I absolutely adore Chris Cornell. I refuse to use the past tense because that fundamental fact has not changed, nor will it ever.
Chris was a beautiful man inside — and outside. But it was so much more than his appearance, though being a hetero female, it was the icing on the cake, a nice bonus.
This was a dude who was genuinely a good guy. His physical gorgeousness was just pretty wrapping paper concealing the precious gift inside.
Far more importantly— Chris was an incredible musician and the best vocalist of my generation. Hell, maybe any generation. Yet it wasn’t just his formidable talent that made him admirable.
It was his humanity.
Someone’s humanity or lack thereof is always evident. Just look in their eyes.
Chris had the most amazing blue eyes. But if you looked deep into them, and separated what you saw there from his beauty and his talent, it could break your heart.
For him, for yourself.
Chris did not have the reptilian, dead eyes so common among the rich and famous. His eyes were a beautiful maelstrom of emotion.
I could tell we’d traversed the same weary road and carried the scars as unwanted souvenirs from a trip we never wanted to take. I’m sure many other people related to Chris in this way.
Feeling things so deeply all the time with no respite wears on your soul. Chris clearly released some of that angst through his music. He took his suffering and turned it into something beautiful that he shared with the world.
He had the balls to put himself, all of himself, out there. So few do.
I took, and take, great comfort from his songs. From every era of his amazing career. His lyrics are somehow both nihilistic and optimistic. That dichotomy is relatable to me.
Chris knew firsthand that depression is a motherfucker. So do I. He felt like a comrade, a brother in arms. I recognized and shared his melancholy buried under the pretense of congeniality.
In May 2017, I was in the hospital with uncontrolled high blood pressure. My mother died in August, so I was dealing with the loss and all the practical responsibilities that go with losing a parent. My relationship was hitting the skids. It was one of the lowest points of my life.
Then Chris decided to embark on the next leg of his journey through time and space. Disbelief. Shock. Sorrow.
What a waste what a waste what a waste why why why WHY
I also felt fear. Pure, unadulterated fear. After all, if Chris couldn’t hack it, what made me think I could? Who’s to say that I wouldn't snap at any second? (I was to say, that’s who.)
I felt untethered.
Then Chester Bennington followed suit and took his own life a couple of months later. Toni Cornell singing “Hallelujah” for her dad and Chester, who had sung that same song at Chris’s funeral just weeks before, was heartwrenching.
Horrible days. Just horrible. Hurting for his family. Hurting for his friends. Hurting for the loss of his incomparable talent . Hurting for me, and all his other fans.
It truly sucked.
But Chris’s path is not my path. I have my own journey, my own story, as we all do. I can still hear that voice whenever I miss him. And I miss him a lot. Even though I never met the man and would never presume to know what was deep in his soul, through his music he touched mine, and I’m forever grateful for that.