It has been some time since my Father Raymond James Bazley was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It is now almost two years since he passed away. I was living in the US at the time. Each time on my return I would see the effects it had on him. My Mother as his caregiver had to deal with it on a daily basis and all through she remained incredibly upbeat (on the surface) and positively saintly! She did it for us. One of the side effects of Parkinson’s and the medication can be hallucinations which my Dad had. How she coped I do not know but she did. I have learnt a lot from both my Mum and my Dad. That humour is a great way to get through things, sometimes tragic things. The ability to laugh can get you through and make what appears unbearable, bearable.
To see such a proud man deteriorate was sad. Yet throughout he maintained a sense of humour. Humour, is as essential in this condition (as in many others) as medicine. Bob Hoskins who had Parkinson’s made a list of essential things to live life by which he gave to his daughter and this one stood out. 1) LAUGH. There is humour to be found everywhere, even your darkest days there’s something to have a joke about. Laugh long and loud and make other people laugh. It’s good for you.
My Dad was an impressive figure to me. Tall and physically strong. An academic, yet with an edge coming from working class roots. He would play chess and yet when approached by a mugger once held up his keys and said “Just try it!”. Perhaps the fact that my Grandfather was a champion wrestler of Cornish style wrestling for Cornwall and Devon was a part of that. Authoritative, yet approachable, he was respected hugely by Teachers and his pupils at school alike. They liked him but knew not to mess with him! He was a Maths Teacher and had a very inquisitive mind. Long evenings were spent at his desk creating inventions and sometimes made prototypes. He sent a few off but none were made but he tried and that is the important thing and something he passed on. You have to “give it a go!” Whilst he was ill I started to write, it was sort of cathartic. It wasn’t about my Dad specifically, it was not a documentary. It was a Drama with elements of the real World. I was then joined by scriptwriter Julianne White who fleshed it out. I specifically made the main character unlike my Dad and was set in a very different environment. A Producer made an offer but for a number of reasons I turned it down. To be honest whilst my Dad was alive all too raw and too close so I sat on it for a while. Although a good script It was in it’s current form a little too bleak, too depressing.
My Dad passed away two years ago and I was able to pick up the script again and have a think and the penny dropped! Without giving away any real details of the story (which does involve his hallucinations), the main character needn’t be the victim but could be the hero! Also he could be more like my Dad. It could be told with compassion and humour. I at last had a story I wanted to tell and Julianne (scriptwriter) and myself are back on the case and you will hear all about it here on this blog!
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