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  • R. said that when he finds himself in a group where he does not know people, he feels how his Parkinson immediately gets worse, he observes how he freezes. He slowly relaxes and tells us about the worse thing: that whenever he walks in the streets people assume he is a drunken bum. He smiles then and tells us about his drawings and poetry, activities he has taken up since he fell sick.

    He reminds me of my friend the fine Chiapanecan painter Javier Moreno, who got sick with Parkinson also before he was 50 years old. Javier is married to a German woman, Christa, who offers alternative medical treatments in the city of Xalapa in Veracruz. She complains that Javier does not want to try anything alternative, he just believes in Western medicine. But he keeps painting, their kids are grown and they seem to be as happy a family as any when I look at their photographs.

    Javier reminds me of Wilma Langhamer, another fine painter from Germany who I met more than 25 years ago in an art fair in Texas. She later invited me to her home outside of McAllen, where she lived with her Austrian husband Karl. Karl Mohner had been a quite famous actor in German - speaking countries, now he was sick with Parkinson. Karl was 30 years older than Wilma; he was 72 years old then. I was there the day of her birthday. Karl went to town with a visiting relative and bought flowers. When he returned he stood there with the bouquet of flowers, but had forgotten what for he had bought them. I thought to myself that probably he would deteriorate soon. I could not have been more wrong: during the following many years Karl took up painting! Wilma gave up her own career to promote him and they travelled the world showing his fine, semi - abstract and colorful paintings.

    While I am writing this I am listening to my very favorite Podcasts of all: the Philosophical Radio from WDR5 out of Cologne, Germany. A philosopher talks about health and sickness and how nothing is very clear when we talk about these. A listener calls and reports," I am 65 years old and in early retirement since several years because I suffer from serious Cardiac Insufficiency and ParkinsonĀ“s Disease. The medications I have to take in daily are enough for a second breakfast. But I look at myself in the mirror and I see a man happier than ever before in my life. I am out of the rat race of earning more money to buy more stuff that mostly I do not need just to feel respected and admired by others. Finally I dedicate myself to what I have always dreamt of: doing woodcuts and writing poetry. I do not care who sees my work, if it is praised or criticized, I just enjoy doing it every single day. My illnesses have liberated me!"

    Art by Kiki

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