Chris Cornell – R.I.P. May, 17, 2017

By |2018-07-13T01:57:56+00:00June 25th, 2018|Editorials|0 Comments

​As I sit here, blowing off all of my other obligations, compelled to write this, I cry.  I was sad when Prince and David Bowie passed.  But this really caused an ocean of tears for me.  The passing of Chris Cornell is absolutely devastating to me.  While I didn’t know him personally, his music touched me profoundly, like it did a lot of people, like it likely did you.  It is surprising how losing someone you don’t even know can affect you so deeply.

I’ve seen the beautiful and the ugly words on social media today, and remain neutral and numb.  I’ve seen both the sadness and anger at suicide today, and I respect each position.  Much like our taste in music, we all feel how we feel about suicide, and strongly, and it is OK.  What is not OK is to not know what resources are available, and to not reach out when you need help.  I’ll stop right here for a moment….

 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

I’ve personally been effected by suicide.  When I was 17, my boyfriend shot himself.  For years, I thought it was my fault; that I could have done something to prevent it.  He wanted sex, and I was still

 

pure, untouched.  He said to me, “I am breaking up with you.  I’ve done more bad in my life than you will ever do in yours, and I cannot be a bad influence on you, my angel.”  Well, not only was he wrong, but I carried the burden for years:  If I just would have had sex with him, maybe he would be alive…Maybe that act would have altered the universe enough to change his life plan.  It has taken me years to understand that it was never my fault.  I am struck by, and perplexed at the suffering that one must go through to die at their own hands.  Be it mental illness, drugs, addiction, demons; a life lost is tragic.

Was there anything that anyone could have done for Chris?  Did he reach out and no one was there?  Did he fight demons by himself?  Did he have a terminal illness that no one knew about?  Was depression so bad that it was just too intolerable to continue to endure?  Was the pressure of life too much to take?  Was he in so much pain that death seemed better?  Again, was there anything that anyone could have done for Chris?  The answer is a resounding NO if he didn’t reach out for help.

While we know that Chris died by his own hands, allegedly suicide by hanging, as reported by the coroner, we likely all are asking ourselves why.  He had fame, he was beautiful, he had money, material things, wrote great music, had children, a wife…. everything.  Everything that we are told we NEED to make it…to be happy.  But this is proof that money and fame do not buy happiness.  We will likely never know the truth behind why.  We can speculate all we want, but we will likely never know.  What we can do is pay attention.  Don’t scroll by the Facebook post when a friend is reaching out for help.  Answer the phone when a friend calls.  Stop by and do a wellness check when you haven’t heard from your friend in a while.  Tell those you love how much they mean to you.  Ask how people are doing.  And, on the flip side, reach out for help. Post on social media if you are having a difficult time, make that phone call if you find yourself in a state of despair.

Regardless of why, (and it doesn’t matter if you hold the position that suicide is a coward’s way out, or that suicide is tragically sad) Chris Cornell wrote songs that touched us deeply, songs that we loved…songs that altered a generation’s music.

I remember the first time I heard Soundgarden.  And, today, I just discovered that Soundgarden is a place in Seattle.  A place that I will visit soon.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sound_Garden

I came a bit late to the Soundgarden game with: Badmotorfinger in 1991.  It was one of those albums that you loved upon first listen.  It didn’t take repetition to enjoy it; you could listen to the entire album with pleasure, not just a song or two.  Then I discovered Temple of the Dog.  I followed Soundgarden up through their break in 1997.

Then in 1999, I fell in love with: Euphoria Morning,” which was stunning.  I hesitatingly allowed Audioslave into my heart in 2001 and began to love it.  (I wasn’t a Rage Against the Machine fan.)  Don’t be mad as your read this, but Tom Morello’s playing drives me crazy.

I played Chris’ and Eleven’s version of Ave Maria at a friend’s funeral; there was absolute silence as it played.

When I married in 2006 (to husband #2), Chris’ “Sunshowers” played as I walked down the aisle.

I enjoyed his music in a plethora of movies, compilations, and collaborations.

I bought “Scream” in 2009 on the day it came out.  I purchased it in Seattle, which felt fitting, and listened to it all the way home, on repeat, to Portland.  And, although it was categorized as weird by some (many) accounts, I loved it.

“Carry On,” in 2007 was delightful, and I was lucky enough to see Chris Cornell at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland for his acoustic show.

When “Higher Truth” came out in 2015, I was in South Africa.  It was an album that touched me on a level that I’ve not experienced since Zakk Wylde’s “Book of Shadows.”  I was in an unhappy marriage, far from home, out of the country, isolated, and it became one of my best friends.

As reported on several sites, Chris’ final performance ended with “Rusty Cage” and “Slaves and Bulldozers” which reportedly had a bit of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying,” and that is really sad.  Sad, ominous, haunting…and significant.

In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home

Well, well, well, so I can die easy [x2]
Jesus, going to make up

Jesus, going to make up my dying bed
Meet me, Jesus, meet me
Meet me in the middle of the air
If my wings should fail me, Lord
Please meet me with another pair

Well, well, well, so I can die easy [x2]
Jesus, going to make up

Somebody, somebody
Jesus going to make up
Jesus going to make you my dying bed
Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Jesus, going to make up
Somebody, somebody
Jesus going to make up
Jesus going to make you my dying bed

Oh, Saint Peter, at the gates of heaven
Won’t you let me in
I never did no harm
I never did no wrong
Oh, Gabriel, let me blow your horn, let me blow your horn
Oh, I never did, did no harm
I’ve only been this young once
I never thought I’d do anybody no wrong
No, not once
Oh, I did somebody some good
Somebody some good
Oh, did somebody some good
I must have did somebody some good
Oh, I believe I did
I see the smiling faces
I know I must have left some traces
And I see them in the streets
And I see them in the field
And I hear them shouting under my feet
And I know it’s got to be real
Oh, Lord, deliver me
All the wrong I’ve done
You can deliver me, Lord
I only wanted to have some fun
Hear the angels marching, hear them marching, hear them marching
Hear them marching, the’ marching

Oh my Jesus, oh my Jesus, oh my Jesus [x3]
Oh my Jesus, oh my Jesus
It’s pretty good up here
Oh Georgina, oh Georgina, oh Georgina, oh Georgina
Oh I’ll see you again
Oh, don’t you make it my dying, dying, dying

Cough!
That’s gotta be the one, ain’t it?
Come have a listen, then
Oh yes, thank you

Did he know what the next few hours were to be as he sang those ominous and profound words?  We will never know.

Chris Cornell, and all that he gave me, will always be special to me, and I mourn on this day.
So, I ask you, as you read this.  If you are in need of help, please reach out to someone.  Please.

I will end this writing with one of my favorite songs that Chris wrote, “Before We Disappear,” from 2015’s Higher Truth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61EFOpFSRqk

“Before We Disappear”
Time ain’t nothing if it ain’t fast
Taking everything that you ever had
And giving nothing in return
But a cold bed in a quiet earth

If there’s a door to every cell
A pearl inside of every shell then

How hard can it be
To share your love with me?
How hard can it be
To rise with me each morning?
I know that it feels like
We will live forever
But I fear
That time will hide the years

​Life ain’t nothing if it ain’t hard
It’ll show you who you truly are
Knock you down when you get too tall
Till you’re spun around in a free fall

But somewhere out there past the storm
Lies the shelter of your heart

So how hard can it be
To share your love with me?
How hard can it be
To rise with me each morning?
I know that it feels like
We will live for ever
But I fear
That time can hide the years
So hold on tightly my dear

I’m not one to waste my time
Searching for some silver lining
But somewhere out there past the storm
Lies the shelter
Of your heart

So how hard can it be (how hard)
To share your love with me?
How hard can it be
To rise with me each morning?
I know that it feels like
We will live forever
But I fear
That time can hide the years
Like we were never here
So hold on tightly my dear

Before we disappear
Before we disappear

About the Author:

Lover of music. Lover of writing. Music is the audible form of emotion, and I have a deep need to find out what it takes to make a song, an album...a band. When a musician says, "No one has ever asked me that before," or "That was the best interview I've ever done," I know I've done my job right.

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