Rosie Roessler is a mother of 3 and loving wife. She currently works full-time in the property management field and in her spare time she coordinates the South Broward YOPD support group and works on making lasting memories for her family. She lives by the motto “Not every day is perfect, but there are perfect moments in every day.” Rosie also runs a support group on Facebook for YOPD caregivers; you can email her for information about joining it.
There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is suddenly divided into two parts: before this and after this.
That moment for me was March 14th, 2011, when my new life partner entered into my life without invite or even notice. Parkinson’s, as we were told, invaded my 41-year-old husband’s body. I sat there in the doctor’s office with my 6- and 4-year-old boys, listening to what the doctor was telling us with tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking “Oh God, nothing is ever going to be the same.”
And it hasn’t been. There has never been a more clear statement; there is clearly a before and after. Before, I was “just” a mother and a wife (not that that is not enough). Now… now I’m a wife, mother, caregiver, up-lifter, guider, emergency contact, the brunt of all his frustrations, and the receiver of many, many pitying looks and thoughts. That which I hate the most: “Oh my God, there is Rosie. Can you believe she is 30 with three kids and a husband with Parkinson’s? She has her whole life before her, why would she stay? She’s such a better person than I am.” Really, I’ve heard countless people tell me this. And they hold some truth to that. I am 30, I have 3 growing boys, and my husband has Parkinson’s. This is my story.
Life is not easy; far from it, actually. Our life IS different, it IS hard. No one can be happy and positive all the time when faced with such adversity on a daily basis. I love my husband, but I hate Parkinson’s. Many blogs, books, and articles are sooo positive all the time. I am here to tell you it is 100% normal after you have just came home to your husband on the floor after a fall, or cleaned up the tenth dish that he has dropped that month, or clean the house after a long day’s work because today was an “off day”, or go days being a single mother to your children and a caregiver to your husband because there has been a recent medication change that is taking everything out of him, to feel like you just can’t take it (you can by the way). But it’s ok to FEEL like you can’t for a night… or two. You have that right. My least favorite thing on “off days” is just watching him. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming and nothing can bring me to a bottle of wine faster than watching him suffer. It’s horrible, my stomach literally turns in pain to watch him in pain and know I can’t fix it. I hate Parkinson’s.
But there is positive. After… about a year (everyone needs time to adjust to news like this), life has become better than before. My husband and I are closer; I mean really close. The best part of my day is coming home to him. Parkinson’s has given us something that I believe we would have never had without it: simple unconditional love. I know that we have an uphill climb fighting this battle and many days we will struggle; but when I feel like I can’t make it through the day, I break it down hour by hour; and when even that’s too much, minute by minute and soon the day is over. The great thing about life is we get a do-over every morning. It’s really kind of amazing.