…what’s your status?

Is your energy still up there anywhere? A few days ago I watched a TV show and a guy there said that everyone dies alone, but, if you mean something to someone, if you help someone or loved someone, if even a single person remembers you, then maybe you never really die at all. I couldn’t agree more. As long as there are people on this dying planet who remember who you were, who remember you, you are not dead. Memories stay forever, feelings connected to that memory stay forever.

And suddenly, out of nowhere, you sent us this beautiful message. A recording that’s nothing but a “leftover” in the end, but the text couldn’t be more on fleek! Again! Like it happened with “April Clouds” a few years ago, that happened to become your final song and the words were insanely hitting close to home.

And now when I listen to you singing “let your heart dance with me, I feel that this song was meant to be left out of “Good Karma” to be presented to us now, almost ten months after your death. I start to wonder what others gems you still have in store for us.

Nothing much has changed here, though. At least one of my thoughs each day is saved for you. They come without even trying. You know that you are still missed, right? On some days I worship you for knowing you couldn’t cheat death forever, on other days I worship you for defying death for such a long time, and then, sometimes, I am just incredibly amazed by the strength you had defying death while knowing you couldn’t cheat it forever. You are always there with me, providing strength, hope, faith.

You always have been my island, my safe place. I could hide on my island when I needed to. To rest, to breathe, to feel, to live, laugh and love. There have been a few days of rain on that island, too. But it wouldn’t feel right if there wasn’t, right? Usually the sun would shine, though. I would listen to the ocean, the seagulls and the wind. Nobody would come and pick me up, because they simple weren’t able to. Nobody could reach me there. And the day on the island would be perfect as soon as you started to sing – whatever song. The island is still there, it’s still a safe place, but it also has darkened a lot. Because you stopped singing and I know you will never again. So, when I can’t stand the dark weather on my island, I don’t visit. I refuse to go there, just to keep me safe. And when I got the news that we would be listening to a “new” Roxette single soon, I didn’t feel much. It’s more a feeling of indifference indeed. The worst part of my grieving is over, I am done mourning your loss. But I still miss you, and it still hurts. However, I will definitely let my heart dance with you. Always. Because you were beautiful, incredible and wonderful. You still are.

..the day came and passed..!

I certainly underestimated the impact of the first birthday of a loved one that has passed. I knew it would be a special day, sure. But I had no idea that it would hit me that hard. Especially, since I have been and continue to be in a safe place at the moment. My grief, this void inside me, it is safely packed away, stored. It can’t out, it won’t out until I let it. I can look at this deep black hole inside of me and not cry, I can look at it in awe and just stare at it – until it stares back, but nothing happens.

Your birthday was a different issue, though. I woke up, thought of you and and a huge sadness rolled over me. No tears, no. Just a heavy, striking sadness that didn’t leave me for the rest of the day.

Lucky me that I could spend the day with dear friends who loved you a lot. We drank to you, to Micke, to life. We celebrated your gift, your talent, your existence. And it helped to cope with the fact that this was indeed the first birthday without you. The first of many to come. The first without flowers to send to you, as we don’t even know if you have a grave or a place where they COULD be sent to.

After almost six months without you, I still experience moments of “whoa, she is dead”. Then it feels like I just got the news, it’s like realizing it again. And again. And again. On other days I am just grateful, totally aware that your physical presence is gone and happy that your spirit will be with me always. But heaven help me: I. MISS. YOU. And this feeling won’t ever stop. The hole you left in me, this big black void, it can never be filled again and I accepted it. I live with it. And I can deal with it, but on some days it just hurts. Sometimes I have the weirdest dreams about you. Just last week I dreamt that you and Per decided to have one last Roxette farewell concert. We were all there, my friends, foes, people I knew, fans, everyone. We enjoyed the concert big time, no sadness. But then, afterwards, someone had promised you would come out to say goodbye, the drama began. You didn’t come. We waited and waited and waited until suddenly the doors opened and someone from the crew, it wasn’t Bojo, looked around and said: “You can go home, she is already gone. There won’t be a goodbye.” Just like it happened in life.

Do I glorify you? Yes. Is that a healthy thing to do? Probably not entirely, no. Do I care? Hell, no. Why not? Because you saved my life or parts of it at least twice. And this won’t be forgotten.

I try to prepare myself for next year and the year after that and the year after THAT. May 30th will always be a special day for me. The past years I was busy organizing your flower delivery and then anxiously waiting for your reaction. This year: silence. Next year: more silence. And the more time passes, the easier it might be, but the clearer it will also become that you have entirely gone, passed, dissolved in eternity.

..it’s been a while now…

and everything has changed since you have passed. I never expected it to hit me in a way that everything would change. So, what did change?

I laugh less. You wouldn’t like it, you would tell me to go and live my life and have fun, but I can’t just yet. Yes, I have some really good moments, but I definitely laugh less, I am less happy than I was.

I started to drink more alcohol to numb the pain. I usually don’t drink much, but in the past two months the amount of alcohol intake increased significantly. I am slowly starting to reduce it now, because yes, alcohol might help for a short while, but it’s not a way to cope with pain. And it doesn’t ALWAYS help anyway. So, I am on a good path here.

I stopped cooking. I just don’t have energy to cook. I eat a lot of fast food, chocolate, coke, coffee – call it soul food. I just can’t bring myself to follow a healthy diet. I started once or twice to get back to my old habits, but then I break again and I need my comfort food. My body doesn’t like it much, but my soul does. Not sure when this changes back again, not soon, I predict.

I stopped working out. Yes, I don’t have any energy to work out . Of course, I have a dog to take care of, we go for long walks and my daily steps increased a lot (from 3,500 a day to 11,000 at most days), but I don’t have any energy left in my body to do proper workouts for my muscles. I used to love the barbell training last year, did it three to four times a week. Now I just sit on my sofa, look at the barbell and keep thinking: “Naah, not today. I can’t.”

Another perfect way to numb any pain and kill unpleasant thoughts: watching tv. I binge watched some tv shows for hours and hours and hours, with almost no break. Especially during the weekends. I didn’t care much to meet friends or family. I wanted to be on my own for most of the time and watch tv. I watched all 12 seasons of Bones, e. g., in a couple of weeks only. My brain started to turn into apple sauce and I finally managed to break at least THAT cycle. First step: no more tv in bed. As soon as I leave the living room to go to bed, I go to bed to sleep or to read. But no more “watch until you fall asleep” in the bedroom. It works so far, and I can happily announce that I finished a book!!!! Finally, after weeks of not reading a word or managing to finish one page. It feels good and it helps to get back to a more healthy sleep rhythm.

Those are just a few examples of how my life changed since you died. I know that you would hate it, but it just happened. And it shows me that your death really really hit me hard. Harder than anything that ever happened to me before. And I wouldn’t say that the day of your passing was the WORST day of my life, but it was the DARKEST day of my life. It kind of made me stop living my life for a while. I remember other bad days, like when my girlfriend broke up with me – that probably was one of the WORST days of my life, I was shattered, broken, devastated. But I wasn’t living in darkness. Now, I am not broken, shattered or devastated. But I am surrounded by darkness of sorts, living inside of a dark cloud. It’s kind of “funny”, how different bad emotions can show themselves or can be experienced. Your death never affected my daily life, because life just goes on, but my soul definitely needs time to adjust to being in a world without you, while at the same time it tries to be grateful to have been able to share this world with you for a few decades. What a blessing.

..nah, he wouldn’t, ergo: we’re safe. Or would he?

I remembered that thought yesterday. The “he” is Per, the “would or wouldn’t” is connected to touring, the “being safe” part is connected to you. I remembered that train of thought in the car, while listening to the Mazarin album. It was 2003 and we were so worried about you. We didn’t know anything about your well-being, how you were doing, where you were, how the odds were. I remember that somebody told me that you probably wouldn’t survive this illness very long, and that your prognosis probably was between 1,5 and 2 years. I refused to accept it, I purely denied it. And I connected my denial to Per Gessle releasing a solo album. He certainly wouldn’t record and release a solo album while you were fighting death, would he? And he most certainly wouldn’t go on a solo tour in Sweden while you were fighting death, would he? No, he wouldn’t. I so wanted to believe it, and I was kind of sad when I found out years later that, yes, he would. Of course he would, because life goes on and on and on.. after all.

But the belief, the thought that he wouldn’t dare to release a catchy summer album with so many great tunes – even one featuring you on backing vocals, it kept me going, it kept me breathing, it made me stop worrying for a few weeks, because I was so sure that you were well. And I, weirdly enough, thank Per Gessle for doing it, for distracting us. While a part of me still thinks that, were I in his position, I just couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have been able to continue doing the things I was doing all of my life. In my thinking, life would have stopped, and that’s the error: Life never stops. And today I am pretty sure that you loved the album, you loved the tour, you loved På Promenad Genom Stan and you enjoyed the Halmstad concert. That’s what we did until we saw your photo in Aftonbladet or Expressen the other day.

And when Per went on a tour in 2018 and with Gyllene Tider in 2019, I wanted to believe again that he wouldn’t do it if you were fighting death. He would, and it’s good that he did. Again. There’s nobody to blame for anything. Life is life, and we shouldn’t stop living it, because someone close to us is very sick and fighting for their life. It might sound cruel, but I am totally sure that most of the very sick people don’t want us to stop our lives and make the time stop. You certainly wouldn’t.

..I tell you how it happened!

The first time ever I heard a Roxette song was in 1989. I remember the day like it was yesterday. And it’s actually one of very few memories that are very very clear. I stood in my brother’s room who had just purchased a copy of Look Sharp! When I had entered the room, the second song of the album just started playing. It was, as you know, Dressed for Success. I was either 7 or 8 years old, and I remember that I started to move to the music and I was captivated already then by your unique voice. I loved it. But I wouldn’t declare myself a fan at that point. I remember that after that day I forced my brother to play that song over and over again – for weeks. Until I heard some other tunes and loved them equally. It was three years later, though, before my head realized the connection to a band called “Roxette”. Until then, they were just tunes I loved.

Then, a few years later, I got my first CD player for Christmas. And some months later, I bought myself the Joyride album for my 10th birthday. It was the time when I realized that it was the same band who had given me Dressed For Success. I put on the CD and was very quickly tired of the title song. Hotblooded was probably not made for a 10 year old, either. But when I listened to Fading Like A Flower, I was done. I never made it further for months. The only song I listened to for weeks and months was Fading Like A Flower. I listened to it so many times that my mother started me asking me if there aren’t any other songs on that CD. There were, but I didn’t care. I became a fan, and a few weeks into my obsession with “FLAF”, I bought a Roxette Joyride poster at a local store and hung it up the wall with poster strips. You were on it, shining, blonde, strong, mighty. I fell in love with you. You provided a safety, that my home couldn’t give me. My parents’ break up didn’t go well with me. Fear of loss, fear of being abandoned again washed over me, but you where there, providing safety. A certainty that you will never leave me, never ever. You were just there, and you would be forever.

Until I learned that you wouldn’t. And I learned that this part of my grief is anger. You abandoned me, like I was sure you never would. You were my safe haven, my place to turn to when the rest of the world wouldn’t. It’s irrational, I am 38 years old. But as soon as that feeling of loss comes back again, I am immediately 10 years old, standing in my room, looking up at you on my poster. And I am getting angry at you for not keeping the promise you never made.

You were with me for the better part of my life, 28 years of 38 years. And you have always been there for me, and guess what: You didn’t even know it. You didn’t know you were there when I suffered another anxiety attack, when I lost friends or family. But you were, and now, I know, your music, your giant legacy always will, but you are gone. I feel like hovering over an empty space, no place to land, nowhere to go, nowhere to turn to. Yes, I am grieving for myself, for my 10 year old self who thought could change the world by turning a simple woman with a great voice into an icon.

Today, a week after we went to Göteborg, and 49 days after your passing, I feel emptiness, anger and melancholy. And I also realized the past days, that I never really grieved for someone before in my life. That makes me a happy person. Or it says a lot about how I protect myself from being hurt. You could. You were probably the only person on this planet who could hurt me that much by leaving this world. And you did. And I am freaking 10 years old again.

…at first I was waiting for you.

But you didn’t come. Then I realized you wouldn’t come, because you will never come again.

Yes, I attended a concert for you. I imagine that you already know that because you watched from wherever you are. I think you would have approved. Many of your friends were there. They sang for you. We remembered you. We cried. A lot. And we laughed when things went wrong and had to be repeated. You know, Christoffer assembled this, kind of, and I am not sure if I can blame him, but you know what? They chose to start with TRO. I tell you, the piano started, the girl hadn’t even started to sing yet and I felt tears welling up. Then she sang the first word, TRO, and most of us were done. The gates were wide open, we cried, freaking three minutes after the concert started.

And as the evening went on, I realized that you wouldn’t come out at some point, waving, your hands in the air, showing a victory sign or a thumb up, no laugh on your face, because there was no face. You wouldn’t be there to grab a microphone and show everyone that you can sing your songs very well alone. You wouldn’t be there to come on stage and receive a freaking lifetime award for your craft, your music, your work, your LIFE. And that was what hit me the most, what hurt the most. We ran out of miracles, there won’t be another miracle anymore. No sudden healing, no surprising appearance on a small stage in Amsterdam. You just left and this evening was our chance to say goodbye. And here I am, back into grieving, because I have no idea what farewell, what goodbye means. Will I forget you? Will you be there with me until the very end? Did I wave enough to make sure it IS a good-bye? Can I just refuse to let you go? Can I?

You would have loved many of the acts on that January night in Göteborg, few of them maybe not. Personally, I must say that it showed me that you sang your songs best, of course. They all did a great job and you could tell that everyone there gave their whole heart and the best they could. That made it all so special. Everyone in this theater came with love for you and your music. And that turned it into a magic evening. I am so grateful I could be there, grateful to be a part of this, still. Grateful that I could talk to the band and meet people I have met as many times as I went to concerts, but now probably will never see again. 28 years of my life passed me by in a haze. And I am not even 40 yet.

While you always saw yourself on a table in the sun with a bunch of roses and described it as your ultimate place and moment of peace, I want to believe you are somewhere, watching over us, with a smile on your face and a beer in your hand. Always a beer in your hand. And always a sweet tune on the tip of your tongue.

No, I can’t say good-bye just yet. Here I am, planning another tattoo, another picture on the wall, another blog entry, another letter to you. I am not ready yet.

..ignorance is bliss!

It’s good that we didn’t know. It’s good that nobody told us. It’s good that we didn’t know what was coming. Not that any of this was any of our business, certainly not, so nobody would have told us anyway. But that’s not my point. I just learned today that ignorance is bliss. Ignorance CAN be bliss. It’s good that we don’t know when THE day is there. Not only our own THE day, but everyone’s THE day. It’s a mercy that most of us can start each day not knowing if it’s the last of everything or a first day of something new or just a regular day to forget. Bliss.

While I am certain that you had an idea of how much time you would have left, and I am sure your loved ones as well, or even clearer maybe than you, but we didn’t. And I am glad we didn’t. And if you knew, and I am just assuming that you weren’t that well anymore, what would any of us do in this state? Time runs through your fingers, you can’t stop it, you can’t seize the days anymore, all you can do is make your peace with IT, with yourself and everyone around you.

It’s a mercy to just drop dead. No overthinking, no regrets, no last goodbye. A life just ends, another one begins. And that’s another great injustice that I feel at the bottom of my heart. Knowing that you don’t have much time left, trying to fill the days with as much life as possible, being aware that this existence comes to an end. It’s unfair, it’s unjust, nobody deserves it.

This morning, devastating news reached me. A man I know went to the doctor with back pain, nothing else. He came back knowing that his body is full with cancer and he only has a few weeks left. There is no treatment that can cure him. He is dying. And he knows it. What did you do with your time? What would I do with my time if I knew that? Expecting excruciating pain, wasting away. I wonder how you did it. But knowing you as the strongest woman I have ever met, I am sure you even met this fate with a victory sign and a smile on your face.

..I wonder where you are..

I really do.
Where are you? ARE you? What are you? I am not a believer, I don’t do religion, I don’t do God, call me agnostic. That’s what I am. I don’t deny the existence of a God, but as long as I haven’t seen proof, I don’t believe it either. And, anyway, what has dying to do with it? We have physical bodies that we lose when we die, they decay, they go, they are laid to rest, to become one again with the world, with the earth, the ashes. And that’s actually a beautiful way of looking at it, at least for me. So, I want to believe that your body is one again with where you came from, where we all came from. They say that energy is never lost, so something of your existence has to be somewhere. And I wonder where that is. Is it our memories? Are you in us? Is your soul, like, floating around, watching over us, always around? Is there something like that at all? The energy can’t be lost, you know.

I don’t really believe in the concept of heaven and hell, either. Heaven is a place I can’t really imagine. It would have to be a place with trillions of souls floating around, is that even manageable? Just kidding.. ! But, wherever your soul is, wherever your energy has gone, has transformed into: You will also always be a part of me. And, as long as I live, that will never change. And that’s how all of us should look at it. As long as we remember you, cherish you, tell our tales about you, you are very much there, vivid. In the dark moments, this thought really comforts me.

Today, I miss you especially. Yes.

…. I have been busy last week!

Yes, sorry, really.. I mean, I wasn’t really busy, but I was busy denying your death. In a way. There was one night when I woke up at around 2 am and it hit me like a truck, exactly like when I heard it for the very first time: MARIE IS DEAD. I couldn’t fall asleep again and laid in my bed, wide awake, shaking, my heart racing. It was the first time after weeks when I felt the impact of your passing again.

Ironically enough, I have no problem whatsoever listening to your music. To be honest: It’s the opposite. I put all of your tracks (well, at least all I have; Roxette, solo, live, unplugged, demos, remixes, b-sides) on a USB stick and listen to your catalogue constantly since mid December. I love it!

I remember that I had some nice chats with Christoffer regarding your voice; how it became so much rougher after your illness, and how we both love this rough voice of yours, this voice that makes you know in the second you hear it that the person with this voice went through a lot. I must say, I liked that voice of yours really a lot. It was rough, but at the same time totally fragile. I listened to “Ingen kommer undan politiken” and it’s one song where you can hear that “I’ve been through a lot, I am vulnerable and yet invincible” a lot. I am so going to miss listening to new songs sung by your for the first time. There will be no first times anymore. And this is incredibly sad.

I remember the first time that I listened to “Min bäste vän”. At first I was a bit irritated about the production you and Mikael chose, then I didn’t know the songs, but the second time around I adored the joie de vivre of that album. It shines through every line, even in Aftonfalken or Här kommer natten. I will also never forget the first time I heard “Have a nice day”. I was shocked, and it took me three days to get over it. Then I grew to love it, there are some real gems on it. And your vocals are outstanding.

It’s a pity that there won’t be any first times anymore. The fascination of a first moment, a first feeling, a first though on a certain song, melody or lyrics. Your music made my life better, your music WAS a huge part of my life. And I could give you a lot of situations where I heard a special song. The connection is back immediately. Moments I will never forget again. Thank you for that!

And if you read this, you might think I am rambling. I don’t deny it, I am rambling. There is so much in my head right now, that I am not able to sort out first. I needs and wants out, and I let it. You would have approved, I guess.

…RIP means “rest in peace” for a reason!

Wouldn’t you agree? I must confess that I probably never understood the whole meaning behind those words. To let someone rest in peace. Now I totally get it. It means what it says: Let someone rest in peace. Don’t talk bad about someone who died, don’t stir up things that haven’t been stirred when the person was still alive. Don’t spread rumours, and, in your case, I think one very important thing: Don’t make money on dead people.

When you were still alive, I never imagined that disrespectful people who try to make money with your name AND death, would make me angrier than the injustice of your death itself. Guess what? It does. It started with some weird t-shirts that were advertised on Facebook not even 48 hours after the announcement of your death. I really don’t want to describe what was printed on those shirts, you definitely wouldn’t approve. I mean, who the heck wears t-shirts with the dates of birth and death of your idol on it?? And even worse: THEY COULDN’T EVEN WRITE YOUR NAME CORRECTLY.

I admit: This is a huge trigger for me. I can’t ignore it, I can’t not comment on it. It makes me so angry that I am almost losing it every time I see it. A fan site being used to sell a tambourine you gave away in 1994 just added to it. And why is that? Because you were my goddess and no one, and I mean NOBODY ON THIS PLANET is allowed to use you like that! You wouldn’t imagine how many messages I got after your death. The good ones came from people I haven’t heard from in YEARS. Some people I met on the street, neighbors, and the first thing they said, was: “I was thinking of you when I heard the news.” This is the nice part. The not so nice part are messages from people who found my website and my contact and asked me about releases, circumstances of your illness and death, how to reach your family and “stuff” like that. And then people who try to make money by using your name. I am in no place yet to accept this behaviour. And I hope I will never be. Yes, those people will always be there, but do we have to support it? No, definitely not. Too bad that you are far too precious to me to get into this toxic shit. I will always state my opinion, I will always stand my ground when it comes to you, but I must avoid any distraction from you, because in the end it is all about the important three words: REST IN PEACE. So, I want you to rest in peace. I want you to peacefully REST. May your soul find freedom and peace, may your soul be always a part of US fans, of your family, your friends, everyone who loved, admired, supported, liked and cherished you. Everyone else is seriously one of your supporters and never has been, and that’s something I bluntly state. You are too precious to me to do anything else.

So, that’s what all of us can do now: Remember to let you rest in peace. And if we come across some stirred shit on the internet, we can try to make sure that it disappears, that people realize they are WRONG. It won’t prevent stuff like that from happening, but we can try. And if we don’t succeed, we should move on, remember your pretty smile, breathe deeply and remember to grant you your peace. You earned it, you deserve it.

And I can only appeal to everyone out there: Avoid anything that seems to be making money by misusing your name. Move on after you told them that this is not right. Stay decent, be kind. And let her rest in peace.