August 5th, 2018

“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real.
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything.
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end.
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.
I wear this crown of shit
Upon my liars chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair.
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here.
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end.
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt.
If I could start again
A million miles away
I will keep myself
I would find a way.”
Songwriters: Trent Reznor



She’s back in jail.

Actually, it is a relief to know that she is behind bars. The other options were much more frightening. She could have been on the run, or in the ER, …or dead. Karin and I have spent the last two days seriously considering the possibility of this young woman being dead. The young woman did call Karin very early on Thursday morning to tell her that she thought she had alcohol poisoning. She had that once before and came very, very close to dying. I was with her once in an ER when her kidneys were failing. I was with her in another ER where the nurse told me that this young woman had come into the hospital with a blood alcohol level of .398%. That is as close to dead as a person can be without crossing over to the other side.

The girl was released from jail in the last part of June. She was out and about for almost six weeks, and she was doing well. She really was. She had a place to stay in a local sober living house. She wasn’t necessarily happy there, but none of us had any better ideas with regards to housing for her. She had health insurance. She had a therapist. She had food stamps. She aced a job interview. It is true that the young woman had some serious obstacles to overcome, but none of these seemed insurmountable. Karin and I tried to provide whatever help we could muster. And yet, it all unraveled. It apparently ended in a hotel room with this girl cuddling a bottle of hard liquor for comfort and solace.


She sent me a four word text on Wednesday evening. It was the last thing I heard from her up until yesterday. It was cryptic, but I understood her right away. It’s hard to explain, but she pointed out poor choices I have made, or that she thinks that I have made. She often, in times of crisis, goes back to picking at old wounds. I do that too. It is not an uncommon way of dealing with issues. The past is dead, but not quite. For some reason we can never start fresh. We can’t let go, so we can’t move forward. The cycle repeats.

I am convinced that people seldom hurt others out of spite or malice. We hurt others because of weakness or ignorance or fear. We desperately want to do the right thing, but we often do the thing that causes the most harm. Perhaps I should not say “we”. I know that I operate that way. I suspect that others do the same thing.

I cannot repair the damage that I have done. Neither can she. There are things that we simply can not fix. Maybe we can forgive. Maybe.

She called us from jail yesterday afternoon. She asked us to help get her stuff from the police station. She apologized for what had happened. I had been upset with her. Now I’m not. I cannot maintain a feeling of outrage. It’s not because I am compassionate and forgiving. I just don’t have the stamina to stay angry.

When Trent Reznor sings, “I will make you hurt”, I hear other voices too.

I hear mine, and I hear hers.



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