Tears fall as I’m typing this. I remember when my mother lived so many years praying that this weekend was better than the previous one. My family had gotten used to spending their nights at the hospital.

My story might not be similar to anyone else’s. I have had seizures since the age of two. I called it my ‘best friend’ because it was closer to me than anything or anyone else. I also called it my ‘night friend visitor’ because it visited me every second or third night of the week. My night friend visitor did not only take away my beautiful nights, but also affected the whole of my primary school studies.

For seven years of my primary school days, my life was not a normal child’s life. Mom knew I would be sick in September to the extent that we had to go to Eastern Cape as my grandmother believed she could heal me. But as we know, a traditional doctor is unable heal a family. A mother in pain did what she thought was best. I got so sick to a point where the prayer went from, “Save her father God” to “You can take her dear Lord, that seems better than watching her suffer like this.” I am thankful for all those prayers. God was working at our weakest moments.

I still cannot imagine the torture my twin went through. As young as we were, he had to watch me every night fighting for survival. Man, my siblings had to be the strongest!

The doctors did all they could to help; I became the doctor’s baby. My matter was an emergency to the extent that I no longer stood on lines like other patients. I still remember how hard it was for my siblings to wait outside because only one person was allowed to accompany my mother.

I am still guilty of stealing all my mother’s care from my siblings. I remember this one night, my mom had to walk to a traditional healer at 3am after I had three rounds of seizures. My siblings were left all alone; it became a norm for them. God walked with us on such nights. I will never forget my twin’s look the morning that followed my seizures. I think the hardest thing for my siblings was watching me go from being happy during the day to dying at night.

My mother would beg me before bed to give them a peaceful night and I promised them I would. But knocking on death’s doors became a normal night for me. Sometimes I’d collapse at school but feel no pain, and wake up in the principal’s office with my mother and teachers next to me. Nothing was more painful than seeing the shame on other learners’ faces when they saw me the day that followed.

Ask me about taking treatment and being told two years later to stop using it because it was not helping. The doctors said it was not normal for someone to take that treatment then still get sick. They told us that there was a risk of me getting brain damage because I was getting more seizures than normal.

However, God made a way for me. After a few brain scans, the results proved that I was fine. I say to myself that those pills were from God and he knew why the doctors mistakenly gave me the wrong pills. My God knows why, how and when. I am still amazed at how God used my pain as an opportunity to put a rural secondary school on the map. Many could’ve been chosen. Many deserved to be chosen.

My health forced me to relocate to the Eastern Cape and I helped the school that welcomed me to represent the province in a boarding school competition in Cathcart. I was the top achiever in class and I represented the school so well. Our school got the opportunity to have their classes rebuilt and we also got new study equipment. A little girl from Albertina Sisulu JSS from Xolobe, a very small disadvantaged area, competed with seven other learners and still won. I still believe that it wasn’t because of my good marks that I won but God was proving a point.

God makes a way where tears have fallen, and where hearts have been broken.

God is always with us. He sees every situation we’re in and is with us in them all but I still wonder what His lesson was all those years. It could have taken mom’s prayers, her struggle and tears for Him to free us but the illness continued. Until I knelt down and prayed to Him. I guess it was my way to see how much of a miracle worker he was.

I had to be sick for all those years so that I could be free for all the years that followed after my illness. We had to go there so we could get to this point. All the changing of schools had to happen then, so that I’ll be in one place today. I still don’t know how I’d repay my mother for all those sleepless nights and tears seeking for help in the middle of the night. I don’t know how to repay my sister and brothers for being so strong, and my aunt who was just a call away. I wish I could make it up for all those nights but my God will make it all for me.

Everything happens for a reason; it might take you more than nine years to be free, but you will be eventually. Remember: The Lord knows why, when and how.
This day marks nine years of being set free from pains and torture. If someone had told me nine years ago that I’d be anywhere close to the level of freeness I am in today, I would have told them that God is not that much of a miracle worker. Nine years of waking up on a weekend like a normal person. Nine years of wiped tears. Nine years of being free. Nine years of finishing an academic year in one place.

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Tell us: What’s that one lesson that you got from this essay?