1. Maureen Osesky says:

    Beautiful Jennie! Beautiful!

  2. Carola says:

    That was truly touching, Jenny, and a bang-on description of your wonderful Dad. Love and miss you, beautiful.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Aw, he’s my hero, too! 🙂

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