About two years ago my parents sat my brother and I around the kitchen table to give us news that would greatly affect the way I would think, and live my life. My parents tried as calmly as possible to explain that my father had epilepsy. From that moment everything seemed to fall downhill. My dad lost his job because he was unable to drive, we lost our house because we could no longer afford it, and once or twice every few months we would lose our water and I would have to borrow a friend’s shower because hardly any money was coming into the house. About a year after, we found out by another doctor that my dad did not in fact have epilepsy. That brought on a sigh of relief, until I was told it was actually a really bad anxiety disorder. With a switch from epileptic seizures to seizures brought on from his anxiety disorder things did not get any easier.
We have never been a very rich family, we have never been able to just go out and spend whenever we wanted, but with a huge chunk of money missing each month that we used to get with my dad’s job, we are just sinking deeper and deeper into debt. Many say “just get your father another job”, if only it were that easy. There is no chance someone would hire a person who could get stressed at any moment and pass out, we have tried everything. The only money coming into the house comes from my mother who doesn’t make much to begin with. The money goes to the most important bills, some food for the house, and the rest goes to my dad’s medication. All together my dad’s medication is enough to bring us so behind in everything.
One night a few months ago, my father had a really bad seizure, and he passed out on the floor, I was the only one home. I couldn’t just leave him there, so I put him on my back and dragged him to his room, put him on the bed, got him a glass of water, his meds, and I turned off the light and let him sleep. After that, I sat in my room on my bed unable to fully comprehend what was going on. I always new he passed out, but my mom was usually there to help him to his room, but this time it was all up to me to make sure he was ok. For hours I sat there thinking about him, and then I started thinking about how much my life has changed since the day I found something wrong with my dad, my hero. I started thinking about how I take care of my brother more now, and I keep the house clean, I look after the pets, and I take on most of the chores, sometimes all, I assume more responsibility now than I ever have. And on top of all of this, I learned more about myself through my dad. I learned life isn’t always easy, but just having the chance to go out and do normal things like ride roller coasters, take pictures using flash, listen to loud music, and read for long periods of time is a gift, and you don’t want to waste it, cause you never know when that can all be take away from you.
I believe you never know how good you have things until you know someone who cannot enjoy all the things you can.
I believe many people are way better off than I am, but for me to know what I do now about my father and how little he can do, it makes me appreciate everything I have so much more.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.