Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Last year, my sister left an abusive marriage.

She didn’t have much, not even a pot to cook in or a bed to sleep on, but she was strong and hard working, and somehow she knew she would be okay.

On Wednesday, I awaited the results of a Pitch Madness contest while sitting beside her in court. It was a very reflective moment for me.

My young adult novel ARROWS speaks out against domestic violence through Karma, a main character who suffers in an abusive relationship. In my story, Karma is under the spell of cupid’s arrow, but in real life the truth can be much harder to understand.

No one really knew the extent of the emotional and verbal abuse my sister experienced — or the arguments that had led to physical abuse at times.

She kept secrets from the family and tolerated 12 years of conflict in silence. My heart broke when I learned the truth. I have some good memories with my (almost) former brother-in-law, but the way he treats women is unacceptable. Sadly, my sister is not the first woman who has left him because of abuse.

Last week’s court did not go as planned. I’ll save you the drama, but tell you this — my sister still sleeps on an air mattress. She pays her increasing lawyer bill with a credit card she can barely afford.  Yes, she is trying to build a good life for herself and two young children. She’s trying to rebuild herself, emotionally. None of this is easy.

That’s why I’m writing this today. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’d like to help my sister. If this story has touched you in any way, I’ve included some ways that you can help, too. Thank you so much for considering this message.

How to Help (5 ways)

1. Buy my book.

From now until the end of October, all proceeds from every sale of The Hybrid Homemaker will be donated to help my sister.

Add to Cart

You can read about my book and other pricing options here.

2. Make a donation.

Please use this GoFundMe account to make monetary donations. Every little bit will help.

3. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter.

You might reach someone who can financially afford to help my sister.

4. Help end domestic abuse.

Love shouldn’t hurt. If you or a loved one is suffering, seek help:

5. Leave an encouraging comment for my sister to read.

She doesn’t know I’m posting this today. Please add your kind and encouraging words below. I know she’ll appreciate it.

Photo by dullhunk

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.

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January 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm


1 Tracy September 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

Dear Sister,

You are brave. You may be scared out of your mind, but you ARE brave. You are showing your children there are other ways to live, and that love shouldn’t hurt–not you, not them.

Whatever else runs through your head, remember this: you are not the only one. Don’t pack all your pain into a little box for later, either. I did that, and the results have not been pretty. Find the safe ways that work for you to let out your anger, your pain, and your grief for the woman you were, so that they don’t slowly poison you.

This doesn’t define who you are, or your worth and value. That is untouchable.

2 Michelle S September 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

I just donated and shared this. Thanks so much for posting. Sending positive beams of light your way! Just know there are people who give a damn. Bless you and yours.

3 Molly September 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Sister, you are one of the toughest and most courageous women I have ever met. You deserve a life of love and gentleness, and God bless you for recognizing that and teaching your children they deserve love and gentleness, too. Will donate financially when I am able, for now, I hope these words help carry you through your struggle. You are loved!

4 Tina September 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

It takes all the courage you have, I know.
Mary Oliver’s poem helped me enormously when my life fell apart (20+ years ago now):

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”

― Mary Oliver

5 Laura September 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

First time I’ve seen your site and having the chance to get your book while helping your sister was something I couldnt resist. I’ll be back.

6 C September 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

Sis, you are on the right path. It’s not an easy one, but one well worth it.
Twenty years ago, when the laws were very different, I left an abusive marriage. I went on to raise my child. I’ve slept on an air mattress, I’ve gone without so many things, but what I received in return – the love and respect of my child, my own self confidence and peace of mind, were so worth it.
You can do it, you are worth it!

7 JoAnn September 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I read your posting today… sent to your site via My hat is off to your sister, and I send her much love and encouragement for her courageous stand to move beyond the abuse. I took that stand many years ago. I left an abusive marriage (16 + yr marriage) with nothing – literally. The night I left I had no shoes on my feet and wore only a thin nightshirt – I ran – knowing I was literally running for my life. The days, weeks, months that followed were very difficult – my life was very altered from my “norm” which was the perfect suburban life to a small shabby apartment and bare trickle of money- but I had my life and a second chance. Stay strong, keep hope, you are a courageous woman and many other women applaude you for taking your stand. God bless you!

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