I met the most amazing group of warriors yesterday.
I fall asleep with difficulty, wake at the drop of a hat, and spend most of every night awake. Night before last was no exception. I woke up at 3:00 and lay in bed – awake – until 5:00.
Something compelled me to leave the pocket of warm I had created around myself, throw on sweatshirt and sweatpants, panda slippers, and take the first of my daily Parkinson’s meds. I finished preparations for coffee begun the night before and went back to my room. This was going to be an organizing morning.
It was also going to be a boxing morning.
I’ve had to miss a few of my Tues/Thurs boxing classes, and even though I had tried to make it – I had not yet made it to the 8:30 Saturday morning Ladies Only class. Fatigue from dancing more often, lack of sleep, depression, loneliness, meds, are just some of the factors that combine to rob me of energy and purpose.
This morning, though, I kept the promise to myself and was out the door before 8:00 for the highway drive to Tigard.
There were introductions and re-introductions as the usual ladies, and a few newcomers, arrived. I noticed with a lump in my throat the different stages we are all in our struggle against the insidious nature of Parkinson’s.
I remember few names – personality flaw, I’m afraid – but everyone was so kind, concerned, and welcoming.
Women like Kat, a beautiful spirit inside and out. We knew each other form our participation in a monthly teleconference support group. I was so happy to put name with face. Her giving heart puts people at ease from the start.
And Claudia, a spitfire from my other class. She is fierce! A relentless participant, she pushes herself, constantly trying to move faster, reach further, hit harder. And she introduced me as an inspiration because I dance through every workout. She inspires me.
And Jean, my lovely friend from the weekday class, who gave me a hug as we whispered about being workout partners like we were 10 years old on the playground.
The workout was tough, but we laughed and sang our way through it. Shania Twain was drowned out by a dozen women shouting, “I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN!”
And I danced my way through what I could of the workout. Skater slides. Boxing. And then we went out for coffee!
A table full of unique, talented, beautiful women. Sharing experiences – medications and side effects, direct brain stimulation (DBS), the value of counseling. Sharing our art and the projects carried close to our hearts – beading jewelry, writing, painting watercolors.
We talked about dance. And Parkinson’s. And hiking.
About persevering. And loving. And relying on each other.
Their open hearts, genuine concern, and joyful souls drew me in and gave me a place.
I don’t know if I will fully recover from the heartache I am feeling. I honestly don’t.
I do know if I make it, it will be with the help of women like these.