Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, committed suicide. According to reports, he hanged himself, possibly on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Authorities found his body Thursday morning around 9 a.m.
To say I am at a loss for words is an understatement. I apologize in advance if this post is rabbling.
I found out about Chester while checking my Facebook feed. I immediately assumed it was a hoax, but I checked the news feeds anyway. I was completely stunned. Within minutes I got eight different texts from friends and family, including my father and one of my uncles.
According to one of my brothers who I was with at the time, I sat in a daze for a while. Linkin Park is a fundamental part of my life. Their music, especially Chester’s lyrics, helped me cope with my past. I probably would not have managed those early years without the band.
I first heard their music in my last year of high school. I cannot listen to Hybrid Theory without thinking about that time. Meteora came out around the time I really began to address the aftermath of my experiences. That entire album could be the soundtrack of my life. By the time Minutes to Midnight came out, I had a much better handle on things,yet the album still played a huge role.
I do not know any of the members of Linkin Park personally, yet finding out about Chester killing himself felt the same as when I heard about one of my uncle’s suicide. I was quite close to crying. I do not know any of them, and yet they are an important part of who I am. Losing Chester is like losing a member of my family.
I am still in shock over it. I am not so much surprised that it happened as much as I was simply caught off guard. From the first moment I heard Linkin Park’s music I associated it with the abuse I experienced. I instinctively knew that this what some of the songs were about. It did not surprise me to find out that Chester had been sexually abused as a child.
Chester turned to drugs as a child to cope with the abuse and his parents’ divorce. All that pain is in his lyrics and voice. It is impossible to miss.
That kind of pain does not go away. It can be managed, but it is always there. One of Chester’s way of dealing with it may have been music. However, pain like that usually needs a stronger anchor, and often several of them.
For me, those anchors are my cousin and godson. As many times as I have considered taking my life, the hurt it would cause them keeps me from doing it. Their love keeps thoughts out of my head. They are the most important people in my life, and I could not be more grateful for getting the chance to know them and watch them become men. But if anything were to happen to them, if one of them were to die, I know I could not bear it.
I suppose this may have been the same for Chester. If it was, then part of this begins to make some sense. Chester was close friends with Chris Cornell, the former front man for Soundgarden. Cornell took his life two months ago. According to Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Chester could barely get through rehearsing a tribute song for Cornell. He actually skipped the last lines when they played it live.
That kind of hurt does not heal quickly. Perhaps Chris Cornell was one of Chester’s anchors, one of the people who helped him deal with his pain. Cornell’s death could have shattered Chester. While it is possible that had nothing to do with Chester’s actions, it is worth noting that he killed himself on Cornell’s birthday. It could be a coincidence, but I doubt that.
We do not know precisely what prompted Chester to take his life, however, he must have been in a bad place considering that he had six children. It takes a lot to get to the point to be willing to kill yourself and leave behind your kids.
It is also possible that Chester was already dealing with issues and Cornell’s suicide struck Chester as a “good” option for his own troubles.
I do not think suicide is a “good” option. I wish Chester had chosen a different way to deal with his pain.
I may comment more when I can get my thoughts together.