The Mighty Logo

Vicky Cornell Gives Interview on 'Good Morning America' About Her Husband's Suicide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

In her first interview since her husband’s death, Vicky Cornell — wife of the late Chris Cornell — spoke to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” about life after suicide loss.

Chris Cornell, a musician best known as the lead vocalist for Soundgarden and Audioslave, died by suicide last May.

In a preview released by Entertainment Tonight, Cornell describes what it’s like grappling with the knowledge that, in hindsight, there were signs your loved one who died by suicide was struggling.

“I know that people say you can’t blame yourself, and you know, I’m trying not to, but there were signs,” she said, explaining she believes addiction is what ultimately led him to take his life.

“People think addiction is like, oh you were an addict, and people don’t recognize it’s a disease, and I’m guilty of the same thing, you think, addiction is a choice, and it’s not,” she said.

It’s common for suicide loss survivors to feel guilt after a loved one dies by suicide. It’s so much easier in hindsight to notice things weren’t right, or to pick up on a sign you previously missed. In a piece about losing her friend to suicide, Mighty contributor B.L. Acker wrote:

I find myself beating myself up even though I know I’m being irrational. Realistically, there was no way I could have known… A huge part of me is caught in that “shoulda, woulda, coulda” loop of blame, feeling like I failed in some way because I didn’t know, wasn’t there.

Brandy Lidbeck, who runs the website The Gift of Second, a resource for suicide loss survivors, emphasized part of grieving suicide is recognizing the suicide is not your fault. Even if you’re someone who’s familiar with suicide warning signs, every situation is different, and it’s important to make peace with guilt. Lidbeck wrote:

I think we sometimes hold on to the guilt as our last sort of connection to our loved one. We often have a false belief if we stop feeling guilty for not preventing the suicide, then we, by default, consent to it. It is simply not true.

Although we can’t save those who already died, it is important to know the signs that someone is suicidal or struggling, and to get them the proper support. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, these signs include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for materials or means.
  • Withdrawing from activities.
  • Isolating from family and friends.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Aggression.
  • Fatigue.

The full interview with Vicky Cornell airs on “Good Morning America” Wednesday, February 21. You can watch a clip from the interview below.

Read a list of what people said they needed when they were feeling suicidal here.

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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA‘s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

Screenshot via Entertainment Tonight

Originally published: February 20, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home