Australian musician Nick Cave has offered some moving words of consolation to a fan pondering the lingering presence of lost loved ones, writing tenderly of the communication he maintains with his deceased son, Arthur, and meditating on the nature of grief.
Writing on his website, The Red Hand Files, Cave thanks the fan for her “very beautiful question”, and goes on to reflect that the various manifestations of grief are to be welcomed as part of the mourning process. “It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve,” he writes. “That’s the deal. That’s the pact… Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable.”
Cave and his wife, Susie Bick, lost their 15-year-old son three years ago; much of the artist’s subsequent album, Skeleton Tree, deals with his struggle to come to terms with the tragedy, as does the documentary, One More Time with Feeling. In answer to his fan’s query as to whether he feels his son is still communicating with him, Cave reveals that he does, describing ghosts, spirits and dream visitations as “precious gifts that are as valid and real that we need them to be.”
“These spirits are ideas, essentially,” he advises. “They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility… It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.”