Finding Peace When My World Is Upside-down

Meagan Cheney avatar

by Meagan Cheney |

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Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. An entire day dedicated to food? That’s right up my alley.

Usually, we stay home in Colorado to cook and relax as a nuclear family, and our day is sprinkled with phone calls from family in Texas to wish us well and remind us we’re loved. I’ve always found it less stressful that way.

This year, the kids and I chose to make the 12-hour drive to Texas, with my mom and all five of my animals in tow. And it’s turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Over the last few weeks, things have changed for my kids and me. After trying our hardest to make our marriage work, my husband and I decided to split up at the end of October. We each had our own reasons for the split.

My mom flew up to Colorado when she heard the news, and spent almost a month helping me catch my bearings as a newly single mom. I didn’t plan to go to Texas for Thanksgiving until the very last minute. I knew it would be difficult to face all of my family members and talk about what is going on.

I decided to go because I knew my kids needed a break. Austen, my 6-year-old with Dravet syndrome, has had an especially tough time. She is a daddy’s girl, and constantly wants to be with him. Because of her autism, she thrives on routine, so not having him home each night has been really hard for her to cope with.

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I thought a trip to Texas might take our minds off the situation.

Thankfully, all my family showed me was love. They did not hound or pry. They watched the kids while I took walks, met up with old friends, and tried to figure out what my next step would be moving forward.

Austen had the time of her life with her aunts, uncles, and cousins. And even cold weather at the beginning of our trip didn’t stop her from hanging out on the farm and meeting the sow’s new piglets. Not a single seizure made its way into our vacation.

Atlas, my 8-year-old, spent most of his time out on the tire swing and playing with the dogs. I barely saw my 13-year-old, Addi, the entire time we were there. She was always at one cousin’s house or the other. It was a much-deserved break that she really enjoyed.

Now we are back home in Colorado, and life is still anything but normal. In just a few weeks, we will load up the car again to go to Texas, this time for good. A new home, a new school, and hopefully a new job for me are in our future. Everything will change, which may be extra challenging given Austen’s Dravet syndrome.

But I know we will be surrounded by love and support in this new chapter, and will all come out better for it.


Note: Dravet Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Dravet Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Dravet syndrome.


Katherine Smith avatar

Katherine Smith

You are one strong woman and I wish you all the best on this next journey. I pray for Austen and all others with this horrible disease
God Bless you and your family


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