A dear friend, recently text me “I love your book. But how can you talk about people being God…and then you just estranged yourself from your entire family. How could you walk away? It doesn’t make sense.”
Good question, I thought.
Accordingly to Wikipedia, “family estrangement is the loss of a previously existing relationship between family members, through physical and/or emotional distancing, resulting from traumatic experiences
of domestic violence, abuse, neglect, parental misbehaviour such as repetitive explosive outbursts…”
People don’t normally walk away because they suddenly decide that they are better than the lot they grew up with. They don’t walk from what and whom they have known all their life, hoping to find some nicer and jollier replacement elsewhere. They start walking the moment the pain has become so unbearable, turning their back is the only way to stay alive.

I walked because I knew I was dying. And I did not want to.

In every story, we want the villain and the hero. The witch and fairy godmother. We want “the others” to be mean so we can justify our feeling powerless and small.
Life is not like that. Life doesn’t just give you victims and abusers and then you decide who’s good or bad. There is a pain that is so ancient and so ingrained within the very fabric of a family, it is often impossible for all members to heal together. We have been taught to stick with our family no matter what. To try and try again no matter how horrible it is because that’s just the way it is.
Family relations are often like a very abusive partner who keeps on punching you in the face while shouting that they love you.
“Oh I love you very much. I promise, I promise I will change,” while they beat the crap out of you.
You convince yourself that it’s not too bad after all, that “they are not bad people…it’s just how they are.”
You stay and die a little more every day. You stop dreaming and most of all believing that who you are is enough.
You walk away from your family, with your heart shuttered in a million pieces, when Life herself demands that you go and find yourself again. When you hear her loud whisper, you do not hesitate. You walk. One step at the time, you start moving towards what you thought had gone lost. And when you find it, you put it back where it belongs. Never to let it slip away again, for no one and no thing.
As you learn to get to know yourself again, you remember those you left behind. You feel a gratitude that is both new and humbling. Suddenly, none of it matters anymore and you see, maybe for the very first time, how they really gave you everything they could. Because that’s all they had. And that little love suddenly feels more than enough, because you have now learnt to give yourself “the big love.” By yourself.
And you keep on walking, trusting that one day “we shall all meet again.”
In Grace,

Antonia Lyons

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