I remember when Chris Cornell died there was a whole in my heart and you were the first person I thought of. First because of the friendship between you two and second because I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like to lose you, because you were so similar in so many ways, and you, sir, you had been through a lot.
When you sang One More Light to pay tribute to him and choked on your tears it was both beautiful and heartbreaking, and we all cried with you. Then you sang Hallelujah at his funeral and it was like you were mending the pieces of our broken hearts.
Yesterday I learned it was Chris’s birthday and I immediately thought of you and how you could’ve been feeling at that moment. I had no idea.
For several hours I was one of the few people who didn’t know about what happened. I couldn’t reach my phone for hours and when I finally did there were lots of people trying to talk to me, to see if I was okay. Some of them I haven’t even answered. I just don’t know what to say. I didn’t understand what was going on. I thought it was one of those horrible jokes people tell on the internet. I think it was just my brain trying to avoid the truth.
The pain came in waves. I felt completely lost, lonely, angry and desperate. But that was not about me. It was about how I couldn’t save you the same way you’ve saved me so many times before. And you did it so many times that I had stopped counting.
I wanted to trade places. That’s stupid, I know. But no one could ever do what you have done through the years and I desperately wanted you to keep doing that. You and the guys have done so much good to people. You’ve reached different people in different parts of the globe. You’ve given us reasons to move on, to stand up for ourselves. You’ve inspired us to do good. Your songs were the soundtrack of a generation. They have been the soundtrack of my life since that day in 2003 when I first listened to A Place For My Head from a cd my sister borrowed from a friend.
My job, my sanity and some of the most amazing people I know I’ve known because of you. You’ve changed our lives forever.
Everytime you came to Brazil you gave me something to look forward to. I thought I could survive anything because I later on I’d see you and the guys and sing your songs together. That alone gave me the strength to carry on because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light was you.
I remember when the video for Heavy was released. I lost my shit. I remember telling to a friend that it was you once again finding a way of saving me. Those lyrics hit me hard. I was going through so much shit at that time and you told me I was not alone. And I told everyone how I was so proud of you for doing that scene in an AA meeting, because I know that may have been hard to do. But you did it. You danced with your demons to show us how to battle our own.
And then, in your last concert in Brazil, you just made my life a little bit better. You came singing Heavy, stopped right in front of me and you found my eyes and we sang the lyrics together. I thought I was dreaming. “Is he really looking at me?”, I thought. And you were. And it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. In that moment you saved my life once again. Life was kicking me hard but you lifted me up. You looked into my eyes and you sang those powerful lyrics with me. And I will be eternally grateful for that.
I hope you find peace wherever you are, sir. I hope you can see the outpouring of love from the people who love, admire and respect you. We stand strong together because you’ve taught us how to.
It’s going to be complicated to live in a world without you in it, but as a friend said, we got to honor you, keeping love alive and telling people how amazing and talented you were. We gotta pass on the love and joy you brought to our lives. It’s going to be really hard without you in here but I guess we’ll find the strength in the beautiful things you’ve left for us.
We promise to keep an eye on the boys and on your family and friends. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through right now. We are all going to heal together.
Send our love to Chris. Now you boys can sing together again.
“When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind”. Thanks for showing us how, sir.
Rest in peace, my hero!
*Written in July, 21 2017