Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Parkinson's Disease is my least favorite out of all the diseases that I know of. I've done some research on the subject - but not near enough to make me an expert. As I've gone through school I've written a few papers about it, done a couple of speeches, but that doesn't really mean anything other than I've gained some knowlege about the subject.

One thing about Parkinson's Disease that I absolutely hate the most is the Parkinson's dimentia that consumes the mind of the infected. Actually I really hate the entire disease as a whole. Mostly because I don't have the opportunity to know my grandfather simply because his body is riddled with the disease.

My dad's dad has had Parkinson's since before I was alive. So his better years were when I was too young to remember and all I'm left with are pictures of him pulling me around the backyard of their SoCal house when I was two years old before we moved to Idaho. My cousin's have a better grasp of the truly amazing person that my grandpa was than my siblings or I can even imagine.

The last couple of years have been hard. Hard on everyone. The disease is progressing and now I don't really know how much longer he's going to be here - I just know it's not going to be an incredably long time. I know it's ridiculously hard on my oma. She lost her own mom to Alzheimer's and now her husband to Parkinson's.

I told my own dad that he simply isn't allowed to contract Parkinson's Disease. Simply not allowed.

My dad said today, in only the third time I conciously remember him tearing up, that he's known for a while his dad won't be here long, but seeing it in print the other day (I think in an e-mail, but since I don't live at home anymore I'm not completely sure) is what rattled him the most.

He said he wants to go home for Christmas.

That struck a chord with me.

Home to me is Idaho. That's not where I was born, but it's where I've been raised. I don't think I'll live here forever, but for now this is home. But Dad was raised in California. He jokes about leaving as soon as he could because he doesn't want to live here anymore, but then today he called it home.


I didn't really think that my dad considered California home. I always figured Home was here. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that home is where your parents are. I live in Moscow when I'm at school and I live in Rathdrum when I'm at work over the summer - but home is here where my parents live.

They talk about moving to Montana and when they do, I'm not sure where home would be for me then.

I saw a sign once that said home is where the heart says 'Ahhhh'

So where is that?

I just know that this disease has taken more than it's fair share of heartache on our family. It's robbed me of a grandparent. It brought out a side of my father that I don't see at all.

And as I sit here in the family room of my parents' house with The Keeper and Cinco as they play Halo 3, I'm a little excited at the possiblity of going to Cali this winter for Christmas and I'm a little sombered because I don't know how much longer my grandpa is going to remember who I am...

Grandpa trying to whistle. :)

Grandpa and me at Balboa Park

Smile :-)


  1. This is a really sad story of your Grandpa. I am sorry for you. I'm sure he must be a wonderful man.
    I huged you tight and I know how difficult it is to define the word home.

  2. Your Grandpa was every bit as funny as your Daddy when I met him. I used to visit SoCal every year -- even before 19 years ago, when I really had a reason to visit. Your Oma and Grandpa were always so gracious to me, and Jim was just plain fun to be around. He kept everything so organized - I loved that! :) And he had a way of teasing that just made you giggle without it ever hurting your feelings or embarrassing you -- that is an art! He loved to take his grandkids on his knee and just chat with them, too. He got the biggest kick out of seeing you spin around in the middle of the floor. I don't remember him ever once wanting you to be quiet. He is a great man. You should be very proud that you remind folks of him. You've got his eyes, and his smile. :)


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