AmberBrazdaWedding

From left to right: Bonnie Smith (mom) Amber Brazda (author), Michael Brazda, and Kevin Smith (dad).

My father, Kevin Smith, had epilepsy since he was a child. Apparently he had fallen down a few flights of stairs as a small boy and had developed seizures from the fall. He had been put on many medications, but nothing he took completely controlled his condition.

He passed away January 31, 2014 . He was only 56 years old.

Back when he was a child and young adult, there was a stigma about epilepsy. It wasn’t something that was discussed and most people thought that if you had seizures, you were possessed by something or were mad as a hatter. I myself hadn't seen my dad have a seizure until I was about 12 years old, and it scared the heck out of me. After I witnessed the incident, epilepsy was explained to me. Soon after, my dad had to stop working because of his condition.

Kevin Smith

I had no idea about SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) until after his passing. He had two seizures during his sleep. My mother, who was used to dealing with my dad's seizures, rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning she woke up and he didn't. She feels guilty to this day because she feels she should have checked on him. We just didn't know that this could have happened.

Please, if you're living with someone with this condition or if you have it yourself, discuss it with your family. It could save lives. I can't get my father back, but I don’t want to see another person lose their loved one to SUDEP.

Thanks,

Amber Brazda