From Peter Cornell to His Beloved Brother Chris on National Suicide Prevention Day

in life •  5 months ago

(Reposting as requested by Peter, in support of him and his heartfelt message)


In March I sent my Brother an email and asked if he was okay, and he responded, “I got this Brother.”

I am a genius in the world of hindsight. I have all the answers in the time machine of my imagination. The sad truth is I saw something and at the time I didn’t know what it was. I thought success, fortune, beauty, family, immeasurable talent … he’s got this. I never could have imagined the unimaginable, but I could have pushed way harder to be sure he’s got this.

I put this photo up in our guesthouse tonight. I’ve put it up and taken it down a half dozen times in the past year. I struggle with it. It aches me. It aches me. It borders on the impossible to convey this. I don’t want to release the pain. I want to hold anguish. I want to cry and cry and relive the broken heart over and over. Because, and this is a very fucked up because for me, when the anguish stops and if I finally relinquish the devastation, then it marks the finality. It marks the disgusting, horror, tragedy, incomprehensible truth that my baby Brother is gone. He’s gone. He is gone. He’s gone and in my heart of hearts I harbor the festering concept that it just didn’t have to go this way.


I put this photo up and then I take it down because now what I have are little shrines I don’t want to acknowledge. Small pieces of the memories. The tokens that connect us. The mountain bike he gave me when I moved to LA and we rode Tree People off Mulholland. The guitar he gave me in ’99 when I was embarking on my solo tour across the U.S. This photo of him that I put in my guesthouse.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Can my unimportant voice be part of this conversation? Can your voice? I’ve posted about suicide and I’ve learned firsthand there are those who do NOT want me to mention it. I feel like I compound my own failure if I don’t participate. If there is a way to prevent other children and parents and spouses and siblings and friends and all those in the world touched by this horrible and confusing loss then the least I can do is talk about it.

My baby Brother took his own life. This is the truth that I am standing in front of as I put up this photo. This is FINALITY! My intention is not to reenact the horror for you or me or anyone. This isn’t about you or me or the loved ones that are left behind with a million questions. This is for the one who has lost his voice. The one who feels there is nowhere left to go. The one who suffers from his darkness and no longer believes there is a light. This is a fierce determination to dismantle the stigma that attaches itself to the word SUICIDE; to the conversation about suicide. If I am making any sense here, share this. Push this conversation along.

If you need to talk … 800 273 TALK #worldsuicidepreventionday #BeThe1To

Peter Cornell

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