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Epilepsy Blog Relay: Dad’s turn for thanks on Father’s Day

This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from June 1 to June 30, 2018.  Follow along!

Thanks to Dad

Last month I wrote about how instrumental my mom has been to my success with epilepsy. This time, it’s Dad’s turn!

My dad is one of the kindest people you can ever meet. He has given his time to teach Sunday school and build houses with Habitat for Humanity. He does more listening than talking and speaks with intent. He is super knowledgeable and will always help others. He has always made sure that our family is provided for and sets us all up for success.

He taught me how to ski and throw a ball, how to ride a bike and passed on a love for roller coasters. I was the kid with no fear who would try just about anything once. Epilepsy leads us into the unknown, though. I have to imagine that my diagnosis was difficult for him. My diagnosis and subsequent medications threw a wrench into my development. The activities I once excelled at now were a challenge and the person I was developing in to was changed. I lost many things; among those was confidence.

True dedication

We always joke about how bad I was at softball–.000 batting average bad. I remember feeling low while going into the dugout game after game with absolutely no contact with the ball. Softball life improved when Dad became my coach. I still didn’t play tremendously but I remember liking it more. I don’t know how I appeared at that point, but it was nice having someone who loved me in the dugout to make it easier to fail.

I took dance class for years. I recall the times when Dad took me very clearly. I think I just really enjoyed spending that time with him. I’m really thankful for those times. Dad’s work day could be pretty long and probably stressful. Sometimes he would fall asleep while waiting for me to finish. (Sorry if you didn’t want the world to know.) It confused me a little bit at the time but over the years it shows me how dedicated my dad was…and how tiring a long day of work is!


Still in my corner

As an adult, he still encourages me. He’ll send me encouraging emails, some with words to carry me through the day, some that contain dad jokes–we all know those quality quips. I’ve saved every one. When meds are really throwing me for a loop or I think about how different life might be if epilepsy wasn’t part of it, I read them through to help me through those times. Sometimes he sends me emails during those struggles without even knowing how much I need one.

Unconditional love

I can’t name all of the activities Dad and I did together. I could name many but I’m sure I’d miss some. That’s how Dad carried me through epilepsy problems. He helped distract me from the frustrations I felt (and maybe even his own). I think it’s a dad’s job to love and encourage their child unconditionally. I imagine that’s harder to do at some points. I don’t know how difficult it was to navigate all the changes from seizures and medications. I’m forever thankful that he found a way and gave me the confidence that has lasted into adulthood.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.


Follow Leila Shields:
Leila shares stories on stigma and epilepsy based on her experiences and what she hears from others. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy at age 8 and is based in Pennsylvania.

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