The Beauty of Grace
Ainsley Candler, a first-year surgical resident, is charged with assisted suicide and investigated by the medical board after she attends the suicide of her mother, Grace, who has Huntington's Disease, a genetic, neurodegenerative disorder. While fighting for her freedom and carrerAinsley must also face the decision whether to undergo genetic testing to see if she, too, will develop the disease. More
Ainsley Candler, a first-year surgical resident at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, sacrifices family and love to pursue her career. Her twin sister, Lilah Buchanan, a stay-at-home mom, dropped out of college and abandoned a music career to be the quintessential suburban mom. When the twins learn that their mother, Grace Candler, has Huntington’s—an inherited, neurodegenerative disease— they struggle with the decision to undergo genetic testing. As a physician, Ainsley is acutely aware that she and Lilah have a fifty-percent chance of having inherited the gene with its inevitable loss of control over the body and the mind, resulting in dementia and death. They must decide together because, as identical twins, their results will be identical.
Grace remembers her own mother’s slow, humiliating death from Huntington’s and believes her family will be burdened with caring for her and ultimately struggle to remember her. She assures herself that suicide is the only way to protect her family and maintain her dignity. She asks her neurologist for sleeping pills, and then asks Ainsley to take the weekend off from her residency to go to Tybee Island.
When Ainsley’s fingerprints are found on the sleeping pill bottle, the district attorney prosecutes her for assisted suicide, which is a felony in Georgia that carries a five-year sentence. Within days, Ainsley learns that she’s also been suspended from the surgical program at Emory because the Georgia Medical Board has commenced its own investigation of her for physician-assisted suicide.
While Ainsley deals with the legal and ethical ramifications of her mother’s decision, she and Lilah confront their genetic test results, their life choices, and the sacrifices they have made.