If you’re looking for reading material for Pesach, look no further than Upwards, by Shami Reinman – the personal account of a woman’s battle with Parkinson’s that will give you a whole new level of appreciate for everything you have in life.
You would think that reading the personal account of a woman in her 50’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease would be down, depressing, sad. You might be right in most cases, but not so with Upwards.
Upwards is the first-person account of Shami Reinman, a vibrant and energetic woman in her 50’s – a bubby, teacher, wife and mother. She’s fun, funny and full of life – just the kind of person everyone wants as a friend. Then the unthinkable happens, and Mrs. Reinman’s world is turned upside down. As the author takes us through her journey from Diagnosis, to acceptance, to struggling with her own body – the overwhelming feeling is appreciation.
When did I last appreciate my ability to wake up in the morning and get dressed – by myself? When was the last time that I stopped and thought about the gift of being able to speak loudly and clearly, and be understood by those around me? How often to I think about the blessing of being able to drive a car, climb a flight of stairs? Did I ever feel appreciation for my ability to chew, swallow and eat? Who really takes the time to appreciate that their body is not their own worst enemy?
Reading about Shami Reinman and her struggles, reading about how she faces her challenges with optimism, it carries through to the reader. In her words:
“I accept whatever Hashem sends me, and I am grateful for every day that I have. I’ll take each day as it comes.”
-Shami Reinman, Upwards (page 276)