Fighting Parkinson’s, and giving gratitude…to others

Okay, this year, 2020, the year of gratitude, started with giving gratitude to the Parkinson’s followed by giving gratitude to yourself. Now it is time to give gratitude to others.

When your family, friends, or helpers are helping you, it serves them too. They feel love and compassion for you and they feel the joy of being able to assist you because you are their loved one or friend and you need their help. It is no different than how each and every one of you would act if the roles were switched. Accept that you are worthy and deserving of their assistance and give gratitude to them.

Many people have explained to me that they simply cannot accept the assistance without feeling worse about themselves. Mostly it was because they were used to doing for others, and with the Parkinson’s they felt they had nothing to offer others (especially nothing to offer in return to those who were assisting them), so the assistance just made them feel worse about themselves.

I have explained to them that I suffered in the same way. At one point early in my Parkinson’s recovery, Sally and I had a conversation regarding this topic. She sat me down and asked if she had said or done anything that made me feel like it bothered her to be assisting me with certain things around the house.

I told her of course not and that I was quite grateful for the things she and our children were doing to assist me. She then pointed out to me something that I had been doing but was completely unaware. Sally told me that when she or our children were assisting me with things around the house, I was apologizing to them that they had to help me.

She pointed out to me that they were assisting me because they loved me and that I needed to figure out whatever was my issue because I needed their assistance but I was making them feel badly when they helped me.

After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that I felt unworthy of their love. I was the one who was supposed to be doing for them and I was failing them. How unfair it was to them that I had Parkinson’s. I didn’t even like myself enough to feel compassion for myself about the Parkinson’s, but only to feel how unfair it was for them. I remember thinking, “This is not the life they signed up for, me with Parkinson’s.”

Sally is the wisest, most compassionate soul to have graced my life, so I heard her words and took them to heart. At first, it was quite difficult, but I responded to assistance from Sally and our children with “Thank you” or “Thank you. I love you” or “Thank you. I love you, too.” It was healing for all of us.

I have cried with quite a few people who are experiencing the same situation that I had experienced, and some have told me that their spouse or significant other has had a very similar conversation with them as the one Sally had with me.

When Sally and I discussed this topic after my recovery, she told me that she loved me so much and I was such a special person to her that it was very painful for her to see that I was struggling with even being able to like myself. As you all know, I eventually got all of this worked out and learned to love myself and to know that I am worthy.

On that note, I feel compelled to tell all of you one of the most important things you need to know about yourselves:

You are special just because you exist. That’s right. You need to accept this. You are special just because you exist. Your achievements, attainments, performance, and successes, they are icing on the cake. You are the cake, your heart and soul, perfectly baked just because you exist, uniquely you. And, a perfectly baked cake doesn’t need any icing at all. It is gloriously radiant all by itself.

“Thank you” says two things: “I am grateful for you” and “I am worthy of your assistance.”

When you accept this, then you can accept assistance graciously. It is time to accept assistance graciously and let anybody and everybody who is assisting you in any way know how grateful you are.

Look him or her in the eyes with an enormous smile and say the two most wonderful words you can say to them in that moment, “Thank you.”


All my best,


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18 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and giving gratitude…to others

  1. Sharon says:

    Dear Howard, thank you for this wonderful reminder. We are so blessed to have the assistance that is needed.
    Sharon in North Carolina

  2. Robert says:

    As usual very timely post Howard! I feel exactly how you describe. Now I can talk to my girlfriend and get over this.

    Thanks very much!

  3. Chris Meyer says:

    Yes, not being too sensitive to recieving help: one of the many emotional traps along the way to recovery. The trick for me is just to recognize them and let them go…

    Thanks for helping me recognize this one, Howard.

    – Chris

  4. Edzel Amante says:

    This pierce my heart….very true. (crying now)
    Sometimes I feel that having PD is a burden to my wife and we had a few heart to heart talks just like these…
    Thanks! this is very encouraging.

  5. Jan - UK says:

    Thank you Howard, I have so much to be grateful for and your words are a constant reminder of the important things in life. j x

  6. Christine Newman says:

    Thank you Howard for this beautiful reminder. I live alone, however my adult son comes to my house from 10 to 5 to help me. He does so very willingly and on his own initiative. I am so completely grateful and at the same time I feel so self-conscious. That is something I must set aside and I appreciate you saying so.

  7. Helen Gill says:

    Thank you Howard 😊😊💖

  8. Ola Stasiak-Brough says:

    Dear Howard – thank you for sharing! Accepting help is still very difficult for me … before PD was not easy and now with PD is extremely difficult! I need keep reminding myself progress not perfection!!

    Warmly, Ola

  9. Jean says:

    Thank you so much Howard for this reminder ❤

  10. Mona in India says:

    Respected Howard sir, You just wrote my story..I exactly feel the same when with PD I have to take help from my husband, daughters, my mom and mom in law. In fact, they are so nice…but I feel guilty. Now I will try not to feel guilty, but will tell them the 2 magical words. Let me start using them first for you. Thank you sir for teaching me gratitude. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  11. Anne says:

    Thank you Howard for this profound post. All my imbalanced patterns of living funnel into this mistaken belief that I am not good enough to live on the planet with everyone else. So, expressing joyful gratitude to people contradicts that and the healing tears come. I am so touched that I am not alone with this anymore.
    Love to you and all my dear brave ones. Anne, Portland, Oregon USA

    • Chris Meyer says:

      LOL – Yeah, I’ve been thinking the same thing about myself, so if we’re really that unworthy, then there’s at least 2 of us!

      But I know that’s not the case. I’ll bet anything you’re a fun, kind and generous soul – and that’s what really counts.

      Why I might even be like that myself?!

      Best regards to a most worthy soul,

      – Chris

  12. Henrik Dahlström says:

    Thank you!

  13. David Gordon Cooper from Raglan, NZ says:

    Howard, A Great Big Thank you to you. You are a very special man. As a friend of mine used to say “Your blood is definitely worth bottling.”
    We had this very conversation this morning, and while I am usually very grateful to people that help me, but I have problems with my speech (I sometimes stutter), and I won’t say thank you. What a big fat lame excuse that is!!
    I love you Howard, David.

  14. Dianna Suggs says:

    I have always been a go getter, endlessly energetic, can manage on my own, I will take care of everything, made out of steel person. Fortunately I am blessed with friends and family who want to assist me. However I too find myself apologizing. A lot. Thank you Howard for reminding me that to truly love myself is to believe I deserve help from others. In doing so I honor the caregivers. Bless you for sharing.

  15. Gerard Clark says:

    Thankyou Howard, you are keeping me grounded

  16. Rosa says:

    This article has touched me very deeply.
    Thank you very much Howard for sharing this wonderful heartwarming concern, so essential for recovery.
    It gave me the opportunity to discuss this with my husband and make sure he doesn’t keep any feelings of guilt bottled up inside.

    We feel so blessed to have you.
    Thank you.

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