..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.

…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.

…there are a lot of missed opportunities!

I got the impression in the nine years when we have met several times, that you haven’t been a woman who missed opportunities or easily let them pass while standing by and doing nothing. And with you, I sometimes learned to see an opportunity and take it. Most often at least. It is all about living NOW, HERE. I didn’t always succeed, and I feel it now that you are gone. I remember specifically a night in Stuttgart in 2011, I think. You had a concert on Neckarsulm and at night drove all the way back to your hotel in Stuttgart. We had a feeling and followed the bus. It wasn’t the shortest drive in the world, so when we finally saw you arriving at the hotel, we saw that it was already past midnight, close to 1 am. We – four fangirling women in a car – were hesitating if the time was right to approach you. Back then we didn’t know about the apparently new rule “no pictures after the concerts”, but we hesitated anyway. Well, one of us had the guts to approach Per, who walked out of the bus almost directly after the doors had opened. He refused to take a photo, but then he saw us, thought about it again and agreed. I took the photo, because I couldn’t bring myself to be on it. He was clearly tired and I felt bad to bother him, especially since I knew I would meet him the next day for an organized meet and greet at the next concert.

However, in the back, something weird happened. You strolled out of the bus, a bottle of beer in your hand. And you looked to your right, where we were standing, checking the photo with Per, who just had left to go inside. You were walking so slowly that we could have approached you like ten times with no hurry and the looks you gave us clearly indicated that you WANTED to be approached. But we just couldn’t, even if we kind of agreed afterwards that you were totally waiting for it, and you probably would have even wanted and liked it. So we let you go. And today I think: Yeah, that was SOME missed opportunity. It wouldn’t have changed anything in my life, but it would have changed the moment, and maybe another moment, and a moment after that. And I know that you and I agree on the fact that life is about moments. This example in Stuttgart is just one of many when I didn’t dare approaching you. I was in awe, so please excuse me ignoring you. Trust me, I didn’t.

I wonder how many missed opportunities you gathered in your life. This morning, when I drove my new dog to the vet, I was listening to some Roxette tunes and I got angry again. Not at you, but at fate. I suddenly got the feeling that you had not sung enough. Your voice needed more melodies, more songs, more singing. You never reached a peak, that’s what I have always been saying. You could have sung so much more, so many beautiful songs. And you never got the chance. So, even if you disagree on this, I think this is definitely a missed opportunity.

And what I learn from this train of thoughts – basically another thing that your existence taught me, brought me, and leaves me striving for: Cherish the moments, make the best of each moment you get. And if you are afraid something might turn out wrong, do it. Now more than ever! It is probably worth it. And if turns out to be a bad decision: Life is also about bad decisions.

So, this day leaves me thinking that I would have loved to hear some cover versions sung by you: some Beatles tunes, some other 60’s tunes, some beautiful ballads and bluesy songs. And most of all I regret that you haven’t been able to write some music on your own anymore, because, honestly, even if large parts of the fandom would disagree, your own songs were the most intense, of course. You proved it with Sista Sommarens Vals, even when there was nothing to prove anymore. Thank you!

..gratitude has taken over!

I haven’t written for a couple of days now, because I was on a rescue mission. I guess you would have approved, but who knows, right? My brother and I drove 3200 km in 46 hours to save two dogs. As you can imagine, I was a bit tired afterwards, and I still am. But the dogs are fine at least.

Two weeks without you we are already. I must admit that I can’t say I miss you more than I missed you the 3,5 years we didn’t see you or hear from you before. You were just gone, just as you are now. And maybe that was a clever thing to do. We – the fans- shouldn’t remember you as a weak, sick woman who will eventually have to succumb to this illness. You wouldn’t have wanted it, and trust me, we wouldn’t either. I became aware of that suddenly: The way you should be remembered.. striking a pose, celebrating life, celebrating your passion, singing, on stage. I promise I can do that.

The last time I saw you was on Vienna airport after the concert in Vienna in 2015. You weren’t in a good condition, and back then I already said to my friend Patricia, who was travelling with me, that this tour is over now for me, not only the tour, but the whole journey, because I am not able to stand that view, to see you weak. It was painful. And it was my end, our end of a 24 year long journey.

I had some weird encounters by the way. People who don’t understand being a fan also don’t understand my grief, my mourning. They can’t even grab the fact that a person is able to love a human being without knowing them at all or well or a bit. But I guess I knew you a bit. They don’t understand that you can just love someone like that, for what they appear to be, a role model, an idol. And that’s what many of us did. Those are the people I am in contact with the most now. Everyone else lives outside this bubble, outside our world. And it is actually totally pointless to try to explain it to them. I gave up on it.

You will forever remain my number one. Nobody ever will replace you. And that’s one of the many things that will always make you the most special person in my life. That’s something, right?

…there is this guy I know…

and I am pretty sure you have seen him once or twice. He is in his sixties, but not looking a day older than 52, I’d say. Love hit him when he was around 33 or 34. It was a big love and he became a father very soon after falling in love. Then he got married and his wife had another child. In between, they hit the road, because his wife was a popstar at the time, which means that she had to travel the world with her partner in the duo she formed. So, he followed around, taking care of the firstborn, the second child, a boy, hadn’t been born then. You could tell by the way he looked at his wife that he really loved her. And when you saw how she looked at him, then you knew that those two had found something bigger than life. He was a musician, too, just not as well-known or famous or rich. But, at least on the outside, he didn’t seem to care a lot. He carried that burden like it was nothing, and I doubt it’s easy for any man to live in the shadows.

He was the kindest guy I ever met, he understood how important fans are, he was always trying to meet his wife’s needs and her fans’. And it often worked perfectly.

When they had their second child, she decided it was time for a break. Together, they produced a solo album of hers, he did the arrangements, and to the day it is my favourite album, even if the rest of the world thinks that the one she had released before that was her best ever. I loved the guy almost as much as I loved you.

Then his wife got sick, seriously ill. Sounds familiar? Their children had just turned 9 and 6. He took care of them and his wife. I am pretty sure that it was the hardest and at the same time the easiest thing he ever did. He helped her to push through and despite every prognosis she survived. And when she was healthy again, she decided it was about time to hit the road once again. Maybe for the last time. So, again, he packed his suitcases and followed her. It was the only thing he knew, the only right thing to do. While she was sick, he managed even to release a solo album of his own. It’s actually a quite underrated record, I must say. Well, if you find a copy here or there.. buy it. It’s called “A family affair” and I recommend the tracks “Lilly” and “What am I supposed to do” especially.

A decade later, his wife’s health began to fail once again. This time it was clear that there was nothing to prevent it. They could slow it down, but not stop it. Once again, he took care of her, he was there when she needed him the most. Well, to be honest, all I am writing here is just an impression I got from the outside. I don’t know how everything was on the inside. But a man that stands by his woman for 17 years, that not always have been easy and light, that means something. I admired his strength, his love and the way he was able to also take care of himself.

Dear Marie, what can I say? The story doesn’t end well. His wife died eventually. She fought as long as she could, and now he’s alone. The children are grown up, there’s nothing left to prove. And for a few days now, this man is constantly in my thoughts. I wonder how he is doing, what he is doing, how he is holding up, if he saw it coming for a long time. I feel for him, and my love and compassion for him is pouring out of me in a way I didn’t expect.

And you know what? All I wish for him at this point is to find happiness again one day. To receive love, support, understanding – exactly like he was able to give to his wife. To you. I want him to wake up one morning and be free, light, glad, grateful and ready for his life. It won’t be too soon, maybe, but it will come! Because he deserves it.

..we hoped for something else…

and you know that, right? First of all, we wanted you to live forever, of course. Healthy, peaceful, with lots of love, good food and blessful moments to remember. When we realized that we wouldn’t get that, we hoped that you at least would get old enough to say that your life has been lived. We actually never figured you off stage.

I remember one chat right before your solo concert in Jönköping in 2014. It was a Friday night and we were giddy. Two concerts ahead, another weekend filled with friends, joy and MOST OF ALL YOUR VOICE! You know that sometimes, during your shows, I just sat there and listened with my eyes closed. IN THE FRONT ROW. Others would have maybe wanted to hit me for that, but all I needed in these moments was your voice. Especially during my favourite song of all times, Det Regnar Igen. And I remember the feeling I had when you played it in Helsingborg, on your opening night. I felt so blessed that I got to hear it live. At last.

Well, however, back to Jönköping. There we stood, waiting to get inside, talking, excited. And we wondered how you could actually ever be without the stage. We just couldn’t imagine and we made some bad jokes about it. Like… someone pushing you on stage in a wheelchair, microphone in one hand and the other doing a victory sign and a bright grin on your face. And since we knew that your walking wasn’t the best at that time already, we invented kind of stage treadmill which would bring you from one side to the other – and a walking frame in front of you. We laughed, we were so happy. It wasn’t because of the jokes, but because of the fact that we were there, about to see you on stage that night, convinced that this glorious feeling would never end. The joy of seeing you on stage, the joy of being in your aura, being part of your aura, having our batteries refilled. Because that’s – among many other things – what you could. You could recharge batteries just like that.

That night in Jönköping felt so light, it felt so natural for us, too. We came for what we were – also – born for: following you around, like paper and glue. You do very well know that we had this kind of symbiosis from the beginning. You needed us and we needed you, and for probably all of us something like this will never happen again. It was once in a lifetime. And please forgive us our jokes, but I know you would have laughed as well.