David Ling is back in Canada, desperately trying to do the right thing by his family, while clinging to the sport which possibly preserves his sanity.
The forward left Nottingham Panthers last Sunday as he returned home to Ontario, to his sons, aged 11 and seven.
The pull of two boys "begging" their dad to come back was too much to resist, but that does not mean the 41-year-old was not torn apart by the decision.
On one hand he is a father, on the other he has the words of his own late father ringing in his ears – and Ling says he would be "rolling in his grave" that his son left his team-mates behind with battles still to be fought.
Even 3,500 miles from Nottingham, Ling talks of being racked with guilt still.
On top of that, he knows that his 'safe place' – the ice – will eventually be taken away from him by the sands of time.
"I was raised never to quit anything. In October I came back to Nottingham with the belief I'd be able to stay for the season," he told the Post from his home in Canada.
"When you have children and they're basically begging their dad to come home, it's incredibly hard.
"I had two options really. Stick it out and deal with things in the summer, or go home. A month ago I was going to stay, but things change.
"Your kids come first. It's been an emotional month. The ice has always been my safe place where I can escape everything.
"I love the Nottingham fans, they're the best I've played in front of outside the NHL, but players are human beings."h5">