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Why me?

Thursday January 11, 2018

It’s inescapable. It haunts all your worst moments. It’s a puzzle you might particularly dwell on in the frozen twilight of a bleak winter morning. It’s the question “Why me?” elaborated with “What have I done to deserve this?” The worst part? There is no answer.

blog illo 48 why me

Why were you chosen, out of the multiple millions of humans on this planet, to suffer this frustrating, humiliating, debilitating, agonizing and complicated bundle of miseries called Parkinson’s Disease? I’m waiting…


Crickets? That’s the Universe’s “busy signal.” You can try it back later, but if you do get through, you will end up stuck in automated response hell. For “Everything happens for a reason, press one.” For “The Lord works in mysterious ways, press two.” For “It’s all part of God’s plan, press three.” For “You are being punished for… press four.” Don’t be fooled. These responses are all just code for “I don’t have a clue,” disguised in language that tries to hide the truth that has no comfort to offer. The sound of crickets is preferable by far. The message that the Universe is too busy to talk with you is right out in the open.

When every other question prompted by PD is answered, the question “Why me?” will remain. The search for a reason, a silver lining, anything that can redeem this misery is all predicated on the idea that there is a logic or purpose to life, and that this logic or purpose should be available and comprehensible to us. We need a story to orient ourselves to make sure the time we have on Earth adds up to more than God playing dice with the universe. Who will tell us this story? It’s the story you tell yourself.

So, let’s change the story of “Why Me?” by slightly shifting the focus. In the past year, I survived a 580-million-mile trip through the vacuum of space around an ongoing thermonuclear reaction, and all the while, coping with a catastrophic illness. Pretty amazing! Why me? This past Summer, a mother bear and her cub ran through our yard, giving me an adrenaline buzz, but leaving me totally unscathed. Remarkable! Why me? Over the past year I suffered numerous falls, some of them masterpieces of slapstick comic surprise, some brutal in their abrupt attack, but all of which left me without permanent damage. Whew! Why me? 16 years after my PD diagnosis, I can still ride my bike, even in the winter, thanks to the miracle of studded tires. Crazy! And I repeat, Why me? during the times, I had access to the care and treatments that have enabled me to approximate normal for much of the time. As near to normal as I get, anyway. Talk about luck! Why me? And most important, I had the support of friends and family that make life bearable, with or without Parkinson’s Disease. No kidding! Why me?

Together, we all participated in the unlikely miracle of existence, in the Thanksgiving Day Parade of being, and in the eternal “What’s next?” As luck would have it, we all got a ticket. Come as you are, Parkinson’s Disease, and all. Why not?

Peter Dunlap-ShohlPeter Dunlap-Shohl
NWPF Blogger

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