Thoughts on Loss

Thoughts on Loss

I scroll through the social media posts, past the updates on the Coronavirus, past the ever-lurking advertisements that seep into my feed. I am bored with this online stuff. But then I see them, they catch my eye.

I pause.

Take another look Carol, don’t let this one by. This one, you have to comment on this one.

The first photo is a Roman Catholic Priest, fully vested, standing in the door of his church, holding the Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, housed in the center of the large gold monstrance. He raises the monstrance as a blessing to people slowly driving their cars, windows down through the parking lot. His face expresses what he may not want the parishioners to see: his heart, broken and bleeding for his parish, just as Jesus bleeds, still on hanging on the cross in the sanctuary through the doors behind the priest.

The next picture is of a broken heart. A teaching assistant posts she is very sad. She cannot interact with her students. The future of her job is uncertain. A teacher responds to this post expressing her own grief. I read them both and feel sadness. Yet it’s a different grief, more like a good friend moving away than the finality of a loved one’s death. All educators should feel a sense of relief that their students are okay, loved, still alive. But these educators feel responsibility. Their vocation is to oversee learning with specific techniques, data-driven decisions, and evidence-based practices. Their passion for teaching is supported by encouragement, smiles, kind words, hugs, pats on the back.

It is this passion that has broken the hearts of many educators.

Parkinson’s Disease author, blogger and advocate Heather Kennedy used this term in a recent podcast “Hearts broken open”.

I had not thought about a heart being broken open, but it illustrates what I see around me and hope for our future.

Hearts are broken because everything in the world has suddenly changed. The familiar freedoms, advantages, lifestyles we have experienced are gone. We as parents, teachers, all of society actually, want so much to hold on to the way we have always done it.  We can’t. With hearts broken open, the old ways can escape. We must let them out, even help them. We take our brooms and sweep out the cobwebs in the corners where the old ways gathered. We enter the chambers of belief and throw open the window to let the glorious light of a new time shine in, illuminating what we have held as true most of our lives. Things will never be the same, in education, in our churches, in our homes or in our world.

Some will celebrate. Others will grieve. There is no right or wrong. But as Heather Kennedy concluded her podcast, she said:

The most important thing to consider right now is to be kind. Be kind to yourself. Change is very hard. And be kind to others…

…And I add: you don’t know they have cleaned out of their heart, broken, open.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 (541) 720-4256

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