I heard the news driving home from work on 102.7 WNEW. It was an early spring night, shortly after sunset. One of those days where it was warmish, what I consider sweater weather. I remember a coworker picking on me about my grandpa one I wore that day. I laughed and it was like the one on Unplugged. I had about a 30 minute ride home, and I usually hooked up my discman to my car stereo via a plug in cassette. For whatever reason, I had forgotten it this particular day and instead had to listen to the radio.
It was fortuitous.
At the time, I was living exactly halfway between New York & Philadelphia, so I was able to get both cities’ radio stations. However, I had listened to WNEW out of familiarity. It was the soundtrack of my childhood, riding in my mom’s Mercury Capri, before we went westward. I heard the announcement, that Kurt Cobain was dead.
I think this was my equivalent to my mother’s reaction when Elvis or John Lennon died.
I pulled over into a strip mall parking lot off Route 1 in Lawrenceville, NJ. The DJ played Smells Like Teen Spirit. I burst out crying. I couldn’t help it. The suddenness of it was beyond belief. How could he be gone?
More information filtered out in the following days, and it was heartbreaking. Even all these years later, it seems surreal-why would someone seemingly with everything to live for commit suicide? It’s especially unfathomable since he had a young daughter. As a mom, I don’t think I could walk away from my child, no matter how great the pain.
I don’t know what he was thinking, or not thinking when he made that fatal decision. I can’t imagine the level of pain that would cause someone to end their life. I’ve dealt with depression for so many years, and yes, I’ve stood there, staring at the bridge. But I’ve never gotten so dark as to want to go over to it and look down.
If you find yourself staring at that bridge, please get help. Make a phone call to 1-800-273-TALK. Or anyone.
Be a living legend, not a legacy.