Gina was born in 1969, the year men first walked on the moon. She was a vibrant, soft-hearted girl, full of living. She was cheeky, and full of nonsense too, but especially full of living. Her story was not-unlike many I’d heard before.
At the age of thirty-one Gina was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. This rare condition would progressively destroy her brain cells resulting in movement disorders and dementia. The next ten years of her life would be characterised by loss of physical and mental ability, culminating in a bed-ridden, oblivious death.
I met Gina when she was twenty-seven. Knowing Gina has helped me learn to appreciate every simple thing in my life; to see everything that used to preoccupy me in proper perspective.
But ultimately Gina touched me at my core in a way I can never fully describe. Because Gina was not just some terminally ill patient at a hospital I visit. She was not just another sad story like the ones I’d heard before.
Gina was the mother of my daughter. She was my young, pretty wife sharing our young, difficult life together. I have learnt the meaning of Gina on my knees. On my knees, my tears have washed away the unimportant worries of life and deepened the waters of meaning and purpose.