Author Archives: Lauryn Smith

Reflections on the Joys of Parenting an FA Teen

It’s been a while since I have had the courage to write a column. I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but the vulnerability of sharing about parenting a child with FA wipes me out emotionally, and I tend to be down for a few days afterward. Writing about it…

I’ve Gone Through the Five Stages of Grief as an FA Parent

According to authors Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, people go through five stages of grief after losing a loved one or experiencing a catastrophic life event. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. When our daughter was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), I began a grieving…

FA Makes The Teenage Years Heartbreakingly Difficult

Junior high school was one of the hardest times of my life. Now that my children are at a similar life stage, I recognize that they are struggling, too. When you add Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) to the equation, the teenage years seem downright unbearable. Having a physical disability makes…

We’re Learning to Adjust to Our New Normal

Our family has the good fortune to spend summers at a beautiful lake in central Alabama. For the past nine years, my in-laws have had a summer home and they’ve graciously invited the entire family to gather there each weekend. Since the lake is less than an hour from home,…

Welcome to a ‘Candy Shell Life’

“I can tell that you are really strong and that you can take it,” she said. “So I’m going to tell you like it is.” This is the first thing a Friedreich’s ataxia parent said to me when we first met. She had lost her son to FA a…