Family is something you can never change. You can choose to be close with them or choose to cut them from your life completely. Or choose something in between. The fact remains that they are, and always will be, a part of you. Not only did they influence how you were raised but you share genetics, which has an impact on just about every aspect of you – including health.

The summer of 1988: I was four and a half (bottom left)

Family has always been important to me. We’ve been through some rough times, especially recently, but I think in the end it’s brought us even closer together. My parents (top right in the above photo) divorced a few years ago. It was hard but my brother, sister and I all knew they weren’t good for each other. And I’ve gotten closer with both my parents since the divorce. It’s still hard at times but I know I wouldn’t want them back together. At least, not without major changes from both of them first!

This past year specifically, though, has been really hard. We lost my uncle Joe (center of the photo with the sunglasses), the youngest of that family, in March 2009. He had a heart condition his whole life, but was healthy and active. He woke up one morning to go for a walk and his heart just stopped. Naturally, it devastated my grandparents and shook me up a lot, reminding me how short life can be just 3 days before I moved to New Zealand. My grandma passed at the end of July and then my grandpa passed the end of April. I know there isn’t much I could have done, but I still feel guilty somehow for being so far away from them. They knew I loved them and I knew they were both ready to move on, though, which helped a little. I also know they were extremely proud of me and liked to think I got at least a bit of my adventurous spirit from them. A thought I’m happy to have myself, too.

1993-ish? I was clearly still in gymnastics. Look at my little stick legs!

I’ve inherited a lot – good and otherwise – from my family. My gluten-intolerance comes from my dad’s side of the family – both photos above – as does the history of heart disease and diabetes. Probably the thin(ning) hair, too. My mom’s side has bestowed me with a history of addictions, cancer, depression and ovarian cysts.


With all that said, though, I would never choose another family. I’ll take the risk of diabetes and stroke to have the love, support and history my family’s given me. Besides, just about every potential health risk I have in my genetics is preventable by living a healthy, active life. To be honest, I think I’ve actually gotten off pretty easy with my genetics.



Filed under Life

3 responses to “Family

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I used to be so close to my family and then the sh*t hit the fan and because I am the oldest I am very protective o the problem is I feel I have to put my two cents in and then I get told to butt out. My family are all in Australia (which is where I am from) and so it’s hard when all you hear is negative.
    Where are you from originally? Australia? South Africa? Somewhere else?

    • Nevermind just read you about me. ha ha, I was completely wrong ha ha

      • haha. Yeah, from Canada (Toronto).
        I’m the middle child – so always trying to get attention. I’m also a Libra – so hate fights and always trying to find balance in everything.

        It’s been hard sometimes. My mom and dad will each occasionally try to talk about the other one and get me on “their side”. I think they’ve learned by now that I’m never going to choose one over the other and have stopped trying to plead their case and just let it be.

        My brother and sister and I got really close during it all. With my parents fighting each other and trying to get us to side with them we spent a lot of time just the 3 of us – out of the house somewhere (coffee shop, etc) just talking about everything and being there for each other.

        And, yeah, it’s definitely hard to stay positive and close with people when all you get from them is negative. You try your hardest, but sometimes it’s just best to let people have some distance.

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