Nick Cave has been discussing the delicate subject of death and, in turn, offered some words of advice on how to deal with grief.
The Bad Seeds frontman, returning to his fan-led platform, The Red Hand Files, responded to two separate fans who both contacted the singer after recently suffering the loss of a child.
Cave, who has openly discussed the tragic death of his teenage son, Arthur, again reflected on the traumatically difficult period. Arthur Cave, one of Cave’s twin sons, died following a fall from a cliff in East Sussex in the summer of 2015, aged just 15.
The twin sons, Arthur and Earl were born in 2000 to mother and Cave’s wife Susie Bick.
Now, as he discusses the grief that he and his family felt during this time, Cave said: “Susie [Cave’s wife] and I have learned much about the nature of grief over recent years. We have come to see that grief is not something you pass through, as there is no other side,” in his message.
“For us, grief became a way of life, an approach to living, where we learned to yield to the uncertainty of the world, whilst maintaining a stance of defiance to its indifference. We surrendered to something over which we had no control, but which we refused to take lying down.
“Grief became both an act of submission and of resistance — a place of acute vulnerability where, over time, we developed a heightened sense of the brittleness of existence. Eventually, this awareness of life’s fragility led us back to the world, transformed.”
While Cave seeming channelled a large proportion of his grief into creative means during the recording of The Bad Seeds’ furiously emotional sixteenth Bad Seeds studio album Skeleton Tree, the musician confessed that the feeling of grief is “much more than just despair” and comes in many variations.
“We found grief contained many things — happiness, empathy, commonality, sorrow, fury, joy, forgiveness, combativeness, gratitude, awe, and even a certain peace. For us, grief became an attitude, a belief system, a doctrine — a conscious inhabiting of our vulnerable selves, protected and enriched by the absence of the one we loved and that we lost,” he wrote.
Adding: “In the end, grief is an entirety. It is doing the dishes, watching Netflix, reading a book, Zooming friends, sitting alone or, indeed, shifting furniture around. Grief is all things reimagined through the ever emerging wounds of the world. It revealed to us that we had no control over events, and as we confronted our powerlessness, we came to see this powerlessness as a kind of spiritual freedom.
“Susie’s grief has become part of her chemistry, it moves through her bloodstream like a force, and though she often inhabits the liminal space at the edge of dreams, she remains strong in her powerlessness and obstinately awed by the workings of the world.”
He concluded: “Susie says to tell you she is very sorry to hear of your losses, very sorry, and looking at her now, I can only say to you both, that in time, there is a way, not out of grief, but deep within it.”