Miss Ten, on her own, has discovered Nirvana.

"Mom, Nirvana is really good!"


"Didn't one of them die?"

"Yes. It was very sad. He committed suicide."

"Which one?"

"Kurt Cobain."

"The singer?"


A pause, then,

"How can it be that someone is so good at one thing and so messed up in another?"

As my friend Christine put it, that's the "million-dollar question." I didn't answer my daughter, and I don't know that she expected that I would. Nothing I nor anyone else could opine, of course, would change the outcome of something that happened long before she was born, when her oldest brother was a toddler around the same age as Francis Bean Cobain.

How can it be? I suppose it is because we are all made up of disparate components that we try to assemble into a whole somehow over our lifetimes. All these different pieces of how we see ourselves, how we believe others see us, our talents and our weaknesses, everything. To integrate all these things within us into something we can accept as "mostly good" brings us stability and peace of mind. But to never be able to succeed in using some of our best aspects to try to heal some of our worst leaves us in a state of dissonance, which can range from angst-y discomfort to, in Cobain's case, a hopelessness that overwhelms any ability to continue believing that things might get better someday.

It hurts us particularly to see someone with great gifts struggle and fail to love themselves as we love them, and is always so hard to understand.