PAIN in a Picture

What would pain look like if you could paint or draw a picture…

My twin brother, Colin, was 11 years old when he put PAIN on paper for me.  I can look at this picture for hours. While I am not my brother, my perspective comes from being the  same fragile age, with eyes that were witness to life in our home.

   By Colin Andrew Hilsmann (1982)       11 years old – 1st Place.                 Washington Square Mall, Portland, OR

TRIGGER WARNING – Please take care of your mental health and be aware that this post contains true stories of Child Abuse and violence against children resulting in death. If this is a topic that is may be too close to home or is simply just not within your comfort level, please SKIP this post. Your OWN PERSONAL mental health is truly more important than my post.

At 11, you are FRAGILE.  You are going from elementary to middle school, a transition from being the oldest to the youngest of classmates.  That transition from 6th to 7th, is an extremely vulnerable time for kids. 12 year olds do not have the maturity of upper classmates that are 14 to 15. Their hormones are not at the same level, their motivations are not the same and hopefully their life experiences are not the equal because they have been sheltered from “real life”      

God, I wish we had been sheltered, protected, and allowed to remain innocent just a little longer.  

At the age of 10, we were rocked when our classmate, co-ed soccer teammate, playmate and good friend from 1st grade on, Joseph “Joey” Kuehl died in the night from a brain aneurysm. We saw the ambulance outside his home while we road our bikes past his house on the way to school. Nothing could have protected us from reality that death could reach out and snatch us from the world at any moment.

In 4th grade, I was 9, my friend Johnny was here one day and gone the next. We never spoke about it but I knew that he was being abused by his father. We played together every day he was allowed. For an entire month or more, he was made to completely ignore my presence, his little sister was able to tell me briefly that he couldn’t risk going against his dad. His mom, sister and he fled their home in the night while their dad was at work. I went up to his house and knocked on the door, his dad answered and I asked for Johnny, his dad said he was gone, “they are all gone”.  The following day, I was pulled out of class and told to go to the principal’s office. An Oregon State Trooper was waiting to question me. You are Johnny’s best friend, What did I know, what had Johnny said about leaving, did he say goodbye, where did he tell me they were going, You do know its wrong to lie to the Police… I have no idea what ever happened to Johnny, but I do know that they got away.

Then came Sunday, May 3, 1982. My friend, Wendy Ann Harris, left her home, walked around the corner and Vanished   

Wendy Ann Harris, age 11

It was approximately 6:00 pm on a quiet Sunday Evening. Wendy’s destination was 6, SIX houses away. Most of the “corners” were just curves in the road. No one saw a thing, you know how the story goes, things like that don’t happen here, until they do. Wendy wanted to drop off a picture at a friend’s home. Her friend wasn’t home but the friend’s 15 year old stepbrother was, and when questioned, told police that Wendy had never arrived.

Cedar Mills From Above

The following day, when we arrived at school, we got the news. At 6 pm on a Sunday night, kids were inside having dinner, and baths to get ready for the next week. It was still light outside, this time of year, it was not usually dark before 8-8:30 p.m.  It was an innocent thing to do and she should have been completely safe.

We went to bed totally oblivious to what was happening just a few miles away, but it would be the last night of sound sleep we would have for quite some time. Sadly kids going missing in the late ’70s and early ’80s wasn’t really considered “NEWS” worth reporting on TV.

Wendy’s Class Picture

Wendy was a very bright and friendly kid. She was fun and we laughed a lot. I never saw her be negative or mean to anyone ever. She was kind, loving and a friend.

The Bluffs, were the homes on the hill above ours, and we were separated by a huge farm that was on a busy road. The kids from that neighborhood were far enough from the school that they had to ride the bus to school. The Bluffs were a new subdivision that was developing over the previous couple of years. New homes meant more families, as well as, more kids. Because of increased class sizes, at the end of 5th the district was rezoned. Beginning 6th grade, all of our friends in the Bluffs went to a different school. Although we didn’t see each other daily, Wendy was still my friend. Besides, we all knew that we would all be reunited in 7th grade at the Jr. High School. If Only… the world wasn’t so cold, so cruel, and so random.

Monday, May 4th, the 3 TV stations were reporting news of a missing girl from Cedar Mills. We were just children. We certainly could not be affected by something so terrifying as a child, whom we knew and played with, our age, could just vanish. It would be generous to say this was within a 4 mile Radius. We were required to go to school and behave like everything was fine, but it wasn’t. In addition, no teacher or school district psychologist, ever sat down with us to talk about how we felt. No one ever attempted to prepare us for the possibilities. We were left to use our own resources. Reading the newspaper and listen to the news reports, as well as our classmates chatter and the unfiltered mumblings of the adults around us of the rumors.

Late on Tuesday night, the 5th, or in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the 6th, the police received a call regarding Wendy’s disappearance. A female had called in and stated that she believed that her boyfriend might be involved.

The female said that she had broken up with her boyfriend on Saturday, and Sunday night he called and said “look at what you made me do, you made me so angry that I had to hurt something, and she was right in front of me. Now she is DEAD, because of you.”

The female was Keri K. and her boyfriend was Eric Merrill, the 1st person police spoke to, once Wendy was reported missing on Sunday. He was the 15 year old who answered the door at Wendy’s friend’s house, 6 doors away from the safety of her own home.

The Murderer invited her, and by telling her that her friend was indeed home, successfully tricking her. Once Wendy stepped inside, he blitz attacked her, knocking her unconscious. He then dragged her limp body down into the basement to his bedroom. He grabbed his hockey stick and beat her to death with it. Then stuffed her into a garbage bag and under the cover of darkness, carried Wendy’s body into the nearby woods where we played as kids. She remained there for the next 3 days, while he went to school like nothing ever happened.  Taking the 3 broken pieces of hockey stick, still cover in blood, brain matter and Wendy’s hair, to school and put them inside his assigned school locker.

Keri K. was the 14 year old girlfriend, who reported the murderer’s confession to the police, told them where they could find the murder weapon. They found it in his locker and arrested him. He told police where they could find her body, and the search for Wendy Ann was over on Wednesday May 6, 1982.

Never Again, have I been the same person that I was on the afternoon of Sunday May 3, 1982.  To consider the fact that someone who was just a few years older than us, as well as, the same age as some of our own siblings, was capable of doing something so abhorrent. I don’t think anyone of us who knew Wendy, could ever look at this world the same way.

How could we ever be the same???

The murderer pleaded not guilty in the Juvenile Justice System for the State of Oregon. When he was 16, he was declared guilty. But because he was 3 months shy of his 16th birthday, he could not be sentenced as an adult. Instead he was sent to an Oregon State reform school.

His sentence was to be held there until his 21st Birthday. He was let out just in time to celebrate his 21st birthday at the bar with his family and friends.

Juvenile Court does not have a supervised parole for crimes including Murder, when the perpetrator is under 16 at the time of the crime. They just open up the door and let them walk away.

They have no criminal record from the Juvenile System — P E R I O D – – – NONE.  Regardless to whether or not they are “reformed”. They are 100% free, and there is no warning signs attached that point out to society that they are any different than you or I.

How About That for getting away with the ABSOLUTELY Viscous Murder of an 11 year old child

Wendy Ann Harris 1970   FOREVER 11


Stars will fade with passing time
Darkness will fall as a sign
Like a shadow cast aside
Casting doubt and love divides
Leaving one to wonder why
As pain filled tears escape the eyes
Even though we try and try
It is where love is left behind
As a memory of two lovers bind
That eventually ends in suicide
When loves light ceases to shine
Where the past, scars the mind
As promises have turned to lies
Leaving pain one cannot describe
A shattered path once defined
Too scattered to ever be realigned
Leaving wishes to hit the button rewind
To stay true to this love of mine
The way that God has designed
A simple gift of sunshine
A ray along this bumpy ride
Leading us to reunite
Or again, at least to try
To find the link between you and I
To once again let sparks fly
Like when I first laid my eyes
Upon you.
Katherine Spitzer

Fooled again

Here I am alone
I thought you would be here
Forever means nothing
An illusion I chose to create
From words so often spoken
Words I chose to believe
Foolish of an innocent heart
Innocent of love, but not pain
I guess I expected more
Something better from you
I was wrong to trust
With my innocent heart
I was wrong to trust you.
Katherine Spitzer 1991

#poetry #life #pain

Miss You

My Gemini and I

Right now I miss you
Not that that is unique
I missed you yesterday too
And all the days since you left me

It is so hard to express
How much one life means
Until you experience the silence
Of the one who no longer speaks

Those who don’t know
Think it gets better with time
Like with the wind that blows
You will fly from my heart and my mind

Truth be known
I won’t let them see
That behind closed doors
Is a crumpled mess of me

The words they speak
The sharpness of their tongue
Cut my skin so deep
It’s hard not to come undone

You are the folks that turn me away
My heart it’s not strong enough
To teach you how to behave
After the loss of one that I loved

Still, I know you are there
Up way beyond the stars That your love who didn’t disappear
With how far away you are

When I see a rainbow
Following the rain
And I listen closely
I hear you call my name

A shooting star streaking
Across the night sky
Says that you are peeking in
Just to say hi

When I see a butterfly
Floating on the breeze
Or a bird singing softly
On the branch of a tree

One delivers kisses
With the help of the Wind
The other send skips
To the beat of my heart again

My eyes may not see
What is felt by heartbeat
You are right beside me
For all of eternity.
Katherine Spitzer

#pain #grief #mytwindied #life


I can hear my heart speak
But it does not make a sound
If you put your ear on my chest
Would the beat be found?

Strange how standing next to you
Can feel so alone
Even in a crowded room
Oddly feeling unknown

I can feel my lips moving
Can you hear the words
A unheard

My eyes can witness
Just as yours do
Yet how differently we perceive
What we see as true

With human nature
That can be inhumane
No two eyes
See exactly the same

Some screams
Fall on deaf ears
Some whispers
Echo through the years

The shadows of darkness
Light the night sky
As the sun is able
To blind the eye

From joy and happiness
Tears will stain
The way we laugh
To ease our pain

This life is strange
Without a doubt
Whether you see it
Upside down or inside out.
Katherine Spitzer

#life #poetry

The Other Side of Me

I wrote this poem many years ago. I ❤️ it, because it was 100% true.
I am sharing again for my new followers.
I ❤️ feedback. Can you relate to any part of it… Have you ever felt this way? Please let me know. Thank you for being here and stay blessed. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

There’s a secret that I hide
When you look at me
The story that hides inside
The other side of me

When you see me laugh and play
The smiles that you see
Really only hide the truth
The other side of me

The funny things that I do
That make me seem carefree
Only hide the tears I cry
The other side of me

The jokes I tell to make light
So you cannot see
The fears behind the mask
The other side of me

I hide the ugly with a laugh
So I can deceive
The pain, the torment and the fear
The other side of me

If I’m willing to take a chance
There’s truth in front of me
Can I trust in these new things
With the other side of me

Can I look to the sky
After the awful things I’ve seen
To trust in the Lord’s graciousness
For the other side of me

If I look to the Lord
Forgiveness waits for me
The bondage of a childhood
The other side of me

I want to be a happy child
God watching over me
So all that hides the other side
Can finally be set free.

Katherine Spitzer

Breaking Point

I want to be
A thick crystal vase
Etched and Strong
Hard to break
Or maybe like
A granite mountain
Instead of
An ice sculptured fountain
Where the warmth of the air
And flowing water cause
It to lose form and disappear
Why are we made
In such a fragile form
Why aren’t we more like turtles
Able to hide from a storm
I envy the thought
Of having a thick shell
To protect against
Each of life’s little hell
With a lions strength
So full of courage
That I would not break
With just simple words
I want to be fierce
But I wasn’t made that way
I am little more than
The tears I cry today.

Katherine Spitzer

Beckoning Call

My heart cannot hear Love’s beckoning call
It is unable to penetrate these walls
Surrounding my heart like a sacred place
Letting nothing enter, leaving only empty space
Loneliness consumes this hole of tears
Letting them spill, flowing from my eyes
Through my heart with painful cries

Nothing lives in this broken heart of mine.

Dear God

God it must be
So hard to be you
It is hard to look around and see
With just my eyes of two
While You see everything
All who are wicked and cruel
So many lost souls, wandering
With all the sadness in this world

God, do you cry
When you look around
Are the rains in the sky
Your tears falling to the ground
I have so many questions inside
Surely there are answers to be found
Is it Your anger in the clouds
As lightning flashes and thunder sounds

I know that you see the needs
As well as the callous and fake
I see all the greed
It causes my heart to break
God, when you look at me
Do you think that you made a mistake
When will my heart be set free
Where there is joy for I to partake

How much pain you must feel
When you look at this place
You made a land so beautiful
That no man could ever replace
A world that was so plentiful
Just for man to throw it away
Is sadness something you can conceal
Or do tears just spill down your face

It is so hard at times
When it comes to push and shove
We are made by your design
Knitted in your love
Do the mountains in the sky
Climb high enough
For you to hide behind
When things get rough

Within the pain and the lies
How are you able to forgive
You can set the darkness aside
With the sun as your sweet kiss
So then, would you touch me deep inside
Freeing me from the misery of all this
Seeking shelter within your shield of might
Within Your grace and promises.
Katherine Spitzer
March 31, 2022

Evil’s Grasp

I honestly don’t know where this poem came from or why this morning. It is darker than most of my work since the early ’90s. Except for a poem I wrote in December of 2008, called “Satan’s Lies”. Not to say that I have some darker poems, but they are closer to gray, and this feels more like pitch black. I do hope, either way, that you enjoy it.  Thanks for being here and stay blessed.

There is such a contradiction 
Between the power of will
And the devastating effects
From the power of evil

Have you ever met
Someone so cold
If you were able to look inside
You would see they have no soul

Have you ever heard
Evil, call your name
Or watched it reach out
As it grabs onto your hand

Once it has you
Within its grasp
You are at the mercy
Of its attack

Have you ever felt a chill
From across the room
Causing the overwhelming sense
Of impending doom 

Or have you ever heard
Evil whisper in your ear
So clearly, that you
Began to shake with fear

Felt it breathe
On the back of your neck
With hands around your throat
Choking out your breath

Where its face becomes
So  close to yours
You cannot disregard
Its unmistakable force

Like the eye of a tornado
Where you begin to feel relief
Only to be picked up again
Thrown across the street

It is in the shadows
Where Evil hides
With many faces
It attempts to disguise

Believe in yourself
No matter how it tries
Trust your gut
Your instincts won't lie

Stand strong
In your conviction
Pray for God's strength
As well as His protection

No matter your beliefs
No matter what I say
Evil walks among us
Every single day

There is nothing at all
No greater extreme
Between Heaven and Hell
In the lengths of eternity.

Katherine Spitzer
March 30, 2022