In the outset the family was alerted to some changes in Allen's behavior and it was not good. In place of the strong gait, was a shuffling of feet, the decisive and authoritative tone was replaced by mumbling and often incoherence. The clear mind was now one of confusion. After receiving official word that Allen had Parkinson's Disease in 1980, it was met with surprise and dismay. Parkinson's Disease was no stranger to the Moyer Family. Allen's uncle, John Moyer, had been diagnosed with this disease decades earlier. It just seemed unbelievable that the disease would resurface again.
It was during this time that the family and others were inspired by Katharine's unwavering resolve to better understand Parkinson's. She would drive Allen to Tulsa, Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Enid for hospital stays, doctor's appointments etc. She would also be responsible for bringing awareness of Parkinson's to Northern Oklahoma. She was very instrumental in getting Parkinson's support groups started here. Katharine did not want Allen to miss out on activities involving the grandchildren or even reunions of the Civilian Public Service.
Katharine knew how very important it was to Allen to keep in contact with other members he had served with in the CPS. She would drive Allen to CPS Reunions in Missouri, Arkansas, and Missoula, Montana. "The acquaintances he made at camp have been a highlight of his life. The reunions have been a special joy and have renewed the old bond. It is a sense of family: and, misfortune and death of members is heartache to all."(98) This would be the last time that Allen would travel to his beloved Montana. "The week at Seely Lake in August of 1983 was outstanding and the back-packing trip a never-forgotten memory, even though he was already suffering from the effects of Parkinson's at that time. It is with special gratitude that we remember the caring way in which his friends looked after him." (99)
After all avenues had been explored and the Parkinson's would be their reality, it was a time of reflection.(100) It was then that Allen expressed that his life had been a fulfilling one, he had accomplished things to his satisfaction. He felt that he had done his best and he felt good about passing his role on to successors.(101) Allen would continue to be involved with the farming with Chuck's help. However, it became evident that he was losing the battle and the Parkinson's was winning.
Copyright Rose Moyer, 2015, All rights reserved.