Nick Cave shares advice on battling loss: “In time, there is a way, not out of grief, but deep within it”

"Grief became a way of life, an approach to living, where we learned to yield to the uncertainty of the world."

Nick Cave has opened up on his own experiences of losing a child to provide advice and support for fans going through similarly difficult circumstances.

Arthur Cave died aged 15 after he fell from a cliff in Ovingdean, East Sussex in July 2015.

In the latest edition of his his regular question-and-answer interaction site The Red Hand Files, Cave responded to fans Carol and Luna – who both contacted the singer after recently suffering the loss of a child.

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“Susie [Cave’s wife] and I have learned much about the nature of grief over recent years. We have come to see that grief is not something you pass through, as there is no other side,” he wrote.

“For us, grief became a way of life, an approach to living, where we learned to yield to the uncertainty of the world, whilst maintaining a stance of defiance to its indifference. We surrendered to something over which we had no control, but which we refused to take lying down.

“Grief became both an act of submission and of resistance — a place of acute vulnerability where, over time, we developed a heightened sense of the brittleness of existence. Eventually, this awareness of life’s fragility led us back to the world, transformed.”

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Nick Cave performs live. CREDIT: Getty

Opening up on the evolving nature of his grief, Cave explained how it proved to be “much more than just despair.”

“We found grief contained many things — happiness, empathy, commonality, sorrow, fury, joy, forgiveness, combativeness, gratitude, awe, and even a certain peace. For us, grief became an attitude, a belief system, a doctrine — a conscious inhabiting of our vulnerable selves, protected and enriched by the absence of the one we loved and that we lost,” he wrote.

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Cave added: “In the end, grief is an entirety. It is doing the dishes, watching Netflix, reading a book, Zooming friends, sitting alone or, indeed, shifting furniture around. Grief is all things reimagined through the ever emerging wounds of the world. It revealed to us that we had no control over events, and as we confronted our powerlessness, we came to see this powerlessness as a kind of spiritual freedom.

“Susie’s grief has become part of her chemistry, it moves through her bloodstream like a force, and though she often inhabits the liminal space at the edge of dreams, she remains strong in her powerlessness and obstinately awed by the workings of the world.”

He concluded: “Susie says to tell you she is very sorry to hear of your losses, very sorry, and looking at her now, I can only say to you both, that in time, there is a way, not out of grief, but deep within it.”

Cave’s latest entry comes after he previously discussed how Arthur’s death inspired the 2016 track ‘Girl In Amber’.

The song featured on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds‘ 2016 album ‘Skeleton Tree’, which was being recorded at the time of his passing.

“I was in another studio in Paris attempting to finish ‘Skeleton Tree’. Things had changed,” Cave wrote earlier this year.

“Arthur, my son, had died a few months earlier and I was existing in a kind of fugue-state, numbly sitting in the studio listening to the songs, trying to make sense of the material we had been working on over the last year, and as I listened to the version of ‘Girl in Amber’, I was completely overwhelmed by what I heard.”

In 2019, he also discussed how he feels his son’s presence on a daily basis.

Last month, the Bad Seeds launched a new broadcast stream called Bad Seed TeeVee, which airs rare and unseen footage from the band’s archive 24 hours a day.

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