“You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.” – Toba Beta
My mother has a very pronounced hand tremor which she has graciously shared with me. Fortunately mine is still in its infant stages of development but I can watch my mom today and know where mine is headed.
Please don’t take this as complaining. I realize that there are many physical elements and disabilities much worse than this that I could be dealing with. Our close friend, a beautiful, kind and caring woman has battled MS for the last five years. I am sure she wishes it was just a hand tremor and honestly I don’t know how she has remained so positive dealing with this horrible and progressive disease. Her courage inspires me everyday.
My fascination with my tremor is the genetical aspect of it. My mom and dad have high blood pressure and all of their children have high blood pressure. My mom and dad have high cholesterol and guess what, all of their children do as well. My dad has a heart murmur and so do I. My mother’s hands tremble and now mine do too. Yes, the exterior similarities with our parents, brown eyes and black hair aren’t the only things they pass down to us.
When I was a kid I would occasionally say something, or move a certain way and my grandmother would say you sound just like or you walk just like her husband, my grandfather, a man I never met. That always freaked me out because I had no reference point to this man who had been dead for 40 years. But I understood later that these mannerisms were comforting to my grandmother. They were the continuation of a journey along a path that was cut short when my grandfather died at an early age.
I don’t know why I think about stupid shit like this but I do. I am carrying a trait that has probably been floating around in my family for generations upon generations. And there is a high probability that one of my kids hands will shake when they reach the ripe old age of 55 too. I asked my mom over thanksgiving if she remembered anyone else in her family that had this hand tremor. She mentioned a great-grandmother on her father’s side that had it. Her mother didn’t and her father died when she was two so we will never know if he would have developed it as well.
So yes, using a screwdriver has become a little more challenging for me. Handwriting notes to people, something I love doing, has become more difficult particularly late in the day. But I share something with my ancestors, a bond even. It is part of what makes me, me. It is a connection to my past, a defect that confirms there were people before me and hopefully more people behind me as well.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh