I Couldn’t Save You

Writing Challenge: August 10, 2018

Prompt: I couldn’t save you.


I couldn’t save you

When you began to drink more and sleep less.

Your eyes would glaze over- unfocused. Filled with water- but no emotion.

You would lay on the mattress on the floor for hours- neither sleeping nor awake.

You were calling out of work all the time- sick, you said.

In a way you were.


I begged you to get out of the house more-

Go for a hike or camping-

Go to the store, the gym, and swim

Anything to get you away from the alcohol.

I would come home, and everything would smell like your downward spiral

You started to smell like cheap booze and sweat.

I tried to be understanding. I tried to help you to quit

Instead you started mixing sleep aides and whisky.


The first time you went to the hospital you walked there yourself.

The second time they sent you to a care facility.

The third time was Halloween.

I was never more afraid than I was that day.

I came home from school and you were on the floor- unresponsive.

When you finally opened your eyes, you could barely move.

At the ER they told me you shouldn’t be alive.

I called out of work that night.

You were released into my care after a stomach pump.

I spent the evening watching you-

Making sure you made it through the night.


Through the winter things only got worse.

Every night I feared I would come home to you dead.

I stole your IDs so you couldn’t buy alcohol-

But you stole them back to buy more.

Your darkness re-hatched my own.

A year before you pulled me out of the pit-

Only to pull me back in.

You were so much stronger than I was.

Together we were spinning into destruction.

I began to fear neither of us would survive the winter.


Finally, in the spring we went our separate ways.

I felt sick with both grief and relief.

Guilt, gratitude, love, disgust, loss, and hope-

All mixed into a confusing mess.

It’s been over a year now.

I look back and still feel that confusion.

Try as I did, I couldn’t save you.

I barely managed to save myself.

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