Melanie’s mother Grace learns in an offhand telephone call from her doctor that she has multiple sclerosis (MS), an incurable neurodegenerative disease. The initial diagnosis and onset of symptoms throws her and Mel’s father into a state of panic. In an attempt to protect their children they impose a code of silence. Melanie sees through them, uncovers the truth for herself, tells her two brothers and confronts her parents. They listen and talk, but things don’t go as promised.
Embarrassment and guilt spread through the family. Frustration and anger break through the silent veneer. Melanie tries alcohol and drugs, eventually running away from home. Stopped in the nick of time by Ricky – a pierced, rebellious and unlikely savior – she slinks home to the disarray of her family. Grace is shocked to find herself thanking such a dangerous-looking young man, and realizes the precarious state into which her family is sliding. At first she blames herself, but she has no time to spare and soon turns to confront the harsh, honest truth.
Grace joins a group of MS sufferers. They help her find the courage to pry apart the closed doors of her family. Melanie grudgingly follows her mother’s lead, and gradually draws strength from the process. In time, they find themselves empowered by the realization that they’re not alone. Their communication grows deeper, and they’re transformed by a renewed sense of family love and unity.
© Copyright 2000
CC Books, Montreal, Canada
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