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My mom has had a rough go of life. My father, a whiskey-for-breakfast alcoholic, left her for another woman when I was six. Years later I found out that my step-sister—who was just a few months my senior—was actually my half-sister. My dad, Lenny, had been sleeping with this other woman the entire time he was married to my mom. Still, my mom begged Lenny to stay with her, even to the point of giving him permission to continue his affair. After the divorce my mom looked to alcohol to save her, and then to suicide. Neither worked. But things started to get a little better after I walked in on her viciously banging her head against the wall of her bedroom. 

My mom was young when all this happened, her late twenties or so. Lenny so damaged her that it took a lot of years, and a few more broken relationships after him, until she was able to scrape together some semblance of a coherent life. Even now, though, some thirty years later, she’ll look at me from time to time and say, “Your daddy was the love of my life.” Love hurts. I guess true love hurts worse. 

Russ Meek

Author, editor, and lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew at Ohio Theological Institute