Like any parent, I would sacrifice anything for the well being of my child. When you are the single parent of a child with special needs, you learn a whole new definition of the word. To sacrifice is simply to give up something. What each of us as parents of a special needs child sacrifices is different. We do whatever it takes to make them safe, happy and loved.

Dawn has always been fairly independent. She dressed, showered and could manage most of her own hygienic rituals, that is, with a lot of reminders to brush her teeth. She could cook a vast amount of her own meals. She went to school. She liked bowling, horseback riding and shooting hoops. She was a bright happy young lady with a quiet and caring personality. And, she had a wit far beyond her developmental age of 8. Then she fell.

I had no idea the ramifications the fall from her horse would eventually have on her. She began to feel dizzy. Not the “world is spinning kind” it was the “my head is spinning” or “I’m bouncing” kind. The kind of spinning and bouncing nothing could stop. Each time she experienced the spin the fear of falling was reinforced. We’ve spent the last year and a half seeing one specialist after another she’s even undergone an ear surgery in an attempt to stop the spinning. No medication, no amount of TLC or medical procedures has eradicated the spin from my daughter’s head. Through all of this our lives were drastically altered.

My baby girl shut down, she was depressed and bedridden. Subsequently, my life had been altered as well. I took her to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. There we got a diagnosis of a head injury along with the ear injury she had surgery to repair. This meant a barrage of therapies to retrain her brain to listen to her ears and repair that communication so she could feel safe again. The rehabilitation process has begun at Harris Hospital through Brain Injury Transitional Services (BITS).

Sacrifice has many meanings, it’s giving up the façade that you can do it all by yourself. It’s admitting you don’t have all the answers or have it all under control and learning to ask for help. It’s facing your fears with a centered faith that you and your child will survive this time in your lives because nothing lasts forever, not even the bad. It’s waking up every day knowing that you are alive and able to fight back because you are grateful for every little blessing you receive.

Lots of parents have far worse situations than I do. But, when I share is when I am at my strongest, that is called being vulnerable.

Sacrifice is more than just giving up something. Sometimes it means giving up dating or eating out but sometimes it means giving up the denial, and still other times it’s giving up your old life for a shiny brand new one.