When Kurt Cobain died 20 years ago, there was much mystery surrounding his apparent suicide. The note left at the scene was tearfully read by his wife, Courtney Love, out loud to a shocked and grieving group of his fans in Seattle. It was not until this week that Seattle Police released a note that was found in the dead artist’s wallet. This note seems to contradict Kurt Cobain’s suicide letter.
After his body was found in April 1994, almost instantly, allegations arose that Kurt Cobain’s death was no suicide. Yes, Cobain was a despondent soul with a drug dependency. Yes, he was disillusioned by his fame and the direction his band and marriage were taking. However, it was difficult for people, those who knew him and those who followed his career, to believe that he had ended his own life. Not only that, but that he had managed to shoot himself in the head with a shotgun with a shoe on his foot and with a whole lot of heroin and Valium in his system.
The tragic incident had followed an alleged suicide attempt in Rome. While he was in a coma for 20 hours, doctors found alcohol (champagne) and Rohypnol, two substances that Cobain did not use, in his bloodstream. However, a re-fill of a prescription of the drug for Love and champagne were ordered to their hotel room the day before. Afterward he would insist that he had not attempted suicide. He would also contend that he did not remember drinking champagne and taking “roofies.”
The note found in Cobain’s wallet, unlike the suicide note, describes his wife in decidedly unflattering terms. In mock wedding vows, he wrote of Love stealing his money for drugs and illicit behavior. A very different picture from the one painted in his alleged suicide note, where he describes his wife as a goddess. Whether there is any significance to the contradiction between the suicide letter and the note in Cobain’s wallet remains to be seen. Sadly, we may never know.
While the outcry for a re-opening of the case is loud and heartfelt, judging from the 30 lackluster photos also released this week, there is no interest on the part of the Seattle Police. Either that or they are withholding photos that could be used as evidence were the case to be seriously looked at again. Those who loved and knew him all agree that he was not suicidal. Incidentally, all suggestions of Cobain being suicidal did not surface until after his death. He may not have been utterly happy about his life, but he loved his daughter, had plans to record with Michael Stipe of REM and still valued his friendships and musical inspirations. He was not a man who had given up.
Today, Courtney Love has been unusually silent on Twitter. Particularly since she just released a new track. It may be a divine coincidence, but the title of that track is Wedding Day. An often unsatisfying marriage is full of ups and downs. Sometimes a spouse is despised, at turns they are adored. The note in Cobain’s wallet, though it contradicts his suicide letter, may have just been a reminder for himself, a way to protect his breaking heart.
Opinion by Stacy Lamy