Before having my son CJ, I spent 12 years on active duty as an officer in the United States Air Force. My father was also an Air Force officer, a fighter pilot, so I grew up as a “military brat”. We traveled a great deal and moved every few years, so at times, it seemed very hard to put down roots and feel a part of anything.
At a very young age, however, I did learn that being in the military meant you were a part of a very special and close knit community. While, at times, it seemed like some families had better assignments than others, we all shared a common bond – no matter what your “assignment”.
Military families share whatever resources they have with other military families. Military families are always there for each other – no matter what the situation. They have unspoken bonds that transcend time and location. They understand each other’s struggles and celebrate each other’s successes. They understand fear and isolation. I have also found that my HH community experience is exactly like what I have just described with the military.
Our “assignments” are not all the same, yet our bonds are exceptionally strong. Our desire to encourage, uplift and support each other is compelling. Community and family are incredibly important to individuals and families touched by HH, for many reasons. First of all, it is healing to share the good as well as the bad, the joys along with the struggles. Second, there is power in numbers. One voice in the dark, advocating for individuals with HH may go unnoticed. Hundreds of voices, united in one message of Hope, are heard in the light! I may not have volunteered to be a part of this HH community on the day my son was born, but I am proud to be a part of a community that has such power to make a difference for each other and for our cause.
I hope in 2013 you will consider becoming an active member of this community. Reach out to another family in some way; share your stories – all of them. Stories of the funny, crazy, goofy things we all are doing to make the most of each day – could just bring a bit of laughter to an otherwise stressed out day for many. Perhaps you can do a small fundraiser, blog about something that has worked for you or your loved one, educate your local Epilepsy Foundation Affiliate about Hope for HH or take a flyer to each of your support providers.
Let’s make 2013 the year we as a community – Reach out, Speak out, and Stand up for HH! We are all the Hope in Hope for HH!