tsunamis and tears

I see it coming for days. The inappropriate laughter. The poor balance. The extreme hyperactivity. The hair pulling, teeth grinding and head bonking. Three days before it arrives, in large caps I write my suspicions in the journal.

I feel his heart like a little fist pounding in his chest so hard it’s as if it’s strapped on the outside. I make a mental note (one of many). One moment his hands are icy cold, the next, hot and dry. I scoop him into his high chair and buckle him in ... then I see the fiend approaching like a monstrous tsunami just offshore—the calm before the storm.

His gaze drifts upward and to the right as if pulled by some impossible gravity, his mouth agape in an expression I can only describe as fear or dread. As the words, “here it comes,” spill over my lips it’s as if I’ve cast a spell on my boy, and he launches into the seizure. We go to the green couch, always the green couch with the tan pillow—the seizure couch—its pile of clean laundry swept onto the floor to clear a space for my boy. He is stiff and arched and pale and dusky and for a brief, stolen moment he desperately reaches for me as if to say, Mama, make it stop, but I cannot.

I lovingly coach my boy through the abyss, uncertain if he can hear me under the weight of the surf. Eventually, the color bleeds back into his face and he’s able to chirp, “Uh-uh”—Mama. When I cradle his head in my palm to receive his seizure meds I spot something I’ve never before seen: a tear. “We all have tears,” Michael says to me later. And I know that I have not shed my last one.


  1. I'm sorry to hear that Calvin is having more seizures again :( My mom used to say that the most heartbreaking part of my childhood was when I'd seize and, with hands clenched and a cerebral look into nothingness say, "Mom. Stop, stop, stop, stop." I don't remember saying that, but I believe her.

  2. That tear, that sadness, that awareness. This is heart-breaking. Danielle

  3. It's weird to me to read your words and be a sort of witness, not just to your experience and Calvin's, but to mine and Sophie's.

  4. Just like Bethany. I've felt those feelings of helplessness and despair. Hoping and praying that the seizures stop.