Huntington’s; How Aptly Named

Kneeling to the ground, I lay a single white rose on top of the coffin. I bite hard on my lip to stop my tears from overflowing. Jenna sobs beside me, her small body shaking from the grief pulsing through her. I pull my little sister close, stroke her hair and place a kiss on the crown of her head. I have to hold back my tears; let them flow later once Jenna is tucked up in bed, because for now she needs me to be strong for her.

In the past year we have spent too much time in graveyards. If there is a God, how cruel is he to snatch away our mother whilst the wound is still raw from father’s death? Huntington’s Disease. Aptly named, for it hunted you throughout your life. You knew it was there, watching, waiting, yet there was nothing to be done to keep it at bay. I still haven’t told Jenna the possibility that she could have it, especially as both our parents had it. She is so young, why burden her with such life shattering news? The early-onset form is so rare, plus there is nothing she could do to prevent it anyway. Ignorance is bliss.

I should know; that envelope still sits unopened. My test results. The possibility that I could be carrying the very disease that robbed me of my family, the disease that could rip me apart mind and body. It scares me to the core. Is ignorance bliss?


I hear the soft snores from Jenna upstairs, feel the wet tears stream down my face. Slowly I peel open the envelope and drag out the piece of paper that will change my life. The world disappears as I collapse at the sight of that dreaded, fateful word.


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