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What the Loss of Chris Cornell Means to Me

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The first time I ever heard the word “suicide,” was in 1994. I arrived home after school and turned on my stereo only to hear the D.J. say, “The saddest thing I ever had to report is that Kurt Cobain died today.” That sentence has been stuck in my mind for well over 20 years. Within a few hours, I learned Cobain died by suicide and I struggled to understand why. As a teen, I couldn’t comprehend why someone I idolized as a musician would end his life. After all, he set the tone for what would become the Grunge Era.

During that time, I also first heard an incredible rock voice, that of Chris Cornell. It was the song “Hunger Strike” from the “Temple of the Dog” album which he co-sang with Eddie Vedder. These voices. These lyrics. These songs would define my generation. To this day, they bring back memories of high school and college and happy times.

When the world learned we lost Cornell, I prayed it wasn’t by suicide. All I wanted to believe was that somehow he passed peacefully due to some undiagnosed medical condition. But that’s not what happened. Losing one of the voices of my generation in this way is particularly hard for me, as someone who lives with a mental health disorder. This could’ve been anyone I knew. I have so many questions. Did he try to get help? Did anyone know he was struggling? Did everyone miss the signs?

Losing an incredible talent like Cornell hurts. It hurts the music industry. It hurts his fans, his family. And it really hurts those who would listen to his voice when struggling. Chris Cornell’s voice was like no other and combined with his lyrics, he could lift me on my hardest days. It’s sad loss for everyone.

If anyone is struggling or triggered by this situation, I pray they open up and ask for help. We don’t need to lose another.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Photo via Chris Cornell Facebook page.

Originally published: May 19, 2017
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