As a daughter whose beloved mum and dad started to ­disappear in their late 50s, I am in total awe of the glass half-full, live-life-to- the-max approach adopted by Billy Connolly as he deals with the progressive effects of cruel Parkinson’s Disease.

My grandad had Parkinson’s, and as children we chuckled when he couldn’t raise a pint to his mouth without spilling half the contents down his front. We didn’t realise how totally unfunny that was.

Mum and Dad had early onset Alzheimer’s disease, another cruel neuro-
degenerative condition.

Sometimes, in lighter moments, we’d tease Mum when she’d appear with a skirt around her ankles because she’d forgotten how to use a zip.

That wasn’t funny either. Especially when she shed a tear as we joshed.

It’s hard to find the funny side of a suffering that can go on for years.

A depression that never lifts. A living torture that ends in certain death.

Not a particularly pleasant scenario to kick off the year, I know. ­Apologies for that.

It’s just that my lovely uncle is in the later stages of Parkinson’s now. And I’d like to say thank God for Billy Connolly.

Sallying forth into this potentially depressing New Year, I feel a ­compulsion to invoke the incredibly positive spirit of The Big Yin.

His words on the front of this newspaper on Thursday were not just comforting for those living with Parkinson’s, but for anyone dealing with a chronic ­life-limiting condition.

“I feel my life slipping away,” he said… “but I’m not scared.”

He says he sometimes sees it as an adventure.

He gets “angry with it but that doesn’t last long”, he reflects, as sometimes he reveals “I just collapse in laughter”.

Even a terrible terminal illness can, of course, be better tolerated if you’re surrounded by loved ones in lovely surroundings, but living with a grim, frustrating, humiliating condition can make people – whoever they are, whatever they have, or haven’t got – want to hide away, sometimes until it’s all over, so I am loving Billy’s ­attitude.

A positive stance we should all look to in this forthcoming year of ­uncertainty for us all.

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