Beautiful Sorrow: Nick Cave on Love and Loss

Singer, songwriter, and author Nick Cave has been one of my favorite musicians for years. Straddling a unique place somewhere between literate poet and punk rock romantic, Cave’s music has often been dark, violent and unexpectedly touching. With his black suits and deep baritone, there is something perfect about his image as an intellectual rock star. For a long time, I assumed that he somehow whiled his non-performing hours reading Rimbaud in smoky cafes.

The reality was that in recent years, Cave had been a devoted family man living in Brighton, England with his wife Susie Bick and twin sons. In 2015, Cave’s son Arthur died in an accident. His 2016 album, Skeleton Tree, and the documentary One More Time With Feeling are infused with the sorrow of his loss.

Recently, Cave had a touching answer to a question on grief on his site The Red Hand Files:

Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

You can see the full letter here.

If you feel overwhelmed by grief or depression, or need emotional support, know that there are resources available to you. Call 1 (800) 273-8255 to speak to a trained crisis worker at the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Hotline.