My PD story is of my wonderful mother, Geraldine Hayes, who sadly passed on December 1, 2014 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. I was not only her caregiver, but her eldest daughter.
I watched mother go from my dancing partner, shopping buddy and best friend to wheelchair bound with limited mobility overnight.
My mother inspired me to be a fighter, to always have hope and to never accept things as they are. Working full time and taking care of my mother was mentally and physically draining, but I used every resource I had, such as reading up on the disease, learning about new breakthroughs, researching the Michael J. Fox clinical trials, investigating specialists in movement disorders -- eating, sleeping, breathing this disease.
I was determined to help Mother live her life to the fullest, knowing there is no cure at the moment, but hoping that someday there will be and offering that hope to my mother.
I realized I had overlooked one big part of being a caregiver and a daughter: you can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself first. Taking care of myself didn't make me selfish; it made me a better caregiver to Mother.
The photo on this page shows Mother holding her great-grandson (my daughter and son-in-law’s firstborn), taken the day after her birthday. I truly miss Mother, but I’ve learned another big life lesson: never take life for granted, but live each day to its fullest, as if it were your last.
I’m not only an advocate of raising awareness for autism, juvenile diabetes and stroke (in support of my son, daughter and husband); I can add Parkinson's to my list in honor of my mother.
I love and miss you so much, Mother! Thank you for taking care of me all my life.
Your loving daughter,