How I wrestled with my belief in good and bad luck

My wife's perspective on Huntington's and more changed my thinking

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by Carlos Briceño |

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If you’d asked me 15 years ago — when I met my wife, Jill — if I believed in the concept of luck, I would’ve told you no. I would’ve told you that both good and bad things happen to us all and that luck was something we construct in our minds to explain why unexplainable things happen.

But being married to Jill has changed the way I look at and define luck. My answer now would be “Yes, I believe in luck,” but that belief depends on the way we explain whether it’s good or bad.

When I met her, I didn’t understand at first why she called her luck weird, but then I started spending more time with her and saw some things that seemed so illogical that I agreed with her.

Her luck was weird.

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It started with an umbrella. I noticed she didn’t have one, even though we lived in Florida where rain was common. When I got her one for her home and one for her car, she laughed. I wondered why she thought it was so funny.

She explained that she never needed one. As she looked at my puzzled expression, she said, “I have good rain luck. Have you noticed that when I need to go in or out of somewhere, the rain pauses?”

She was right. I’d never seen her need an umbrella. But was that good luck or good timing?

As we grew closer, I watched other strange things happen that seemed like good luck. Anywhere we went, the perfect parking space would open up for her in the most packed of lots. Or when we were in a hurry, all the traffic lights seemed to turn green.

These things didn’t just happen once or twice. They happened often to Jill. It really seemed that she had good luck.

A different perspective on luck

One day we started talking about Jill’s good luck with friends. She countered with the old adage, “If not for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

Her friends agreed, but I didn’t understand. I insisted she had good luck. I’d witnessed it.

One friend asked me if we were talking about the same Jill. The person she was thinking about would lose a raffle even if she were the only one in it.

I later asked Jill why she thought she had bad luck. Her answer made me rethink the whole concept of good and bad luck. She asked me if I’d ever noticed that everything she orders in a restaurant comes back wrong in some way. Her meat was never cooked to the temperature she ordered. When she asked for something like onions to be excluded from her dish, it never was. If everyone ordered something for dessert, hers was always missing.

I guess I’d noticed, but Jill would say something funny, and the bad luck she experienced would be forgotten. Only the love we shared, which we viewed as being good, remained in our memory.

I often think of my family’s bad luck. Both Jill and Alexus, our daughter, have inherited the gene for Huntington’s disease, a devastating disease that will cause them a lot of suffering.

When I finally talked to Jill about the sadness I felt, she said, “Well, we’ve had bad things happen to us, and bad things will continue to happen to us. The fact that we’re still standing despite all of our loss and sadness are the reasons we’re lucky.”

I looked at her and wanted to tell her she was wrong, but she wasn’t. I knew that no matter what life throws at us, we’ll keep moving forward. I nodded and smiled.

She hugged me and said, “How could you think you have bad luck? You married me, so you have the best luck of anyone I know.”

Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


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