What's her secret?: 'It's OK. Life is good. And I love you.'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJanuary 2, 2013 

Gay Propst sits with her son, Zachary Serra in the living room of her home in Bluffton.


  • Rest assured, the moms featured in this column are not bragging about themselves. They often have no idea they are even being selected for the weekly feature until they get a phone call. Most are recommended by readers. Please send your suggestions of Lowcountry moms to features writer Amy Bredeson at abredeson@islandpacket.com.

Name: Gay Propst

Town: Bluffton

Children: Zachary, 22

Occupation: Office manager for Hilton Head Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Center

Most challenging moment: There have been many challenging moments over the years for Propst, who is a single mother to a globally developmentally delayed son. She knew something was wrong when Zachary was a baby because he wasn't eating, crawling or walking when he was supposed to. He started having seizures at age 3 and was diagnosed with a rare, debilitating disorder called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. With medication, he now has anywhere between two and 12 seizures a day. He has hurt himself many times during seizures, knocking out teeth and requiring stitches. But the most challenging moments for Propst are when Zachary has seizures at nighttime. "There's really nothing I can do but just sit with him and make him feel secure and safe. At that moment that's when I know God is with us. It's like 2 o'clock in the morning, and it's just Zach and I and God just going through it. But he continues to give us strength to get up the next day and go on."

Favorite mommy moment: Zachary is nonverbal, and his mother doesn't know how much he understands. But her favorite moments are when they make a heartfelt connection. "He has those moments where he is just so cued in, and he will look at me just with complete eye contact. And he wants me to look at him. I mean, just like really wants to draw me in, and he just gives me this little half smile, you know with this gleam in his eye, like he's saying, 'It's OK. Life is good. And I love you.'"

Biggest pet peeve: When people speak to her but don't say anything to Zachary

Go-to dinner: Any kind of pasta

Stress reliever: Listening to Christian music and going for walks with Zachary

Words of wisdom: "The thing that I always want people to know is God is near. He's there (sobs). I think a lot of times parents feel alone, and they don't have to feel alone. All they have to do is just realize that God is right there. There is a passage in the Bible where the disciples saw a blind man, and they asked Jesus, 'Why was this man born blind? Did he sin, or did his parents sin to cause this to happen?' And Jesus said, 'No, this happened so that people could see God's work through his life.' I really believe that."


What's her secret?: Don't sweat the small stuff

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke on Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

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