A fan named Jenz Lund posted on Facebook a few days ago to mark the 23rd anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Lund shared her memories of attending the vigil for Cobain at the Seattle Center, and the bizarre prediction that Courtney Love had for Eddie Vedder.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I was nineteen-years-old when it happened and shaken to the core over the whole thing. Kurt’s hometown (Aberdeen, WA) was like a sister city to my hometown of Shelton. When Nirvana exploded into the mainstream, it felt like anything was possible; regardless of where you were born or who your fucking family was. So when he killed himself, I was devastated. Through his humble beginnings, a genuine disdain for conformity, and that beautiful, gut-wrenching, chill-inducing music, Kurt inspired mutants (like myself) to accept who they were.
So if he didn’t want to live…where did that leave the rest of us nobodies?
Days after his death, there was a vigil for Cobain at the Seattle Center. It was nice to be in the company of so many fellow fans, but there was also a party atmosphere to the event that made me angry. About a dozen of us (maybe more – it was 23 years ago) stayed long after the festivities ended. We sat in the Flag Pavilion listening to music (many of us were still crying) just hanging out among the candles and flowers his fans had placed earlier.
Late that evening, Courtney Love showed up accompanied by Kat Bjelland of Babes in Toyland with a bag of Kurt’s clothes. She was visibly grief-stricken and proceeded to pass the clothes out after asking questions about Kurt (e.g. who did he write About a Girl for?). She handed me his hospital gown from the legendary Reading Festival performance from 1992. She then cried on my shoulder for awhile.
I tried to say something reassuring about his love for her and she pushed me away, insisting that he only loved Frances. She started talking to him through the candles (not in a crazy way, more like how you’d speak to a deceased loved one via their headstone). Kat took my hand while we watched Courtney breakdown. After that, I had a crush on Kat for years. Courtney had a lot to say. For some reason, “Eddie Vedder’s gonna live to be 98!” really stands out. It was sad. And weird. And it blew my nineteen-year-old mind.
Overnight the incident inspired me to learn the guitar. I played in various bands for the next few years and moved to Tacoma. Long story short, I moved away from Tacoma in ‘96 and expected to come back for the rest of my possessions (including the hospital gown), but ended up moving away to Michigan, instead. By the time I returned to Washington State, I figured the gown was in a landfill somewhere. I put it out of my mind. It was history. Just one of those stories you tell to people (and half the people don’t believe it).
Two weeks ago, the gown popped up in my thoughts, again. One of my former friends/roommates, Amy, had mentioned years and years ago that her parents might have placed it in storage. Sure enough, after talking to her for the first time in 15 years, it turned out her parents did, in fact, still have it! I guess it never hurts to ask. I picked it up on Saturday and wanted to share the story with you. Rest in Peace, Kurt.
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