It has been a few days now since Nelson Mandela, also known by his Xhosa name Madiba, passed away at 95. Few people have had such a dramatic impact not only in his homeland but around the world. As I’ve reflected upon his passing I’ve realized that one of the strongest undercurrents of Mandela’s life was his irrepressible hope for better days.
There are days when hope is in short supply for us in the Parkinson’s community. The days when patients or caregivers vent their frustrations on the other, the days of grief or depression at what is happening as the disease progresses. I imagine Nelson Mandela felt these same emotions during his 27 year imprisonment on Robben Island leading the struggle against apartheid. But his hope remained stronger than his frustration and despair.
One of the most amazing things Mandela did was something he chose not to do: take revenge for what was done to him and his followers. His grace toward his situation both in prison and upon release is a shining light to all of us.
May the light of Nelson Mandela’s hope shine upon all of us. Rest in peace Madiba…