For Terese Luikens, a picture-perfect childhood it was not. Frequent moves. An emotionally
absent mother and an alcoholic father. Suicide.
The sixth of seven children, Terese grew up in an unstable and chaotic household—invisible to
her mom yet cherished by her alcoholic dad, who took his own life when Terese was thirteen
This heartfelt memoir documents the chain reaction of a tumultuous family history. From her
stormy childhood to the far-reaching effects of her father’s suicide, Terese shares her inspiring
journey to escape the shame of her past, find healing and love, learn to trust, and discover faith in
a real and personal God.
Writer Terese Luikens contributes articles for Mother Earth News, The Secret Place, Decision Magazine, The Upper Room, Hearts at Home, and the Epoch Times and publishes her own blog, Why Bother? A schoolteacher and a yoga instructor, Terese lives in Sandpoint, Idaho, with her husband and enjoys being mother to three grown sons and grandmother to her much-loved grandchildren.
My status as a younger child kept me innocent from much of what my older siblings knew about Dad, and for at least the first eight years of my life, Dad was like God—flawless, powerful, loving, and eternal.
My siblings represented the chaos and pain from my past.
The best thing for me about going to church was sitting next to Dad.
I’d watch as he drank from bottles he stashed in kitchen cupboards and then see him unconscious in a living room chair, when he should have been sitting at the dinner table with the rest of us.
The last person I’d truly trusted was my dad, and that had not worked out well.
He spoke about Jesus being alive, not dead, as though God was someone who knew and cared
I wanted to escape the pain of my dad’s suicide as well as a mother who had emotionally
alienated herself from me.
Trusting anyone, especially someone I couldn’t see, would prove to be tricky.
I imagined marriage like having a heavy ball and chain attached to my ankle—a weight I didn’t want to drag around or have drag me down.
Contemplation was teaching me to be content, even without the assurance of any immediate answers.