My father doesn’t smile very often these days. It takes an effort because Parkinson’s makes control of your muscles, including the facial ones, difficult, and the sufferer becomes withdrawn and unsocial because of his inability to interact in the ways we normally do.
Conversation is also a strain because of the difficulty in controlling the vocal cords, and talking to him is mainly just that – talking to him. The engaging wit and ticking mind just stays in there somewhere, masked by Parkinsons’ stiffness.
Except last night when I said to him that I don’t care if he’s uncomfortable, because he’s got to be at the hospital next month to welcome his first paternal grandson:
His face contorted into the biggest smile I’ve seen him smile in years, and he said in a voice quavering either from Parkinson’s or from emotion, “Of course I will be there. I will be there waiting with you”.