I’ve been trying to think of what to write for a solid hour now. I’ll start something, then backspace every word until it’s all gone, and I think that’s how my mind and heart feels right now.
This isn’t just a case of a musician I was a casual fan of dying too young. Soundgarden is a band that I discovered as a child in the late ‘90s. I have fan art of Chris Cornell that I drew when I was 11 fucking years old. I had a silly teenage crush on him, too. There are old picture files on a zip drive I own that date back to 2004 with titles like “Ohh Chris!” and “So Sexy”.
And now this guy that was so much a part of those silly times is…gone. Just gone. He took his own life. God knows what led him to do this. It could have been the result of months or even years of heartache that wasn’t managed properly. It could have been an impulse decision made while upset, as so many suicides occur that way. None of us will ever know what was going on in his head last night.
His bandmates, his friends, his family, and millions of fans are now stuck in a horrid grieving process that will take a long time to work through. My first thought this morning after seeing that Chris was actually gone, as in gone and never coming back, was about how Jerry Cantrell is going to have to bury another fucking friend of his that died too young. Another one. He has had to watch dozens of people he loved die like this. The same could be said for any grunge musician right now. Another brother. Gone.
But I want to say something to all of you - nearly 1,000 of you - you are so fucking loved. If you’re not loved by the people in your life, there are people like me and others on the internet who are going to be there when your head starts slumping. Please, please take care of yourself. If you’re battling suicidal thoughts, please reach out to me or someone else. Don’t make an impulse decision to leave this world when you have so much more to offer, so much to give. I failed to take my own life three times. I am glad something stopped me each time. Death culture is rampant and it might be comforting to think about when times get rough, but please don’t die.
I am not okay. I’m probably not going to be okay for a while. Last night was a mess and I was already upset about that, but now that Chris is gone, the only thing I can do is kind of divorce myself from my emotions a bit. Regardless though, I am here for you. Please don’t do anything to hurt yourself. Maybe when my head settles we can have some kind of group session about this and play some Soundgarden tunes (or hell, even Audioslave or that jank Timbaland album) to get through this together.
Chris Cornell, the second best voice in grunge, has been silenced, but recordings of that voice will be around for a very long time. I am so grateful for all the times I was inspired by his singing, his songwriting, and his sense of humor. Chris wasn’t just a pretty face - he was highly intelligent and had such a unique way of looking at fame and praise. He didn’t want to be a sex symbol. He didn’t take groupies. He didn’t have that same hedonistic attitude that befell so many other musicians. He was a cut above the rest, something truly special, and I’m going to remember him that way.
I’m going to remember Chris Cornell as the amazing person he was, not for what he did in a split second while alone and hollow inside. He is still full of life through the life he gave to others.
He knew in the seconds after sending Sana a Facebook message mentioning that he wasn’t Muslim. Maybe he even fucked up before that- maybe he fucked up when he started seeing her as more than just Elias’s baby sister. Maybe that’s when this all started. But now, as he lay in bed, glitter underneath his finger nails from today’s kindergarten projects and yet another text message to Sana going unread, Yousef can without a doubt say that he fucked up.
It was too soon. Yousef thought that maybe he and Sana had built enough of a base, enough of a starting point, that his lack of religion could be overlooked. Or at the very least worked with.
But that was so so stupid because he knows how firm Sana is in her beliefs and maybe no amount of his careful planning or their banter could have stopped this moment.
So here he lays with the weight of crumbling dreams heavy on his chest. (bye bye 12 kid football teams and-)
His phone vibrates on his chest and Yousef thinks maybe-
But it’s Elias with a simple come over and chill tonight?
He sighs and darkens his phone without response. He can’t be there right now- he doesn’t want to make Sana any more uncomfortable than he already has. Invading her safe space is a no-go.
But he wants someone to talk to. Which is funny because he’s always been kind of a man of few words. But right now, he desperately wants someone who will listen patiently and offer their best advice. Someone who would have no problem being quiet while Yousef tried to give voice to the feelings that had been building his his chest for months and the despair now that he knows they won’t be returned.
He wants his best friend.
He fucking wants Even.
Yousef flicks his phone back on and scrolls, down past the myriad of messaage threads he’s been a part of in the last year, down to the last message he had with Even almost a year ago.
I’m so sorry.
Yousef hadn’t responded. And it’d be too late to now.
Would it be too violent to throw his phone across the room?
He doesn’t but he does drop it on the floor beside him, burying his face in pillows and deciding to sleep off the weight of the night.