I never knew him. In fact, before he died I didn’t even know his name. I was drawn to his music and that’s all that mattered at the time. But now I find myself struggling to make sense of his life and his death.
I discovered Chester Bennington and Linkin Park about a year ago. His music touched me in ways that I never thought possible. Music has the ability to get through and touch the deep parts of your life. When a song is right, it feels as if it was written just for you.
Chester Bennington was like that for me. I felt like he wrote for me.
It’s difficult to put into words how a song or an artist impacts you. Words are not enough. Music is a language to itself and to attempt to write about how music touches you is like trying to describe how water feels if you have never felt it.
Two years ago I went through the darkest season of my life. Living inside of my life felt hopeless and dark. Some days I stayed in bed far too long and I could not shake my demons. I just wanted to end the pain. Part of my mind whispered convincing lies. “Your family will be better off without you” it said.
Some days I was convinced that there was no future. I could see the concern in my families eyes. I felt empty and tortured. I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I was fortunate that I received help and support. At times the healing has been slow, but I can say that I am more hopeful today than I have ever been.
Hearing about Chester Bennington and how he took his life has shaken me. I look back on that time in my life and I am thankful that I did not take my life. I am more connected with my family and friends and this has made the difference for me. I have learned to appreciate moments and let go of expectations. And I have learned that healing is not about feeling constant happiness. Stress, pain, dark moods come but they no longer overtake my mind.
It troubles me that the world has lost a great artist and songwriter. His voice is silent. His seat is empty at the supper table. His side of the bed is now cold. His family is grieving and at a loss.
At first I was angry. Why would he do it? I love his music and I want more. But I don’t and I can not understand the pain that he carried. As I searched for answers to my question I learned that he faced years of childhood sexual abuse and his parents divorced when he was young. Learning this makes the loss even harder because his story is my story.
He wrote openly about his pain and his vulnerability has touched me.
It feels strange to miss someone that you have never met. But I do. It’s like a hole has been ripped in my soul. He is gone and his music now sings from the grave.
My grief sits at my feet but rather than pulling me into despair, I am filled with resolve to live each and every day. He reminds me of the importance of having courage to own your pain, giving yourself permission to scream when you need to, learning to enjoy the life that you have, and learning to accept your demons while not surrendering to them.
Chester, who cares if one more light goes out? I do.
If you feel like taking your life, you are not alone. Help is only one step, one call away. The US Suicide Hotline can be found here or by calling 1-800-273-8255.
First published by smswaby on the Good Men Project
Photo by Kristina Servant