It’s Hard To Come Home

After three weeks of traveling, we headed back to Philadelphia. My son laid with his blankets against the window and we watched Colorado disappear in to the distance. The cars and the people were the first to fade, including the friends and family that we left two years ago when we moved east. The roads and the buildings were next to go as we climbed higher. Finally, the mountains were gone beyond the horizon as we straddled the line between the life that we had and the one we are trying to build in our new home.

epilepsy dad going home

It was good to be in Colorado. It was good for my son to be there, surrounded by people who love him. Surrounded by some of the only friends he has. Even though we’ve lived in Philadelphia for two years, for most of that time, he was sick and wasn’t able to make many strong bonds. Colorado, for him, still represents his universe, where everything is except for us. Philadelphia has only a smattering of significance, with a few friends but where most of his connections have come through the hospital or his condition.

It was good for me to be in Colorado, too. It was good to see my family happy. It was good for me to be able to talk face-to-face with friends that knows us from before and after the move and from before and after the seizures came. I move around a lot, and I don’t tend to keep people in my life that span the transition. It’s hard for me to maintain the connection, even though technology has in many ways made it easier. So those connections usually fade, just like the landscape passing by the airplane window.

But leaving Colorado was different. Those connections that we made there were stronger than I have ever had before. The life that we had there carries more weight than the life here that we have still yet to build. In many ways, Colorado still feels like home, but I force myself to respond with “Philadelphia” when I’m asked where home is, as if I’m trying to train my brain to actually believe it.

That makes it hard to come back. To leave a place where my son wore a constant smile. Where the faces of the people who looked at my son were those that love him and accept him and that weren’t only doctors or nurses or therapists. Where we were graced by a few seizure-free days. Where, when we lived there, anything was still possible.

I looked out the window from 35,000 feet. The landscape was a wash of browns and blues and greens. There wasn’t anything to identify where we were, and I felt the pull from both the east and the west. Between the future and the past. Between possibility and acceptance. These two places that were my homes…that are my homes…that mean completely different things.

As the plane hung in the air between those two places, I thought how hard it was to come home.

Especially when you don’t really know where home is.


EFEPA Walk for Epilepsy – Thank You

This week, I wanted to simply thank everyone that supported our team for the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania’s Walk for Epilepsy. Not only did we receive donations from our loving family and friends, we received contributions from people who have never met my son and only heard stories about our journey. We also had a larger team participating in the walk this year, with our friends joining us in supporting the cause.

epilepsy dad efepa walk for epilepsy
Team “Epilepsy Dad” – EFEPA Walk for Epilepsy

I am truly humbled by the show of support that my son has received and to, in turn, be able to support an organization that has welcomed us and provided us with guidance and encouragement.

If you would like more information about epilepsy or would like to learn how you can help, visit the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania’s website at

Inside The Circle

To the outside world, we look like an average urban family. I’m the aging dad, high (I’m still not calling it “receding”) hairline, close-cropped hair wearing city-chic because my wife dresses me. My wife, beautiful, hip with her too-cool-for-school (I realize no one says that anymore) sunglasses strutting down the sidewalk. And my son, wearing a Captain America helmet and catching air off the uneven sidewalk on his scooter.

We stop at our local market to pick up ingredients for dinner, because that is how normal, city-people shop. The shop keeper greet us with a friendly, welcoming smile and we exchange pleasantries that show that we’re local and are recognized as such. We stroll through the park to play catch and we see Jafar, the musician, and Mike, the juggler, whose names we know because we are locals. We pass them with a wave and they smile back with a hint of recognition.

There are two groups of people in our lives, those that are outside the circle and those that are inside the circle. Most of the world exists outside the circle, and they do not see the impact that epilepsy has on our lives or the complexities that we struggle with every day. When we buy those groceries, the shop keeper doesn’t know that the ingredients are only for my wife and I because my has epilepsy and is on a special diet. The other park goers don’t know that we are there only for a short time or for the first time in days because my son has enough energy to play that day.

For someone who writes a blog about being the father of a child with epilepsy, it may seem strange that I struggle with who to let inside the circle. As public as this blog is, it is still difficult to talk about what is happening with the people in our lives. How can I explain the heartache of helplessly watching my son have a seizure at the breakfast table? How do talk about why he keeps missing school? Or why he can’t do certain things or why we have to decline birthday parties and events that happen in the afternoon because he needs a nap?

Those outside the circle can never truly know us or our son because my son’s epilepsy is such a big part of our every day. Maybe I am worried about people judging him or judging us. I don’t understand how or why this is happening, maybe I’m so worried that they won’t understand that can’t let them in. It’s hard to overcome those fears, and to be open to sharing that piece of ourselves. It’s hard to trust other people, to be vulnerable, and to take that risk.

I am finding, though, that the more willing I am to take that risk and to share a glimpse of that part of who we are, the bigger that our inner circle becomes. His teeball team ask about him at every game that he misses.  People at my office, friends and acquaintances that have met my son and seen him struggle react with kindness. They ask about him and pass along their well wishes. They donate when the call goes out for a charity event. This terrible condition that burdens my son and weighs heaving on our family has also revealed the gifts that come from having more people inside the circle that care.