No Matter What

The women of the 1800s who went West
in covered wagons and settled the frontier
faced great hardship.
Back-breaking, numbing work,
hunger, thirst, Indian attacks,
violence, extremes of weather.

Perhaps most enervating of all
were the summers when, day after day,
the hot wind came whirling across the Plains
blasting dust in their faces, their clothes, their homesteads.

In summer, many women sickened and died.
Others fled back East.
The women who survived were the ones
who picked up their brooms every morning
and swept out the dust again.

No matter what.
(Author Unknown)

My Ancestors

Lots of thoughts were swirling around me right after I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014.  However, I kept coming back to the No Matter What poem that has been displayed in my office for over 35 years. I am blessed to have strong ancestral women in my line. Their roads were long. They inspire me to keep walking  through the Parkinson’s storm each day.

My Challenge

My hardships are different than my ancestors. I am not fighting for food. I live in a home with central heat and air. I have high quality medical care, enjoyable work, and creative interests.

However, I do have a physical and mental challenge on my hands, and it is relentless, chronic and degenerative. I am thankful for each day. I do what I have to do to take care of myself. I share my life with Parkinson’s, but I do not allow it to define or overshadow me.

My Toughness

An insightful card and note from my brother Larry conveyed: “Mom had the pioneer spirit in her and she passed that toughness and perseverance down to each one of us. You’ll be fine. Keep your chin up.”

Yes, I am tough. I pick my broom up every morning and sweep out the dust again. No matter what.



    • Jackie on March 7, 2019 at 3:32 pm
    • Reply

    Good reminder to be grateful for what we have, even while struggling with the challenges we face each day.

    • Linda A. Mohr on March 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Jackie, I agree. We have so much to be grateful for, but it is easy to take for granted. Today the vivid blue sky and white fluffy clouds captured my attention while having lunch outside. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • Renee Timas on May 15, 2023 at 8:15 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve often wondered how the pioneer women managed their daily tasks when ill.. I also have Parkinson’s and I have had good and bad days nothing consistent. Like you I push myself through. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to see a normal gait on folks walking the street throughout the day. I try hard to imitate them …first few steps work then it’s back to ground zero. For now, I admire walkers ❤️

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