Yesterday was Epilepsy Awareness Day. For this day people around the world wore purple to help promote an awareness regarding this neurological disorder. I understand very little of epilepsy, but I wore purple, took a picture, and posted it on social media to support my friends. As others asked me about my purple it gave me opportunities to share, and I found myself thinking about my friends and others who face the challenges surrounding epilepsy. The more I thought about it the more I thought about the other parents – there are so many parents raising children who have conditions that make their journey more challenging. I do not know what it is like to struggle with epilepsy, but I do know what it is like to worry about your child, their health, and the struggles they face.
Finding Strength in Support
As parents we want to keep our children safe, it is so difficult to not be able to protect your child from all things. And yet, we simply cannot change those facts. Parents are not equipped to cope with so much that affects their children, we build systems and do the best we can, but we didn’t start out like that. Never did a parent wake up and think “I know about epilepsy; I can handle it if my child has this disorder.” You can apply the same to so very many issues like diabetes, loss of limbs, loss of sight, autism, cancer, heart conditions and to other life events. No parent wants to have to face mental health issues, traumas, sexual assault, drug addiction and so many other life changing circumstances. We, parents, find ourselves often ill equipped to cope with the things we encounter. Yet, our children need for us to be prepared to take on the things they face, so we learn. We read, we talk, we listen, we pray, and we do whatever it takes to help our child. We often find surrounding ourselves with others who are on similar journeys helps us on ours. It would seem there is strength in numbers, but I think it is more of a “you are not alone” strength drawn from others.
Learning and Growing
This Epilepsy Awareness date and the thoughtfulness I had in response to it reminded me of the things in my own life that I had to learn to help my children. Things I was unprepared for yet felt the need to conquer to the best of my ability. Parents, I salute you. There is nothing easy about parenting and for those of you with children with special healthcare needs – it is even more challenging. I realized that epilepsy is something I know very little about. Epilepsy Awareness Day was good for me, it created in me an awareness for parents of children with special health care needs, but also for more knowledge regarding epilepsy.
Journeying on Together
As we all journey on in parenting, let us support and encourage each other. On a perfect day this can still be a challenge, but many days are less than perfect. If you happen to be a part of my personal support system–thank you from the bottom of my heart. My path is better because of you. If you don’t feel you have a support system find one. It helps, it really does. Whatever you and your child have faced or are facing you are not alone. There are others that have walked the roads you are on. Use the internet, use your doctor, use your church, use your neighbors–but ask around and find people on your journey, there is strength in comfort. Thank you to my friends that shared their epilepsy journey–I know more because of you.
Be blessed my friends, thank you for spending this time with me.