It was a major reality check coming to grips with the fact that our son had serious medical concerns that required medication and ongoing medical visits. As any parent would say their first impulse or reaction when it comes to their child is providing for their safety and protection. Knowing that Matthew had a seizure disorder changed things because now we felt that providing for our son’s safety was now compromised as we had no control over the situation but were trying to intervene with the use of medication. My wife had been filled with such anxiety over our son’s safety that she could not let him sleep in his room alone. She felt it was a necessity that he sleep in our room under close watch just in case he would have another seizure. I also felt this was our only choice as we needed to make sure he was safe in the event he did have a seizure and because we would never forgive ourselves if he was alone and there was no one there to come to his aid. The experience Maria’s mom went through was difficult enough. We did not want to have to go through that again. In researching seizures I learned that there are many different types of seizures and varying degrees of the disorder similar to autism. I was deeply moved after reading some of the experiences of others living with children who suffer from more severe disorders. I could not help but cry when I read about a family that had a young baby who apparently suffered from the disorder shortly after birth and literally had multiple seizures all day and night. It was so sad seeing what that poor baby and the parents had to go through. All I could do was to say a prayer for them. You always ask sometimes “Why me?” then realize there are others who have struggles more profound than you.
In researching and looking to find support groups it was our way of trying our best to cope with the situation and hopefully gleam some hope so we can learn how to provide the needed support and proper parenting for a special needs child. As a parent you are learning every day and generally there is a 2 way line of communication between the parents and the child. However with an autistic child that 2 way line for all intents and purposes is non existent. So we were dealing with seizures and autism at the same time and seeking proper medical care and a support system.
At times when I felt overwhelmed I would turn to my dad and seek his advice but sometimes I felt I should not burden him. I always looked up to him and was always grateful knowing that he was only a phone call or a short visit away. In the recent months since his tragic passing I have come to realize how much of a pillar of strength he was and how much of an influence he was in our lives. Sometimes you don’t get to fully appreciate what you have until you lose it. With my dad I knew we were truly fortunate to have him in our lives and I really feel the impact of his loss.
In learning what my dad endured in his life and having faced such adversity and struggles of his own I felt that I could learn to be strong and deal with Matthew’s medical issues and rally for him like my dad did in his way for his family. We approach things differently but seek the same result. I learned a lot in acquiring the necessary coping skills from my dad and am very thankful for his guidance and his love and support. I will always have the picture of him in my mind sitting in our living room watching tv and talking with Matthew. He was one of Matthew’s biggest supporters and he was “Pop”!