On Saturday, February 6th 2016 I was finally able to go see Black Sabbath in concert. I went with an old friend and had a blast posing with protesters, taking in the heavy metal music, and basically enjoying life. It was quite honestly a concert highlight for me, in a year that has seen me attending the most concerts of my life (cue up the mid-life crisis jokes). That night – me + a friend living out our heavy metal dreams – was also the last night of life in the Philadelphia suburbs for an Aunt that I was very close to.
I woke that Sunday to a somber message from my Mom asking her to call. Bleary eyed and confused, I called her. My Aunt had passed away early that morning after an unexpected asthma attack w/ complication. I had been very close to my Aunt in the days after college – I had even worked with her for a year after she put in a good word for me. The 3000-mile distance between Seattle and Philadelphia never felt far away when I saw her on my visits home. We had a natural relationship that I expected to last another 35 to 40 years. I broke down on the phone that day, then later again on the phone with my Mom and Great Aunt. Then…nothing. I’ve blocked out the pain and have distracted my thoughts when they present themselves.
In the summer of 2015 Nick Cave lost his 15-year-old son Arthur in a tragic accident. He died after falling off a cliff near Ovingdean Gap in Brighton, England. I remember reading the articles and wondering “How does someone recover from something like that?”. I felt the pain would almost be insurmountable. When Skeleton Tree – the 16th studio album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – was announced, I was intrigued. How can an artist regroup and move forward in the face of unimaginable tragedy? Little did I know, this album would help me to deal with the grief and pain that I have suppressed since my Aunt passed away.