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Watching Their Dance

Watching Their Dance

An Epiphany That Lead Me Back To John-Chapter 3

The following is from my memoir, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’sChapter 3, page 48.

This scene takes place after my college graduation and the epiphany I experienced that lead me back to John.

John came to my graduation even though we weren’t together.

“That evening, exhausted from the weekend of celebration and moving, I lay on my mattress, which was still on the floor, and stared out the window.  The words I’d written on that desk pad continued to float around in my mind as I tried to make sense of Heather’s tragedy.  As I drifted off to sleep, I saw the phrase you never know what’s going to happen in life swirling like a huge banner blown by a hurricane.  I was running after it, yelling, ‘Come back, come back.’

At three a.m., I work with a jolt and sat up in bed.  At that moment, my path became perfectly clear.  Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, I remember thinking as distinctly as if I’d said the words aloud.  I’m not going to walk away from the love of my life because he might have a disease.  I’m a strong woman.  I will stand by his side, support him not matter what, and we’ll get through this together. Then I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep, the first I’d had in months.  I woke up early, refreshed and full of energy, and wanted to wake Kate and Sue to tell them the news.  But first, I had a phone call to make.

John was sharing a house in Ontario with four other boys.  I hadn’t stopped to think he might not be the one to answer the phone, but he picked up on the second ring.



‘Hi John.  It’ Therese.’  The silence was so intense, it seemed like minutes, not seconds, passed before he spoke again.  He sounded surprised.

‘Oh…hi. Is everything all right?’

‘Yes, everything’s fine.”  I rested my head agains the wall.  “I’m calling to ask your forgiveness.  John I’m so sorry I hurt you and….and….almost destroyed us.’

‘Well…’  he  seemed  at  a  loss  for  words, ‘we  all  have  our own way of dealing with hard stuff.  I’m glad you took the time to think it through.  I don’t want you to have any regrets.  Unfortunately, Huntington’s will be part of my life, and my sister’s.  Are you sure you can live with it?’

‘Yes, I can.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you, if you’ll still have me.  Huntington’s isn’t going to steal you away from me.  We’ll get through it…if it happens,’ I said with conviction.’

‘Of course I still want you,’ John said, ‘I love you, and I always will.  Hey, why don’t you fly to Pomona this Friday, and we’ll celebrate us and my graduation together?’

He  didn’t  have  to  ask  twice.”

We Can Never Lose HOPE…..  

I’m a Huntington’s disease (HD) advocate, President of the HDSA San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, a blogger and an author.  Visit my website