It took me 30 years to process the loss of the family farm. As my teenager would say; "delayed response much?"
Growing up in a very abusive and strict german-mennonite home meant not showing your emotions. A display of affection beyond a handshake was considered worldly and unnecessarily. If father took the willow branch to us he demanded silence or the process would continue. Needless to say I learned to stuff my emotions until they boiled over like my mother's pressure canner.
When I was 12 we were ordered off the family farm for debts unpaid and if that wasn't enough of a country song mother went into labor and the hospital as we packed.
I waited for sadness that didn't come. Nor did any other emotion. At twelve I had quite a mastery of escaping feelings and numbing them out.
My brother was born and he proved to be a marvellous distraction from our disrupted lives.
We left the farm, unpacked our meagre possessions into a borrowed home a half mile away and went to visit our new sibling. I thought the little bald wonder in a wrinkled sleeper was the most beautiful creature in the world.
When friends asked if losing our home only to drive by it twice a day bothered me I uttered a very convincing "No."
Years of therapy and counselling later, not only had I forgiven my parents I had drawn some lines in setting cement; "I choose to have a relationship with you..." I told them; "but do note that I am no longer a child without choices. If this relationship takes on the nature of the past I am out of here."
For the most part things have been good. I have cut them off twice for 6 months when same old same old reared its ugliness and we have resolved our issues.
A month or so ago I was watching a movie; "The Promised Land," and there came a line; "We still have our barn." A damn inside jerked loose and I cried three decades worth of pain. We lost our barn and almost everything else. There had been an auction previous to the move. How good it felt to grieve what I had convinced myself did not matter.
Delayed response indeed. And although I have covered a great distance in most aspects of processing emotions and life events my critical inner voice says; "Do not become a paramedic. No-one has that kind of time." And that is okay. I am more of a tortured writer, author and musician anyway. We tend to lose track of the ticking clock.
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