Grieving the loss of a loved one is a long, difficult, and completely personal journey. It’s something we will all face, but everyone processes grief in their own way and on their own time. There is no right way, no instruction manual, or timetable to navigate and cope with loss. When the cause of that loss is SUDEP, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, there may be added layers to the grieving process. Many epilepsy patients and their families are not made aware of SUDEP. As a result, those who lose a loved one to SUDEP often find themselves grasping for answers to questions of how and why this happened, or experiencing feelings of anger, guilt, or regret.
In August of 2020, Geoff Applegate lost his fiancé Zsatara to SUDEP just weeks before the couple was to be married. Geoff had never heard of SUDEP and is unsure if Zsatara had ever been made aware of the risk of SUDEP. Left alone with the couple’s young son, Geoff has found himself coping with his own grief while also helping his son understand and deal with the sudden absence of his mother. Geoff shares his ongoing journey through the grieving process including what he has personally found helpful, what he’s learned about helping his son cope with the loss, and how he keeps Zsatara’s memory alive by raising awareness about SUDEP.
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