Death is tragic. Be it a loved one lost to the weight of time or taken too early by sickness, accident, or violence; death hits hard. As heavy as grief encapsulates us for personal losses, when someone larger than life in the eyes of our culture leaves us, it seems to affect everyone a bit differently. Some of us don’t put much thought to the death of a celebrity; even someone marked as a cultural icon. I’m guilty of this most of the time. Mainly because it would be emotionally crippling to mourn every person lost, celebrity or otherwise. Even the more tragic cases involving a drug overdose or disease warrant only a momentary pause. Every so often though, I feel the exit of a cultural icon cut deep. Just an uncontrollable wave of sorrow that seeps into my mind. A life taken by outside forces is tragic, but what brings this wave over me is a life taken by its own hand.
Maybe it’s the immediate humanization of the larger than life persona of the victim. Maybe it’s just the attention it gets. Regardless, the suicide of those we view as more than human on an artistic level snaps us back to reality. No matter how successful you become, no matter the adoration poured on you by the masses, that inescapable cloud can envelop your mind and pull you down.
With the suicide of Chris Cornell, a revered singer and songwriter that helped shape music for over 30 years, I’m struck again at how much one person can influence so many. For me, Chris was a large part of my childhood. Soundgarden and Audioslave played a massive part as a piece of the soundtrack to the years I spent figuring out the direction of my life. His music is interlaced with so many memories of mine that I find the news of his passing harder to take than I ever would’ve expected.
I write this with a heavy heart and choked back tears. I know depression. I know that feeling of utter loss and despair. The feeling of being lost deep in a dark, lonely hole with no hope of redemption. Fortunately I was able to claw out of my hole. Some, like Chris, are not so lucky. The darkness consumes so many innocent, lost souls. If you feel this despair or anything even close to it, please reach out. There is no shame in asking for help or guidance.
We are in this unpredictable ride together and if you stumble, reach out and grab the hands of those around you.
You are not alone. You deserve life. You are enough.
If you or someone in your life needs help, please reach out to the below organizations:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline-Available 24 hours everyday
- Crisis Text Line-www.crisistextline.org
- Jed Foundation-www.jedfoundation.org
- Active Heroes-Veteran Support-www.activeheroes.org