I came to Sweden from war torn Bosnia-Herzegovina in December 1992, two days before I turned 12. Growing up in Sweden with my mom and two sisters, after having lost my dad in January 1993 (but we only found out about it a couple of montha later), I became introverted, keeping my emotions i check and never talking about anything “deeper”, though I was always close to bursting at the seams. Music became an escape, a safe-haven, something I could get lost into. Obviously, being a teenager in the 1990’s, I was very much into the Seattle music scene.
Years passed, and only mostly Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were what remained as my favourite Seattle bands. Now I am an adult, still with some traumas and issues, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. My biggest interest still today is music, listening and playing. And also going to concerts.
I saw Chris with his band on his solo tour in 2006 in Oslo, Norway. The arena was not big, it was a pretty intimate show. I was in the front row (no seats) and during one chorus of the song “Cochise”, Chris suddenly put his microphone in my face and I had to try to sing/yell the chorus. If it was audible at all, I was most likely singing pretty much bad, out of key, falsely. But it didn’t matter. At a point Chris and I shook hands, and that was also special, physically touching one of my childhood heroes.
Then Soundgarden surprised wih a new album and I went to Stockholm to attend the band’s concert, with my older sister, who also used to be into grunge in early 1990’s and who turned me onto Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. We had a good time.
Life goes on, and on 18th of May 2017, on my 4th wedding day anniversary, I went to work in the morning. Usually when I get there, I check out a Bosnian media website just to catch up on the current events, if there are any particular news. And there I saw the news about Chris… I was just shocked. Sure, there has been substance abuse in the past, but this came out of nowhere. That whole day at work was a struggle, as I was close to tears. I went home on my lunch break and put on my Soundgarden “King Animal” tour t-shirt as an homage, and to help me cope. Every time someone mentioned it, I found it difficult to talk about, because I really didn’t want to cry in public.
Weeks passed, and I at random times found myself thinking about Chris, as if the shock was still there, a feeling of helplessness and sorrow. And I wasn’t really listening to his music after the first week… I am not an extremely emotional person, but I just can’t shake this. Of course, one my grandmother died in 2012, and then my grandfather in 2016, I was sad. Even though they were quite old, there was a feeling that they could have had quite a few more good years, especially grandma. Also, I last saw grandma four years before she died, and grampa three years before he died. I was selfish and didn’t want to travel to Bosnia to see them, but it was also about me not being able to cope with the loss of my real life; there should not have been a war, I should have not lost my life, my home, and become separated from my closest family like that. I knew that I would regret not coming to see them more often, but in the end, it was just too painful to come and visit, and then get separated again, for at least a year. I was selfish, just tried to “escape”.
What does this have to do with Chris? Well, I just share the mourning of his passing, even though I never knew him as anything but one of my favorite rockers, and I can relate the emotions to losses of my loved ones. Still today I sometimes get a little emotional thinking about Chris. Just a couple of days ago, I watched the movie “Me Before You”, and then I saw on Instagram the tribute by the Foo Fighters, the picture of Chris from his younger days on Taylor Hawkins’ kick drum. And my eyes teared up.
I don’t know what more to say. I never thought that something like this would affect me this way. I mourn, I keep the memory alive, and I try to share more love with and show more love to my loved ones. We’re only here for so long, and it will always end in tears. So, the only thing we can do is try to fill the time we have with love, laughter and joy, with life.
My heartfelt condolences to you, the family.