Ok. This was my Greatest Day.

Catastrophise. That was the word my agent used once to describe my newfound tendency to overreact. Since June I have catastrophised. Anything minor going wrong I lose it.

There are many aspects to Parkinson’s and a lot of them are non  motor. Mood swings, low motivation, tiredness, constipation. If a car was booked to pick me up at 1800, I was always the guy who was ready at 1745. Now I am the guy who staggers out of the door at 1807. But the catstrophising is the worst.

So how the hell am I going to cope with the biggest day of my life?

We’d worked all year on this day, and the service was meant to be the easy bit. Registry office, 38 guests, traditional script. When I saw the guests turn up, I did that hing I do so frequently. I broke down in tears. Joyful, my bloody mates have turned up on time, tears.

The only unconventional bit were the readings. I’m not a religious person, and I’m pretty ignorant of poetry. So reading number one was the lyrics to Love Comes Quickly, by the Pet Shop Boys, jokily and skilfully delivered by one of my best men.

The other reading was originally meant to be equally jokey. As I read the lyrics more carefully, I realised to my surprise that they uncomfortably described the reality of juggling a serious disease and love.

every now and then I get a little bit lonely
And you’re never coming ’round
every now and then I get a little bit tired
Of listening to the sound of my tears
every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by
every now and then I get a little bit terrified
And then I see the look in your eyes

every now and then I know you’ll never be the boy
You always wanted to be but every now and then I know you’ll always be the only boy
Who wanted me the way that I am

every now and then I get a little bit reckless
And I dream of something wild
every now and then I get a little bit helpless
And I’m lying like a child in your arms
every now and then I get a little bit angryAnd I know I’ve got to get out and cry
every now and then I get a little bit terrified
But then I see the look in your eyes

every now and then I fall apart
every now and then I fall apart

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you only hold me tight
We’ll be holding on forever
And we’ll only be making it right
‘Cause we’ll never be wrong
Together we can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
We’re livin’ in a powder keg and givin’ off sparks
I really need you tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight
Forever’s gonna start tonight

Anyway, the wedding was great. But the challenge was far from over. An hour after leaving the registry office, I was performing a self-written song-and-dance number to seventy-five lunch guests, delivering rhyming profiles of each guest. Olly and I had slaved over it. Halfway through the song, I was thinking, “I am having the f**king time of my life“. My clan were meeting his clan, and everything was wonderful in the world. Other creative gambles throughout the lunch all paid off, and yet still I couldn’t relax.

And the reason I couldn’t relax was: at six o’clock, three-hundred friends from every walk of life I’ve ever had were about to turn up to the pub, for the “disco” — which, in reality, was a six-and-a-half-hour multimedia audiovisual extravaganza, that was due to start at six-thirty.

That’s when I started to catastrophise.

For the longest hour-and-a-quarter of my life, everything went wrong. No aspect of the technical demands that would’ve enabled Olly and I to put the show on ever looked like working. My new husband — the “technical guy” — never once showed any sign that he knew our plans were falling apart. Three-hundred people arrived, most unable to get a drink owing to overcrowding, with me being overwhelmed by well-wishers asking Olly’s whereabouts, and me being unable to utter the truthful answer, “I have no idea — I just know he’s to trying to save this evening“. Soon, the start-time was a thing of fantasy, well-meaning friends were laughing at my increasing agitation, and even-better-meaning friends were doing their darndest to solve our technical issues.

In my head, I was juggling two thoughts: “We worked so hard for this. Please don’t fuck up the entire day by losing your temper“. As seven o’clock passed, the reality set in that perhaps we should get on with a lesser version of our intended entertainment. I am about to have an absolute breakdown, when a friend takes me outside the pub, and says, “This is your wedding. Things go wrong. When I got married, you wouldn’t believe how many things went wrong. This is your day. These are your people. Now, go out there and enjoy yourself“. At this point, I saw my husband. I said, “Is there any chance these visuals are going to work?“. He replied, “I’ve grown weary of the fight“.

And I looked in his eyes, and I pondered the sheer effort that both of us had put in. And I thought to myself,

I am going to get absolutely shit-faced“.

Instead of destroying the greatest day of my life, I then went on to have the greatest day of my life, as friends and family thoroughly enjoyed drinking, dancing, and ignoring the canapés (on which I had spent thousands). The realisation that, in the overall scheme of things, the failure to provide a visual accompaniment to the playlist was about the hundred-and-seventeenth most important priority for me. Suddenly, I was able to forget my troubles, and effortlessly glide through the company of three-hundred beloved guests.

The entertainment ended with me and Olly, stood on chairs, destroying Carter USM’s excellent cover of The Impossible Dream. Best of all, when I woke up the next morning, I realised:

I hadn’t thought about my Parkinson’s once.

All I thought was how lucky I was to have lived a life where my friends and family are amazing.

On to married life.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s