I Never Imagined My Sister Would Die




By Roisin Wilson in The Irish Times.


Before my sister Sophia got Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), I had subconsciously developed a disparaging view of the disease. The little I knew about ME at the turn of the century was from how it had been portrayed in the tabloid press.

ME had been painted as some kind of luxury illness, labelled “yuppie flu”. It seemed a very boring disease and I can’t say I had any interest in it.

I had got the impression ME was kind of a sabbatical illness, an excuse for a few weeks off work to recharge the batteries. So when my mum told me Sophia had ME, I wasn’t that worried.

Sophia, two years my junior, had had meningitis before and malaria twice. What was ME compared to those bad boys? My feisty sister could easily whip this lily-livered ME.

I was living in New York at the time and on transatlantic phone calls with our Irish mum, she would tell me how my sister had had to leave her London life because she was too ill to look after herself. She told me Sophia was getting worse and that nearly everything hurt my sister.


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