As I sit here wondering what to write my heart aches for so many this year all across the world…. The heartache, pain, and loss can be so overwhelming to comprehend. Every year we think this will be the year to change or bring greatness into our lives. As I reflect back on 2020 for My Epilepsy Story (MES) is has been a hard year for us as well. I think of the phones calls and support groups of listening to women trying to navigate epilepsy during a pandemic. I think of the African American women sharing of how they have experienced and feared racial injustice over the years. I think of the political turmoil that our country has endured this election cycle on all sides. There are no words that will wipe away the pain of 2020.
For our family, we have tried to focus on the things that we have instead of the things we have lost. In times like this we felt we needed to focus on hope in the midst of despair. We were able to focus on our family more since our schedules allowed us to be home together 24/7. We are fortunate that our family is close and that we love spending time together otherwise this would have been really hard. Our children spent time reading and watching as the world seem to fall apart yet they each focused on how to help others during this difficult time. Our daughter, Hannah-Kate, created a pledge to have candidates running for public office to be more civil. As we watched her mask-up and meet with public officials across the country running for office it was a bit of fresh air during the nightmare occurring around the world. My husband said it brought tears to his eyes to see what she will do as she grows older. Our children and the children around us look to see what the adults are doing and saying in the midst of a crisis to see how they should respond. We all can take this time of crisis and lead by example to see what it is we can do to help make positive change. Seeing our 13 year old daughter fight for change even when adults told her it wouldn’t change was refreshing. She knew that it only takes one voice to lead the charge for change and it might be slow at first but things will change.
This world is going round and round and at times feels like it will not stop spinning so fast. For me, my world stop spinning when I got COVID-19 in November. I was very careful about wearing a mask but I was around some people that refused to wear masks and I contracted COVID. It was a rough 8 weeks for us as we navigated this but thankfully I am healthy now. I remember laying in bed worrying about my husband and children. I remember thinking of all times to get sick November is the worst month since it is Epilepsy Awareness Month. I remember thanking God that I was not in the hospital like so many others across the world. My husband was worried about me and watching him look so helpless made me worry more about him. For our family, the COVID crisis has brought us closer together. It has made us realize that we are making the right choices in how we are raising our children and the people that we choose to surround ourselves with. We have always said we are best friends but this was even more true during this time. We soaked up every moment we could and realized that those moments were still not enough. I know for many people that this time has been a struggle financially, physically and emotionally. I would encourage you to look at the things you do have right now. During this difficult time we can choose to focus on the negative or loss and honestly that is something that surrounds us all daily. We live in Nashville, TN and on Christmas Day there was a bombing in our city. We decided to focus on the fact that the first responders cleared the area and saved countless lives rather than the bombing on Christmas Day. 2020 has been a year to remember and to forget… I am choosing to remember the good and the people that created positive change this year.
As we close out 2020, focus on something positive even if it is a small thing. For MES, we are focusing on the connections of women during this pandemic, the new Dr. Sandra Helmers Memorial Scholarship that we started and the partnership with The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center for 2021!
Here’s to a great 2021!