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.
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 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.
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.