Four years following Chris Cornell’s tragic death, widow Vicky Cornell shares a heartfelt handwritten note penned by the former Soundgarden frontman. In an interview with Fatherly, Vicky opens up about grief, coping, and keeping the iconic singer-songwriter and musician’s legacy alive and well.
“Chris is constantly kept in the present,” she says. “We speak about him, we play his music, we share memories, we work in his legacy and I include my children in that. We continue the great charitable work that he did personally and through the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. Giving back was important to Chris and it is something we did together as a family, so we still do that and it keeps his memory and what was important to him alive.”
The letter Chris Cornell scribbled contains words in bright red ink. “I write this with the quivering hand that is guided by the fortunes of a heart lucky enough to know true love,” he wrote. “My heart is a beating drum and my voice a clanging bell sounding to the world, I love you. Be mine in joy lit only by the glow of our shining love!”
Later in the interview, Vicky revealed there are still “moments where I feel like there is no one who understands. Grief can make you feel all alone no matter how much support you have,” she reflects. “There are moments where it consumes me and when I feel that I just find my reason—which is my kids, Toni and Christopher—and as strange as it may sound, Chris. He’s still my reason, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Coping these days is somehow “worse now,” she admits. “In the beginning, you have the false sense that he may come back or that you will wake up from the nightmare, there is also a survival mode that kicks in then. But now, the reality has set in that this is forever.”
Cornell’s children, Toni and Christopher, launched Stop the Stigma: Tackling the Stigma of Addiction through Education, an initiative to instruct on the importance of eduction surrounding addiction, in partnership with the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation.
Main photo by Jen Cash