Fell on Black Days …

I’m sure many of you have heard the news in the last 24 hours about the sad death of Chris Cornell, singer and frontman for the band Soundgarden. I heard about it before bed last night, and awoke this morning to hear the verdict of the medical examiner which determined the cause of death as suicide. It’s been weighing on my mind ever since, so I thought I’d try writing about it. 

While it’s true Cornell released solo albums and sung with Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and with numerous other musicians and bands, it’s his association with Soundgarden that most stands out for me. I imagine I’m not alone in that. Soundgarden has long been one of my favourite bands, I would go so far as to say that it formed the soundtrack of my youth. Those formative teenage years were flavoured by bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana, pretty much anything that came under that term “grunge” (not that I ever used the term grunge back in those days but I find today it sums up the style of music succinctly for my contemporaries). And now, just like Kurt Cobain, another musical talent of my time has taken his own life. Gone at age 52, leaving a wife and children behind, and a legion of fans who’s lives have played out over the decades to his songs. The last time I saw Soundgarden play was 26 February 2015, at Luna Park in Sydney. For those not familiar with Sydney, Luna Park is a amusement park located on the harbour right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was a beautiful summer’s night, in a small and intimate concert hall, and it remains one of the best concerts I’ve been to. I still have the video of Spoonman on my iPhone.

While most of the tributes I’ve seen rolling in on my social media platforms are filled with sadness and fond memories, there’s always those few who feel the need to negatively comment and claim suicide is the “coward’s way out”. While I respect they are entitled to their opinion, I find it a bit judgmental and insensitive, and not even remotely helpful to a discussion of mental health and wellbeing (in light of such, if any readers share that opinion, I’d ask you kindly not to comment on this post). I seem to recall reading somewhere once that Cornell had battled the demons of depression at some point in his past. That is not uncommon for many of us. It is terrible feeling to be filled with such emotional pain and sadness, to feel confused about why and alone in your struggles. But most of all it’s the sense of utter hopelessness. For some, the situation becomes so dire they see no way to continue. I won’t judge them for the choices they make. We are each individuals, we deal with our inner struggles in our own way. Many of us have stood upon that precipice and but for some twist of fate could well have chosen similarly. As for Chris Cornell, may be rest in peace, I imagine we may hear more about what was happening in his life as the days and weeks roll by. But in the meantime, it’s put suicide and mental health back into the limelight. It’s a reminder to take the time to really ask how loved ones are doing. Sometimes all a person needs is the invitation to open up and talk about their troubles. Be empathetic, show compassion and understanding, be supportive and in general … just be there.

I don’t want to end this post on such a sad note. I want to celebrate the life and talent of this wonderful songwriter and musician. He has brought such light and joy, and years of happiness and entertainment to my life and that of many others. I have countless songs I love but what were some of my favourites? Rusty CageOutshinedFell on Black Days and My Wave. The best way we can remember them is to keep the music alive …

photo credit: KMazur/WireImage 

9 thoughts on “Fell on Black Days …”

  1. This is a wonderful and heart-felt post, Kim. Sorry for your, our, loss and thank you for opening the discussion about suicide and mental health. The older we get, the more we can relate to depression, I feel. And, I totally understand why someone commits suicide or what can lead one to do so. I listened to Soundgarden as well in the nineties, grunge being my favorite kind of music then and still, but I never went to a concert of them. Enjoy a day of music and memories and not too much sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Liesbet. I think you raise a valid point, depression does become more relatable with age. Perhaps it’s the accumulation of life experience? Or maybe the wisdom & maturity to accept and acknowledge mental health issues? Whatever it is, it’s important to openly discuss suicide and depression, remove the tendency towards secrecy and concealment, and be more aware of changes in those around us.
      I’m pretty sure I will always be a grunge girl, the influence of that era was simply too great on me. I will absolutely continue to turn the music up & celebrate the memories!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I truly appreciate your honesty, Kim. It’s rare to find in the blogging universe and the world too (I know I’m repeating myself here). You raise a valid point about mental health and depression. Talking ‘about it’ is what’s more important. I’ve found very few people want to talk about it and there’s so much stigma associated with it. 😦 Weakness (of any kind) perceived or otherwise — has never been taken kindly too. We can only hope that addressing the issue, more often, can bring about a change. And hopefully, someday, it will be OK to say, “I’m not doing so OK today.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment, Cheryl. I completely agree with you, there has been a stigma attached to these issues for a long time, it’s gradually been changing but I see no reason why we should shy away from discussing it. These are valid human emotions, certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

      Liked by 1 person

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