This poem is long, best maybe just read. I wanted to cover all that “Joy” did to wake up the Parkies in my town. My holiday wish to each of you is that a “Joy” comes to your part of the world. It was a joy to have her in my life. I wish that she could pop in and out of people’s lives like Mary Poppins. That would be silly.
Found a spiritual advisor, an advocate, a mentor, and a friend All in one person, Joy; at the first Parkie support group meeting I did attend. For 10 years, we had deep discussions on topics that often were taboo. She was knowledgeable on many subjects, never judgmental. Not an analytic type, she had “it.” Was “it” spunk, determination, or nerve? Whatever ‘it” was she did it with verve. She’s the type of spiritual advisor who drew people toward her and who wanted to help her achieve her goals. Rail thin and a shaky voice. Her arm writhed up in the air slithering like a snake. Hands gnarled with dystonia; she walked with a rigid gait. Like most spiritual advisors, she was selfless, not materialistic. Her mission to get Parkies to volunteer to participate in research, vbery altruistic She’s the type of spiritual advisor who drew people toward her and who wanted to help her achieve her goals 10-fold. At the public library, Joy and a few of her followers started a new support group that was more active, to help her with her mission. The first official meeting, held in a church, had a large number to attend. By word of mouth, the membership grew. Where did they all come from? Fellowship and my friend’s charisma could have drawn them out. She’s the type of advocate who drew people to her and would not accept “No” to achieve her goals. This frail but determined and tenacious lady had another vision in her mission. Researchers at a local college should hold a conference for Parkies for free. Over 400 Parkies and caregivers attend this event held annually. Only a pandemic could stop this dynamo, temporarily. The conference led to a research grant eventually. She’s the type of spiritual advisor who drew people toward her and who wanted to help her achieve her goals. Her cognition began to faulter, Loneliness overwhelmed her. She had many falls and broken bones. Finally realized that someone else needed to take charge. Her grass roots advocacy building was something to behold. The seeds she planted to build a strong local Parkie network was bold and will help us all to achieve our goals. For that I will always be thankful. Thank you, dear friend. And thank you God for giving us Joy.