No One Sings Like You Anymore

I know. I write about Tom Petty and Chris Cornell way too much. But you’re still reading, so yay! And thank you. The other day, I was feeling particularly drawn to Chris and chose a shirt with his image on it to give me strength for the day. Why didn’t we see it coming? Why didn’t someone really intervene? Why…is always the question that resounds itself time and again in the days, weeks, years following a suicide. Why? What if? Why didn’t we…? Why DID HE? How could…anyone…ah, but navigating the world of mental illness is tricky. And for those of us charged with unbalanced brain chemicals, we bow and give thanks to those musicians and artists who’ve come before us, or who are before us now, singing melodies or painting pictures or creating other sundry works of art that speak to us in our black hole suns.

Chris’s suffering was particularly apparent most of his lyrics, and though the lyrics of “Black Hole Sun” are not heavily poetic, they speak the truth rather easily. “Black hole sun, won’t you come and wash away the rain?” Everyone thinks about how “trippy” the video was, but if you examine the lyrics, you’ll see the plea for the darkness to evaporate. It’s a common thread in Cornell’s words. The most important of which, in this particular track is where he asks, with a prayer, “Heaven send Hell away…”

Let’s examine that for a minute. He’s asking the good to send away the bad, but not just any good or any bad force–the Ultimate Ones. Heaven, hey, man, send hell away. And he sings it not with the disconnect of sending away a well-tipped pizza deliverer–but with this urgency that often gets overlooked if you’re just singing along while riding in your car. But think on that at length. There are so many ways we could invoke the spiritual realms, and Chris did it in four words–shorter than haiku! Maybe this is what the Christians mean by “breath prayers.” Maybe I’ll invoke Chris next time and simply ask Heaven to send Hell away when I’m having a bad minute, hour, week, mental illness bender, what have you…

There is one thing for certain. His life, too short, was a gift, a salve, a salvation for some of us. And we are forever grateful, and left to say:

“No one sings like you anymore,” Chris. We miss you, and we always will.

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

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