I Haven't Seen My Parents in Six Years

It's complicated... 🤔 [±4min read]

An interesting and absolutely necessary process happens when the human body is under extreme attack, for instance in the third and most dangerous stage of hypothermia.

There is a sacrifice. The body knows that in order to preserve itself and the areas that perform the core functions of keeping itself alive, it has to make a sacrifice, and that sacrifice is other, less important parts of the body.

Excessive shivering which is an early symptom of hypothermia, you know when it's really fucking cold, has ceased and now there is extreme difficulty in trying to speak, thought processes slow, and there are often signs of amnesia, of complete impairment. Walking or using your hands is now almost impossible as your body stops sending blood to those regions. But, your body knows that in order to preserve the areas which truly matter, the main chest cavity (for breathing and pumping bloody) and the brain (for erm... staying conscious), sending blood to those extremities is useless, and so it sacrifices them, it cuts them off. And so cells and tissue of those sacrificed parts start to die and frostbite sets in.

I haven't seen my parents in over six years.

The fact that we are now over six hundred kilometres from them makes no difference, that at one point we were less than ten kilometres from each other, even less. We could've been one kilometre apart and it still would've made zero difference. I chose to cut them off, sacrifice them if you will, and concentrate on what truly mattered. Us.

This might be hard for you to comprehend, it might sound irrational, mean, bitter, stupid, and because my Tracey and I have children, even selfish. Yes, my stepdaughter and sons with Tracey will grow up (for now) without grandparents on my side of the family, and that is something that all of us will have to live with. And yes, there will be repercussions stemming from that choice.

But, that sacrifice, saved our marriage.

In order to preserve what we had, to preserve the critical functioning in our lives, it had to be done.

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. - Rose Kennedy

You know, though, during extreme hypothermia, the body doesn't cut off blood supply to extremities knowing that ultimately a finger, or hand, or whole leg might need to be amputated. It does so because at that very moment it is absolutely necessary and not doing it would mean the whole body would die. And, sometimes amputation is not necessary, with enough time the body repairs itself and you keep all digits and extremities. Great! Sure, there will be scars, and perhaps what is left might not work as well as it used to, but you will be alive!

And the same thing happens when you cut away people from your life. Truly cutting people off - amputating them if you like - is an extreme decision, and with toxic friends, acquaintances and colleagues, life will go on without them. After my divorce, close friends, friends that I had known for a long time, friends who I thought would be my friends forever fell by the wayside. I cut them off. They were a toxic influence in my life so I cut them out of my life and I concentrated on the things that mattered the most. Myself, my wife and my children.

Some people you might never see or think of again, and some might circle back into your life, but with family, there is, of course, a little more to fight for. The question is whether or not it is worth fighting for...

And the answer to that question takes time.

Scars from previous conflicts will remain, a reminder of what was and a lesson that if you want things to be different, you'll actually have to do them differently. And sure, things might not function quite as they used to - it all might just be super-fucking awkward, but with time these things can be overcome, if it's what you want.

Six years is a long time. Six years is what it has taken my mind to protect its sanity, to cover the wounds with scars, and slowly move forward. And even though there has been a huge sacrifice (on both sides) - a huge loss even - and that it is just the beginning where things will not function the same as they used to, I'm thankful, that all is not lost.

You might not be married, you might not have children, your relationship with your family might be great, all might seem just A-OK, yet somewhere you might be letting toxic people or influences rule and potentially ruin your life.

What matters the most to you and what will you do to preserve it? If it doesn't add value to your life are you willing to cut it away? If you have a similar story I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below (you will have to subscribe first if you aren't already).


Header Photo by Ioana Cristiana on Unsplash