Friday, April 18, 2008

Family ties

I have hesitated for awhile now to post this entry, but because it has been on my mind again lately, I have decided that posting it may help others who have experienced a similar situation.

I have mentioned in the past how supportive my family has been over the years. I could not have made it through those rough times without them. For the most part, I feel that they have educated themselves on Epilepsy just by watching me and seeing the things I'm involved in at this time. I do not feel that they are ignorant or blind to what has happened to me or how seizures have or have not affected my life or my day to day routine. However, with that being said, there are things that have happened that make me realize that some of them may have a different perspective when decisions have to be made.

A few months ago, one of my siblings called me. They asked me if I would consider being a "backup guardian" for my godson if something were to happen to them. They were working on their trust or will to ensure that my nephew would be taken care of in the event of some type of emergency or if something were to happen to his parents. Of course I said "yes" without hesitation. Turns out his primary guardians would be relatives from the other parent's side of the family. Again, these choices are not up to me, and I respect his parents wishes. However, with that being said, it was the next part of the conversation that was very disturbing to me.

My sibling stated that "they" felt that I was not "healthy enough" for them to want my godson to be raised by me in the event that something were to happen to them. I felt like someone slugged me when I heard these words. After all of this time and obviously proving that I am healthy enough to take care of myself and my own family I still have someone close to me consider me as "unhealthy".

There are many definitions and many opinions on what people consider as "healthy". When I was struggling with constant seizures the first few years I would say things like "I don't feel well or I don't feel like myself". I sometimes refer to that period of time as when I was "sick", only for lack of a better word that would summarize the roller coaster of seizures and daily life. In general, though, I feel very healthy and am quite active.

Choosing to have my nephew (who is the same age as my child) raised by a couple who is over 10 years older than me feels terrible and demeaning as it is. To be told you are not "healthy enough" or in "poor health" when all you have ever done was strive to be healthy and take care of yourself is another insult.

It's possible that some of what I am feeling is from the rejection of our international adoption pursuit for our second child. To have another country or entity reject you for your health is a very humbling experience. To have your family question your health when they have seen you thrive is an even harder blow.

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