Thousands mourned when Kurt Cobain, the greatest icon of the grunge era, was found dead on April 8, 1994 at his Lake Washington residence. The 27-year old rocker had committed suicide, firing a gun to his chin after leaving a note. When an autopsy was done, elevated levels of diazepam and heroin were found in his body. The incident was the third and final suicide attempt of the musician who was known to have battled depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction for years.
If you look back at Kurt’s life, you’ll conclude that his death was sort of inevitable; that it was going to happen no matter what. His close friend and band mate Dave Grohl said, “Sometimes you just can’t save someone from themselves.” True. But what if you can? What if you could have? What if when Kurt entered rehab for the first time in 1992 he was given proper treatment? What if he didn’t quickly get back on tour after he had left rehab? What if he’d gone to a sober living Los Angeles home instead? If his well-being was given priority instead of his professional commitments, he would’ve probably had more chances of getting treated.
The same set of questions will come to mind if you think back to what transpired on March 25, 1994 – the day when Kurt’s wife Courtney Love (with several of Kurt’s closest friends) staged an intervention. The intervention was received poorly by the frail musician, but Kurt eventually agreed to undergo a detox program in a Los Angeles rehab facility. Kurt had already attempted to commit suicide twice and his depression and heroin addiction were at an all-time-high.
The problem was, the rehab facility was unaware of Kurt’s depression and suicide attempts. Had they known it, then Kurt probably wouldn’t have been able to leave the facility just after a day’s stay. He wouldn’t have left for Seattle in a very unstable state. If he had been pressed to stay, he wouldn’t have succumbed to the lowest point of his depression. If his condition was properly addressed, he wouldn’t have gone missing for days after he’d gone back to Seattle. If he’d been given the proper treatment and had gone to a sober living Los Angeles house for a better transition phase, he would’ve received better support and improved his chances of survival.
But the most important thing of all, if Kurt’s childhood had been better and more ideal, then he probably would’ve had better chances of turning his life around. In fact, he wouldn’t have lit up a joint at 13 and experimented with solvents and other drugs as he grew up. He would’ve probably concentrated more on his craft rather than getting high. Moreover, if the real cause of his stomach pains had been known and properly treated, he wouldn’t have gone taking heroin to dull the pain.
Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. Then again, he’s long been dead. No more interventions, rehabs, or sober living Los Angeles homes. No more Nirvana. No more Kurt Cobain. Imagine if this was you or your loved one. What measures would you have taken to prevent suicide?