By CL Bledsoe

Huntington’s Disease

Mom sat on the edge of her bed, crying,
“I’m sick. I’m sick.” Dad said it was all
in her head and stayed out later each night,
drinking with his buddies he hated. So much
has been lost. The things she used to say
when she talked to herself. The reason she
liked vanilla so much. Did Jesus help her,
or were we wasting time at church eight
days a week? No one sat us down and explained:
your mother is dying badly. Something more
important was always happening, like the cows
were out or the rice was scorching at
the Johnson place. There were stories about
her Dad, unable to walk but strong enough
to punch a dent into his car on the way to
the nursing home. His mother no one talked
about. They called it Huntington’s Chorea,
which made me think one of my uncles brought
it back from the war, but meant dance. Imagine
the Holy Spirit stole your body — I’d seen it
in tent revivals, twitching parishioners
mumble-screaming nonsense. The difference
for them was at the end, they got theirs back.

Stuff My Stupid Heart Likes by CL Bledsoe (co-author of and The Wild Word:

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