faith of my father

The gin and tonic my friend Kellie had given me as I reclined in a bay window did little to ease my worry over my listless two-year-old boy. Calvin slouched limply in my arms in the late-afternoon heat, the cicadas’ buzz splitting the muggy air. Suddenly, the color drained from his face, and his mouth twisted into a grimace, as if he’d eaten something rotten. As the seizure took hold of his brain, his body stiffened into a plank, and his glassy blue eyes rolled back into his head.

“Here it comes!” I called, and Kellie and my husband, Michael, came running.

Guests who had come inside quickly ushered their kids back out. “Daddy, what’s the matter?” I heard one of them ask from the other side of the screen door. I have no idea what the father told his child or if he even knew what was happening.

“Call 911!” I said. Calvin began convulsing, his eyes fluttering, his lips smacking with each new spasm. We turned him on his side and pulled down his diaper. I grabbed the vial of rectal Valium from the pouch in his stroller, cracked off the cap, and carefully inserted its tip into my child’s anus. One, two, three, I silently counted, as I depressed the syringe, injecting enough benzodiazepine to knock a full-grown man out cold ...

—Excerpt from Faith of My Father, which will appear in the August issue of The Sun magazine. To read the entire piece when it comes out, you can subscribe here.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. We subscribe to that interesting magazine! We will watch for your full article.
    I hope you can feel our arms around you from all these miles away...

  2. Woo Hoo! Congratulations, Christy Shake!

  3. Congratulations, Christy! Your writing and your devotion to Calvin and epilepsy advocacy deserves to be recognized. So thrilled for you!

  4. Reading the full article, I was astounded. Over the years I read The Sun as my son's epilepsy progressed and have never found anything about raising a child with epilepsy. it was wonderfully written. thank you!

  5. I came to your blog via your piece in The Sun. My days and years abound with words, but few have struck me as potently as your clear-eyed, strong-hearted writing. Your honesty gives solace.

    1. thank you so very much for your kind words. i think you tried to post before, but somehow it ended up in cyberspace. xo