Monday, June 7, 2010

Twenty Years of Freedom

Memorial Day was a day to celebrate freedom. As part of the family festivities, we also celebrated a significant milestone for my dad.

During my growing up years, my dad suffered from epileptic seizures. They were normal to me, as I had never known anything different. We would suddenly notice that he was staring off into space, and knew that he would be back with us in a few minutes.

Benign absence seizures never seemed like a big deal, like something that could affect the direction of an entire family. But there are times to be absent, and then there are times one needs to count on being in control. One day in 1983 he experienced a seizure while driving, just as he approached a four-way stop.

He rolled through the intersection and planted the car in a tree, in a front yard where two children had been playing a few minutes previous.

That accident, while not life threatening, was sobering enough to cause him to stop driving. The next seven years were hard on the entire family as we adjusted to Dad getting rides everywhere he went. I think this loss of freedom took a lot of the spirit out of him.

My mom shouldered the burden of chauffeuring the family everywhere anyone had to go, in addition to working a full time job and going to school for a graduate degree. She tried to prepare herself for the possibility that she might eventually be the primary wage earner for the family.

Through it all they still managed to send us to a private Christian school, a sacrifice that I am still learning to appreciate to greater and greater degrees.

We walked through those years together as a family. I think they did a good job of shielding my brother and I from a lot of the stress they were experiencing, because not until years later did I begin to understand the pressures surrounding that time.

After five years of this, my dad lost his job and we moved to a different city so he could get a job accessible by bus. During that time he found out about a new procedure available, that could possibly remove the part of his brain causing the seizures. Six months of testing, and he was scheduled for brain surgery.

June 1, 1990 was a watershed day in the history of our family. Although recovery took months, the surgery was a success and every day after that was a step in the direction of normal.

It's hard to believe twenty years have passed since the day that changed all our lives. In some ways that time still seems fresh in my mind. My dad has been seizure free that entire time. For the last three years, he has even been medication free. And all of us have been free from the worry, the tension, the weight of the stress we carried through the '80's.

So cheers, Dad. Congratulations on twenty years of freedom. You have certainly earned it.


  1. freedom is a beautiful thing. i'm so glad you have this to celebrate

  2. EXCEPTIONALLY EXPRESSED KRISTA. I remember the change in location and I remember the return. Your dad not only returned to your North Canton home...there was also a rebirth of the heart of love and gift of service God birthed him with. Very special.

  3. How beautiful Krista! What an amazing gift from God.


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