My fiancé and I both recently had our birthdays. I confess I have become less keen on celebrating my birthday since college and have tried to downplay it each year. Thankfully for me, my family sees birthdays much differently.

As both my fiancé and our parents insist, birthdays are about celebrating the day the person came into the world and the wonderful impact that she or he has had on our lives. How we celebrate varies widely depending on the person from big parties to road trips to a dinner out.

The point is not what activities we do to mark each others birthdays, but celebrating the life of the person. Parkinson’s does its best to bring all of us down under its control and will. We can lose sight of celebrating life and the people in it. One of the many joys of families is their celebration of our lives and their love for us. It is this joy and love that we must always hold on to even in the most difficult moments. The light they provide will always pierce the darkness.

I’m still not quite ready to jump into my own birthday with both feet, probably because I’m not so comfortable being the center of attention. But the vitality of celebrating each others lives stays with me both personally and in the Parkinson’s community.

May we all celebrate the lives of our loved ones, the light and love they bring into our lives.

Be well…Jesse