Stop Your Sobbing

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We were flipping through the channels last night, in the thirty minutes between King of the Hill and Grey's. The dh saw Michael J Fox on In The Actor's Studio and stopped.

After 15 minutes, I had to leave. I couldn't watch.

This episode was from 2005, almost a year old. At one point, he had to leave the stage while the medicine kicked in. His tremors were worse and worse, and you could see him trying to fight to stay on stage, to finish. I'm crying just thinking about it.

I was never a huge MJF fan. I watched Family Ties and Back to the Future, but I never said, "Oh, MJF, I have to see that." Yet I hurt watching him last night, almost as if I was watching someone I loved hurting.

And yet, y'all, he was amazing. I have the utmost respect for this man, who says this was not the way he'd choose to live his life, but he considers it a gift because it brought so much recognition to the disease that affects so many. He understands he has it easier because he doesn't have to worry about insurance and all that, and he says he doesn't want to make Parkinson's look like something that is easy to live with, but he does want people to know they can live with it.

He shared a story about - I'm going to mess this up. He said God had this group of people and he told them to stand in a circle and put their worst problem in the circle. Then he told them to take any problem from the circle as their own. Everyone took their own problem back. Isn't that just true?

He also told this young girl who asked a question, and also has a neurological disorder, that he knows he has to walk through the pain, because chances are, on the other side, there will be something good.


He also said something about being a writer, but I was sobbing so hard by then, I can't remember.

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Kelly Boyce said...

I've always been a huge MJF fan from way back when Family Ties first aired. There was just something about him that made you want to invite him over and hang out with him. Anytime I see him now its one part inspiration and one part heartbreak. But the grace with which he handles it is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Mar, this was a beautiful post. And so true. MJF is an amazing man. To see what he has to deal with, and how he never gives says something to us all.

My daughter has said the same thing about her condition...that she wants to help other people understand it, and help those who have it know that they're not alone. And she's done that with other young people with the same condition as she, as well as give talks at the school to help people understand. An awful lot of maturity for only 17. I'm not sure I would have handled it that well at the same age.


Trish Milburn said...

I totally agree with Kelly and Joanna. He's an amazing guy and a true inspiration. Makes one thankful for their own lives and shows how truly little some of our problems are when compared to what we could have to deal with.

Anonymous said...

I saw him on the news recently after Bush vetoed the stem cell research bill and it just broke my heart. :(

Stacy Dawn said...

Being Canadian, I'm extra proud of him, his accomplishments and the way he has chosen to deal with his condition. An amazing man.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Kelly, I feel the same way. He breaks my damned heart.

Did you all see the Scrubs episode where he played a doctor with OCD? It was obvious he channeled his own frustration into the character, and it was an amazing performance.

J, two things--you don't know how you will react in a situation until you're in it, so you'd probably be surprised how you would have handled it. Plus, she's your daughter! Her maturity and generosity are tributes to you.

MJFredrick said...

I MUST SEE the Scrubs epi - was it this season???

I ordered his book.

Y'all, I cried coming home thinking about it, cried telling Cindi about it, am crying right now thinking about it. I'm actually stunned by the effect it's having on me.

Grace - that's the perfect word for how he's handling it, Kelly.

JoAnn, that's awesome about your dd. Sounds like she's a lot like her mom - thinking of others.

Trish, exactly what I was thinking, making my stupid broken oven and our drought and all the millions of little things inconsequential.

He and Tracy are on the cover of Ladies Home Journal - I almost picked it up at the grocery store.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Mary. I didn't know he had a book out now. I'll have to see if I can catch a rerun of IAS.

Colleen Gleason said...

Thanks for the thoughtful, touching post. I've always love MJF too, and recently my kids have started to recognize him (BACK TO THE FUTURE, and some voices in animated movies).

He is a hero in his own right, and so very admirable.

Anonymous said...

He is a hero. I'll have to buy this book. Thanks for posting it, I had no idea it existed.

MJFredrick said...

I didn't know about the book till I did an image search for him. It's on its way - can't wait to read it.


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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