Letter from the past: A Huntington's Disease Story

I received a letter today. It made me cry. I didn't receive it by mail, but by Facebook messenger. The message was from my sister and it was a copy of a letter that I had written to her and sent by regular mail in 1986.


There was nothing particularly emotional or notable in its actual words. I was 23 years old when I had written it and had been married for about five years. The year before we had just had our first child, a girl. I was joking with my sister about doing some crazy thing that I can't remember and then I talked a bit about what was going on here at home. She had moved to Florida a few years before and I was keeping her up to date on the happenings at home.

To anyone that read this letter it would seem quite normal, other than it being a bit dated, since people don't write letters anymore. They are simply a lost art, a memory of a happier time. But this was after all 33 years ago. For me it's a lifetime ago.

I wrote about my wife, Sheila, who was about to go to university at Acadia in Wolfville. And I wrote about going to a political function which was a dinner and dance at the local Lion's Hall.

Memories flooded my head when I read this relatively short letter which was something I did fairly often to my sister. It was my way of making sure that we continued to know each other, and to nurture a relationship that I wanted to keep strong.


But, what hit me was how innocent it was. It would be another 13 years before we would hear that Huntington's Disease was in the family and that Sheila would be at risk.

I remembered how smart she was and how much fun we had together. We were best friends forever. I always knew this, but I hadn't felt it in a long time since our relationship has been forever changed by HD. I felt it today, and although it was sad, it was wonderful as well.

It's good to know that the most important person in your life was loved and is loved to this day. But, it's so comforting to know that they loved as well.

There is nothing wrong with harkening back to a happy time, keeping in mind that all relationships evolve, but are based on a foundation that was built strongly in the past so that it would hold us up today.

Keep reminiscing....


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