When disease robs precious gifts

I was saddened to hear that one of my favorite singers, Linda Ronstadt, has announced that she has Parkinson’s disease and can no longer sing. An aunt of mine died from Parkinson’s complications and it was a sad, slow decline for such an independent, hard-working woman, eventually impacting her mental state and leaving her completely dependent upon others to take care of her. Parkinson’s, like Alzheimer’s, can manifest in vague symptoms at first and be difficult to diagnose. According to news reports, Ronstadt believes her symptoms go back several years, but she was officially diagnosed just several months ago.

Linda Ronstadt's beautiful singing voice has been silenced by Parkinson's disease. Image copyright: Capitol Records.

Linda Ronstadt’s beautiful singing voice has been silenced by Parkinson’s disease. Image copyright: Capitol Records.

Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease can rob one of their personal talents and joys in life. What a blow to not only have to deal with a seriously debilitating disease like Parkinson’s but to be robbed of an amazing gift, like your singing voice. Certainly Linda Ronstadt has had a long and successful music career, but for people who interpret the world through song, it is a tragic personal loss as well. The same goes for writers who develop a condition that prevents them from creating new works of literature and artists who can no longer paint.

Of course, these diseases rob the average Joe of gifts as well. When my dad lost his ability to read due to Alzheimer’s, a huge part of his love for life went with it. My dad loved to read and expand his knowledge on his favorite subjects and reading gave him much pleasure over the years. I’ll never forget when the nursing home staff asked us what does Dad like to do and the only answer we could give them was “read.”

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4 Comments

Filed under Awareness & Activism

4 responses to “When disease robs precious gifts

  1. Great blog post, and sad news about Linda Ronstadt. Like your dad, I am slowly losing the ability to read, my one great joy in life… thankfully a university disability advisor has taught me a few tricks which for the most, work quite well still.

  2. Glad you were able to discover a workaround.

  3. I too love Linda Ronstadt, and while we will always enjoy her enormous and varied legacy of recorded work, it is stunning to know that there will never be a new interpretation or an previously undiscovered genre of music. I was happy to see that she has FINALLY been nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few days agobut now they need to vote her in! If you visit the Hall’s website, you can cast a “fan vote” for her. Not that she cares, but it makes me feel like I am waving her flag in the face of this sad news. Best, Hallie

  4. Thanks Hallie for letting me know. I agree it’s long overdue for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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