She’d spoken to her husband by phone after the band played a show in Detroit, shortly before he was found dead in his hotel room. In a new interview with Sirius XM’s Gayle King (audio below), she discussed the aftermath and what had changed for her over the past five years.
“This was like a tsunami. This was nothing. This was not on the radar,” Vicky said of Cornell’s passing. “Chris did not suffer suicidal ideation, and Chris was not even depressed. Chris was in recovery, and he had been on benzos. But again, looking back…it was impossible. It came from nowhere.”
While medical investigation concluded that drugs had not played a role in his death, Vicky Cornell always maintained the opposite. “[W]hen it comes to suicide, it can’t just be, ‘They died by suicide. They look their own life,'” she said. “Okay, but why? What happened? How can we prevent it? And I believe that’s a really big part of prevention and helping us heal.
“With us, I do know the cause because I was on the phone with Chris, and he was in some sort of delirium. … He called me after the show, and I could just hear he wasn’t right. … He sounded like he was high, and he was confused. His speech was slurred. And there was just something that was extremely off…and then just, I don’t know, 30 minutes later, that was it.”
Vicky revealed that mementos of her husband remained around the family home, at odds with some people who believed “by now you should be over it.” She explained: “I even have friends who can’t believe that Chris’ clothing and everything is exactly as he left it, right in his closet. And that’s another thing where they feel like there are things that you have to do in order to move on. And so I just want to say, to people who are grieving…that there really are no rules.”
She added: “Time does a few things, sure. It can help. … It’s not that horrible everyday feeling that you had the first few days, weeks or months. But there’s a different pain that comes with it…and that’s understanding that this is forever; this isn’t gonna change. I think that’s something…we don’t really embrace or understand.
“I think it’s really important to allow us to talk about our loved ones – allow us to talk about them every day. And for me and my children, the most important thing has been to keep Chris alive in our home. So he is spoken about every single day. I love when people talk to me about Chris.”
Listen to Vicky Cornell’s 2022 Interview With Gaye King
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