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Healing from Family Crisis


My name is Nicole and I am forty-four years of age, a Gemini and small business owner/operator of Life Flow Yoga. I am married with two beautiful children: Sam – 12 years & Skye – 9. My life is good. I feel grateful for all that I am and all that I have. BUT… there is this gaping wound that I carry around with me everyday. I have spent a lot of time, money, and tears to rid myself of it, but still it lingers.

When I was thirty years old, my Mum sat across the table from me and handed me a letter she had written disclosing my life’s real story. My life as I knew it was about to be unveiled. And there it was, in a split second everything I knew to be true became a lie.

I discovered that the man who raised me was not my father. My mother conceived me at aged seventeen with a man five years her senior. He had two children of his own at the time (and went on to have four more, who are all my half-siblings). My mum almost had an abortion, but my Mum’s parents came to my rescue. They begged her to let them help her, and so my journey began.

My loving Grandparents became my closest kin and the bond formed in those early years was unbreakable: our love unconditional. Unfortunately, due to my Mum’s young age and the fear, shame, guilt, and sadness that she felt from her circumstances, our relationship was off to a rocky start.

When I was nine months old, my Mum met the man who would become a father to me. He was a city boy, wild and spirited. He loved her passionately and took us to be his first true loves. I grew up with two other siblings; a sister two years my junior and a baby brother seven years younger.

Life was good. Our family was close, even with the deep dark family secret. My siblings and I grew up quite normally and none the wiser, though their resemblance was that of our Dad’s and I always looked and felt like the odd one out. Whenever I asked about the difference in our appearance, I was told that I looked like my Grandmother’s family. I accepted this information as truth, yet still felt an uneasiness in my soul that I couldn’t explain.

It was only when the truth was delivered many years later that it all began to make sense. I went through the motions of grief. First there was shock and not a tear was shed. Then the realization that my whole life to this point was shrouded in lies and I cried a river. Who was I? Why? So many questions and unbelievable pain like nothing I had ever felt before.

I became angry and hated my Mother for what she had done. I was flooded with a whole range of emotions that I’d never experienced before. Being the Empath that I am, I then took on my Dad’s emotions too. He was shattered that Mum had told me. He never wanted me to know the truth and had hoped to have me as his own forever.

Once my Mum freed herself of the secret, she divorced my Dad, the man who had taken me as his very own and loved me equally. I mourned the loss of my family as I had known it.

And this year, I now mourn again with the passing of my darling Grandfather. He was ninety-two years old and suffered from Alzheimer’s. With his passing, I was gifted his estate. For me, this was the end of a very special chapter of my life. He and my Grandmother were there for me for all of my life, and I was privileged to have been able to return the favour during their final years.

My heart aches for their loss. They were my family, true home and one eternal source of unconditional love. They were much more to me than Grandparents, they were my roots. I felt that they were my true parents amidst the lies and chaos that has been my life.

And now I am faced with another battle. My mum and siblings are asking that I choose their love over the wishes of my Grandparents, who had always wanted me to buy my own family a home. There have been harsh words spoken that “I am undeserving of this gift”, “It should be shared equally”, and most painful of all, that I coerced my Grandfather into his decision.

My heart silently breaks as I would give everything that I own, which is not a lot, to bring them back to me. I feel I am in the throes of a storm, a hurricane. The wound I carry within me is so deep and unbearably painful. I yearn for peace and to move forward in my life, finally free of the burdens I have carried all these years. And I want to heal it once and for all. Wish me luck!

Storykeeper: Nicole Shields

Yoga teacher & small business owner. To find out more about Nicole, go to www.portstephensyoga.com.

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