When Bella was around three years old, I took her shopping at a local craft store to buy supplies for one of her older sister’s school projects. We had been adjusting medications, but her seizures were mostly controlled. Life goes on, and I had things I needed to do.
We spent half an hour in the store, quickly choosing the items needed. All of her sisters were in school. We only had a certain amount of time before starting our afternoon ritual of driving to the schools for our usual pick up routine.
As we approached the cash register, Bella dropped to the ground. My right arm was filled with the few items I was about to purchase (I didn’t get a shopping cart as I knew I was not buying much). I bent down, spoke with Bella calmly. As her seizure ended and she slipped in to her postictal state, I scooped her up with my left arm. She laid her head on my shoulder, quickly falling into a deep sleep, and I went to the register to pay.
The cashier looked at me in awe, and she sweetly said, “You handled that so well.” I did not have time for tears. I did not have time to “feel” this moment. I breathed in a deep breath, and held my chin high. I had other things I needed to tend to. I knew this woman meant well. I wanted to tell her “thank you.” I may have even let those words pass through my lips. However, I wanted to say or scream, “How else would I, could I possibly ‘handle’ this?! I have no choice! She is my daughter, and I do everything I can to make her life easy!!! I want to take this away. I want to make this stop! If I panic, if I cry, if I do not pick her up and keep moving forward, what good will that do?!”
I fully realize that the words of this cashier were meant as a compliment. In my life, though, I have never stopped to think about how I should handle this obstacle in our life. Epilepsy is in our home. It sometimes sits in the back corner, and sometimes it shows up in public. If I could, I would make it leave us. But because that is out of my control, the only choice I have is to remain calm, and to pick up the pieces as we go along. I “handle” it the best way I can, with my heart leading the way.