In 2 months I will be 80 years old. I don’t feel old and I never thought that added years would bring dramatic changes to my life. I was healthy, my mind was clear, and I was able to live happily and quite independently. One morning, overnight, all of that flew out my window.
I got out of bed and had body tremors that rendered me unable to function as I had only the day before. I was terrified. I had so much fear I thought I could not contain it. I could not control the shaking and I sat in my apartment by myself not knowing whether or not I wanted to live. My head was shaking with such force that my hair flew before my eyes with each turn. I thought of how owls can spin their heads nearly 360 degrees without moving their bodies. I waited a couple of days before saying anything to anyone thinking it would all go away. It didn’t.
My shaking legs and arms woke me at night. My shaking head made it impossible to drink water except from a straw. Texting brought phone calls from grown children. My daughter said “Have you talked to God about this? Maybe, just maybe you could tell God you accept this condition that He has sent you.” Those words raised a panic in me that maybe this condition would never go away. And then I thought about my surrender to God. I knew if the surrender meant anything at all, this was a time to put it in action. My daughter’s words were a perfect reminder.
The next day I read my meditation books that inspire me each morning. I prayed. I told God it was all OK. I said to him I could live with this and if he wanted to take me this way, that was OK too. I didn’t realize until I said those words to God that I meant it in my heart. My whole body relaxed a little. I knew I would be OK. I felt a comforting connection with God. Ease and comfort surrounded me like a blanket.
My daughter flew from Florida to help me. My daughter-in-law flew in from Washington State. Like God’s angels, friends called and wanted to help. Arrangements were made for services designed to aid seniors to live independently. I saw several doctors. I tried different medications. I became like a robot, almost, going from here to there, listening but not always hearing. I followed directions, but didn’t necessarily connect with reason. I stayed in motion as I was directed, but the tremors continued to demand all my attention. In one doctor’s office I began crying uncontrollably and could not stop. The days marched on like the desk calendars where a page gets ripped off only to find another day underneath.
Each morning I said to God “Thank you for sending this help. It gives me hope. God, I’m not well yet in the way I want to be, but I have great faith today that everything will be okay and that You are guiding my life the way it is supposed to be. You are opening new worlds to me. You ease my fears as I gradually surrender and have faith.” I didn’t always believe it fully but I said it anyway. I knew that God was the only reason I could be present each time a calendar page changed. The family help, the doctors, the medications, whirled around me like a merry-go-round that wouldn’t stop, but I knew God’s hand was on my shoulder and I would be OK.