The house was quiet, with the kind of peace that only Shabbos can bring. I sat down lazily on the couch, ready to enjoy my weekly Ami. I didn’t think I’d get past the first couple of sentences, as my eyes felt heavy with fatigue. But as I started to read “The Lonely Little Boy” [“The Human Experience,” Ami Issue 526] I felt myself being pulled in. I was full of sadness for this child, who craved the love of a mother and father. I imagined a little boy with pudgy cheeks and big round eyes. I wanted to hug him protectively when he heard others calling him names. And my heart went out to him as he saw himself as a bad person.
I suddenly sat upright. I knew this little boy, who was now a grown man. “Dovid Lowell” wasn’t a faceless character; he was my husband. This article was telling his story. Although I knew that there was going to be an article about him, it was still shocking to see it in print.
In an instant I was back to another point in my life. I no longer felt pity for this child who was longing for love. Instead, I was awash in a flood of unbidden anger. When we first got married, Dovid had talked about how hopeful he was that we would have a beautiful life together, but then he fell into depression. He became an absent husband and father. He knew how sad his wife was, yet he couldn’t get out of it.
As I continued to read the article, my tears fell freely. I remembered all too clearly what it was like to have to pack up my dreams for a normal life one by one and throw them away.
My husband isn’t a mean person; I know that he never intended to hurt me. But his actions were so hurtful that for a long time I had a hard time empathizing with what he had gone through as a child and finding compassion. I’m sure you think I’m a horrible person to have felt that way, so I’ll start at the beginning.