I know that many girls consider their dad to be their hero. I know mine is. But my respect and love for him deepens each day as I watch him battle against Parkinson’s disease. It is difficult to describe the anguish of watching an illness slowly strip away at a person’s health. It is especially difficult to watch this happen to someone you dearly love. I’m sure it is a hundred times worse for the person afflicted with the disease themselves. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was only forty-five years old, when I was just a freshman in college. But my dad does not focus on his problems, because he chooses instead to help those around him. I have never met a more generous person.
The first summer after Spencer and I were married, Dad came out to visit us. We were house sitting for my cousin that summer, and were excited to host a guest in a little place of our own. Saturday was the day reserved for housework and yard work. Spencer and I were so busy during the week that we had to put off the more intensive chores until our day off. Saturday morning we woke up to realize that we didn’t know where Dad was.We found him outside, mowing our lawn. The lines in the grass were a little crooked, because his balance was not as good as it once was. But I have never seen a more beautifully manicured lawn.
He saw something simple he could do to help us, and he did it. That’s the kind of person he is. That’s the kind of person I want to be.