To turn Kurt Cobain into a symbol of something -- to hold up his tragic passing as something other than personal tragedy -- robs his loved ones of their personal truths. It means that the discussion isn't about the fact that Frances Bean Cobain will never know her father but about some other capital-letter themes that become about art or figurehead outside humanity.
It hurts my heart beyond measure that my son, whom I loved so very much, didn't feel he could confide in me when he was most vulnerable. I want other parents to let their children know that regardless of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, and especially their HIV status, they are loved, supported, and valued.
Along with all these multilayered personal responses, there was another, much less complicated reaction invoked as I listened to Sgt. Briggs' story, so I'll talk about that one instead. One that is direct, basic, and easy to say. The simple, pragmatic thought that, for me, as I listened, was the Elephant In The Room of this whole TED talk.
If you are one of the survivors, if you are one of those whose loved one completed the jump, or the hanging, or the overdose, or the shot to the head, I have three things to share with you. Three things which might help you yourself survive the days and weeks and years ahead. Three things I learned from the many people who have had the courage and compassion to accompany my family and me in one way or another since the death by suicide of our son and brother. Three things which might help you live in hope.