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.
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.”