Many have read about my Epilepsy. Mostly my epilepsy as a Mommy but also my Epilepsy as a teacher, bits of college, and a few pieces remotely referencing friends. I never talk about my Epilepsy as a wife. (Just hold on because I don’t know where this is going lol) Consequently, I haven’t talked much about my husband’s reaction.
We- Epileptics- often discuss the burden we are on other people, whether it be a minor form of Epilepsy or a more constant presence in one’s life. We know there is medication, there are auras, there are seizures and there are LIMITS. Those limits are sometimes what define us depending on our situation and also the boundaries in our relationships. Fortunately for myself, I don’t have too many boundaries- those I do have are pretty clear and avoiding them prevents a lot of problems for me. But, before you can talk about the relationship between an Epileptic wife and her husband, you have to go back to the beginning- boyfriend, girlfriend stage. That, for me, was actually the most difficult stage; that’s where you have to share what makes you a liiiiittle more “high maintenance” than others. My now husband made it pretty easy on me. On our first date, he looked at me, over dinner, and said “I have to be completely honest.” Such a declarative statement made me a bit nervous- was he some gorgeous serial killer? I had no other ride home… What was I going to do? ;) But he just looked at me, took a deep breath and said I’ve been married and divorced (phew) once before. I was a little shocked because he was so young, but actually more shocked that he was so honest right off the bat. People usually don’t just break that information out when you’re having awesome conversation on a first date. Well, I asked him if he had any children and he said no. I told him I appreciated his honesty and that’s when I realized this pretty face had a pretty sweet heart. He let out a sigh of relief and I had the most incredible date of my life that night. (In fact, when we’d moved on to a jazz club, I went to the bathroom and called my Mom to tell her I’d met my future husband. lol)
Anyways, with Brian, I knew telling him wasn’t going to be as awkward as the guys before him because he’d already made himself vulnerable to me. And that’s the biggest part of Epilepsy, or any disorder/disease, is that you automatically become vulnerable. Although someone may love you, they may not be ready to handle all of you. So before we fell in love, when we were just in lust, I shared my story. I had heard about his past and he needed to hear what might be his present, maybe even future. It took me only a couple of dates to share with him what goes into “all of me.” As he’d done for me, he deserved that honesty. He assured me that it wasn’t a problem for him; I thought this easy acceptance might just be a result of ignorance… but I went with it.
It was a couple months later, I don’t remember where he’d gone, but I was at his house and saw a pile of mail (no, I didn’t go snooping through it lol) with a purple card sticking out and the letters “lepsy” visible in red. I couldn’t help but pull the card and it was addressed to him, from some Epilepsy society- he’d become a member. I shyly asked him about it that night and he said he’d gone home and researched it for hours after our date. He then showed me all the material he’d gathered (I think he knew more than I did by then) and I knew he loved me. I’d had seizures before in front of other boyfriends, even at not so opportune times to be honest, but this one took the time to be prepared. And he did it without announcing it for brownie points… I lucked out.
I guess that’s where “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” comes from, and some of us with our own private (or not so private) struggles are fortunate enough to have someone fulfill that role…