It has been far too long since I wrote a post. I have wanted to but the task seemed too great. The voices far too loud. The anxiety always in panic mode. There was always a reason that I put it off. I got this report or whatever you would call it that challenges you to write everyday for 31 days with prompts. Today’s prompt was to write a story about your favorite childhood book. I couldn’t come up with anything. I had something else weighing on my mind. It has been written about many times since it happened but this impacted me on a personal level. I had something to say.

I have been thinking about suicide a lot since the death of Chris Cornell. I know there are tons of articles and blog posts circulating on the topic but I want to say what was on my mind. I want to share my thoughts. It matters not that they may go unread. I want to speak.

Since the passing of Chris Cornell, I put the MP3s of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog,  and his solo stuff that I have on my computer on a flash drive to listen to in my car. I have more than I thought and also bought a couple of albums in MP3 format from I have been listening. Lyrics that once spoke to me on a personal level finally struck me that these were his feelings too. I could relate to many of the songs because I have lived in that dark place. The music and lyrics are still genius. I don’t know why I never put that much thought into it before but now I am really listening. I took the music for granted. I made it all about me but it is so much more. It tells a story and speaks from the depths of Cornell.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Soundgarden. It was my freshman year in college. It was February 1990. I went to see Voivod and had never heard of Soundgarden. I was to the right of the stage,  a little ways back. They took the stage and I was blown away by Chris Cornell’s voice. I was totally in a trance, eyes focused on him, and I was instantly a fan. I was so close I could see his beautiful eyes. I developed quite a crush that night. He was like no other vocalist I had ever seen. I told my friends back home about them but they hadn’t had their breakout album and I was mostly ignored. They came around eventually. I told them they were special. They were amazing.

I saw them again sometime after I turned 21. I remember it because I was able to buy drinks at the concert. I had more than I should have that night. Pearl Jam was first. They put on a good show and I enjoyed it but I was there to see Soundgarden. When Chris Cornell took the stage, I was too far back to see him well. He climbed up on something at one point but I was still too far away from really seeing him. I left my group of friends tried to run to the stage. Then I stopped. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a huge mosh pit and I was only halfway to the stage. I had been in pits before but this one seemed enormous and I was stuck in the very center. Then, one of my friends came after me and took me back to the group. I wanted to get to the stage but it never happened. Those were the only two times I saw him live.

I followed Chris Cornell’s music. I was sad  Soundgarden disbanded but I listened to his stuff with Temple of the Dog, Audioslave and solo albums. He had a special place in my heart. If I remember correctly, he was one of the first major bands that I saw live in Austin and it was in a small venue where I was so close. The lyrics made me feel good, made me feel alive and sometimes made me cry. He seemed so tortured now that I stopped to really listen. I remember his openness when he battled alcoholism and drug abuse. He spent time in rehab. I felt like he lived with depression but it wasn’t until his death that I read he struggled with it for a long time. I should have known. No one can write like that and not have experienced it.

Cornell, over all the grunge singers of  that came out of the 90s, seemed to have it all together. He was winning. Soundgarden regrouped in 2010 and the music was still great. He was married to someone who he obviously loved and became a family man. I enjoyed reading articles or hearing interviews of him. He was so alive and making amazing music and everything seemed good. He seemed to be living a charmed life. He had beat the cursed fate of the many grunge singers he started with and he was going strong.

Then, the morning of May 18th, I heard the news from my husband Chris Cornell was dead. Later that day, I heard that it had been ruled a suicide. I was crushed as were many fans. I had not really listened to him much in a while and now he was gone. That wasn’t the worst part. He died by suicide. I am so happy all the reports and blogs I have read state he died by suicide and not that he committed suicide. The words matter.

I have battled depression and had many episodes. I have been to that point where the only answer seemed to be death. I don’t know why I never went through with it. Maybe because I didn’t want to die. I wanted the pain of life to stop. So, I became a risk taker. I never expected to live passed 30. Often, I felt I didn’t want to live a long life. I lived carelessly. I lived like I didn’t care if I saw the next day. I drank too much and did other things that were put me in a bad place and I pushed it to the limits. I wanted it all to end. I thought I would kill myself slowly and that it wouldn’t really take long. I was lost. I know what that kind of darkness feels like. It swallows you whole and you can see no light of hope. When you are there, the end sounds like peace and freedom. I was one of the lucky ones. I started to have hope and now I have lived more than 16 years after the age I thought I would die. I still see hope when the darkness falls. That darkness was hell.

It hurt to think that he was in that place. It made me sad that he did not survive the demons he battled. I don’t like the thought of anyone feeling that low and this hit me like a ton of bricks. I am listening to his lyrics and I am mad that I didn’t know. His lyrics told me but I was too busy thinking about what it meant to me. I didn’t even think about the hell he must be going through to write lyrics like that. I didn’t want to think of it. Part of me wishes I was there was with him, maybe I could have reached him, said some magic words but honestly, what could I have said. Who I am? What difference could a dreamy eyed fan. He had a good life it seemed. This was a shock. He had reached the point of no return and now he is gone.

I thought I would get to see him live again someday. I thought there was plenty of time. I thought there would always be Chris Cornell making music. He wasn’t meant to meet such a tragic end. This wasn’t supposed to happen, not to him.

I have been fighting to understand. I have so many emotions. They are raw and it hurts. The worst part is I will heal in time but he will be no more. All my friends say they are here for me but honestly, if I found myself that low again, I wouldn’t reach out at all. I would desperately want someone to call or even send a text, “How are you?” but I wouldn’t want to burden them and suffer alone. I hope I never get to that place again but I am mentally ill. Episodes can happen whether you want them to or not, whether you are in therapy and taking your meds properly, it can happen out of the blue. I wouldn’t think about how it would affect others. You don’t think about anything but the desire for peace. At that moment, you only want the pain to stop. Don’t worry. This has made me feel a lot of things but I am not suicidal.

No one should ever have to be in that place where the dark is all you can see. Chris Cornell will live on through his music. He will always be there through his music but the fact that this is it breaks my heart. The fact that he died by suicide breaks my heart. The great ones aren’t supposed to leave, not like this. Yet, many do leave this way. Many lose their battle because they have been strong too long. I don’t believe they truly want to die. They just want to stop hurting, to leave the darkness, to be free. I am sad he lived with depression and I am sad that he is gone. It is time to allow him to rest. My heart doesn’t really matter, however; this hit me hard and that matters.

Forever in my heart you will be. Farwell! I hope there is no anymore pain. I hope the darkness has broken. I hope you are free. Thank you for the music.