In 1970, at the age of 35, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. At that time it was almost never heard of that a man of my fathers age and race (white) would develop this disease. There was not much research done at that time and my father had to rely on what medication and treatment was available at that time.
--- Copyright © 2001 Nancy Fidler
But one thing was clear, my father was not a quitter. You see, my father was a Chicago Public High School Teacher who taught special education children. Every day we would hear stories about "his kids". These "kids" did not usually mean my sister and I.
I remember as a child, my mother always met our teachers on "Parents Night" because my father always had his "Parent Nights" on the same nights. However, this is not the reason why I'm writing. My father's story happened about a month before he passed away in 1998.
My father arrived at his school and was walking up the stairs to his first period class. He was having a very difficult day because the Parkinson's was really taking everything out of him. He fell once and bruised his knee but he still kept going. Little did he know that someone was watching.
As the day progressed his step began to get a little lighter and peppy. By the time he was ready to leave for the day, he was walking at a pretty brisk step. As he was gathering his things at the end of the day, a young girl entered his room. He knew this girl from seeing her in the hallways but she was not one of his students. He asked what he could do for her and she said, "I just wanted to Thank You for saving my life".
He looked at her and couldn't figure out what he had done. She then went on to explain. "When I got up this morning I was at the end of my rope and ready to kill myself. When I came in this morning, I saw you trying to get up the stairs and then you fell. I felt bad for you and the feeling of sadness just kept getting stronger. Then, at the end of the day, you were walking as spry as ever. I then realized that everything will get better as the days go on".
This story is true. My father had tears in his eyes the day he told me. I just hope that one day, my life could inspire someone else.