Chester Bennington of Linkin Park Passes Away at 41 - & Why It's So Hard
I was in high school from 1999-2003. Like so many of us, high school was not very easy. I was not necessarily bullied, but I had a hard time making friends. I think it's because I was so shy and preferred to kind of do things on my own. Of the friends that I did make, there were only a handful, maybe, that I could really share things with. Because of that, I would get lost in music.
In 2000 I heard "One Step Closer" on the local rock radio station. The lyrics really spoke to me. I was often angry at the world, angry at myself, and when I heard this song I just connected. Linkin Park went on to put out record after record after record, and I got hooked. It was like they were speaking to me, letting me know that I was not alone in my struggles. All throughout my teenage and even into my 20's, I self-injured. It was my way of feeling something other than emotional pain. It was a way to control my pain. I often thought of suicide...but I made it through those years and now have an amazing life. I don't think I would have made it this far without bands like Linkin Park. They were my therapist, my connection. I went on to meet the band in Nashville one year, and attended several of their concerts. I felt at home there. I met amazing friends during that journey, as well. People who loved Linkin Park, and just wanted to feel connected as much as I did.
Throughout the years, Linkin Park kept making music that I loved. They evolved almost at the same rate I was evolving. As they grew up, their music changed. I changed with them. I absolutely loved their most recent album, One More Light. I have listened to it for the past 2 months pretty much straight, when I wasn't listening to Ed Sheeran lol.
Then came July 20th. One week ago...
I had just arrived home from taking my son swimming, and I was still in my car. The DJ on the local station interrupted a song to tell his listeners that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park had been found dead of an apparent suicide that morning. I was in shock. I just kept saying, "No, no, no, no." I could not believe what I had just heard. Linkin Park, my favorite band for most of my life...Chester...why? I spent the next few days in disbelief. I started going back through songs they had produced and found the meanings of a lot of them haunting. Chester had used his music to share his pain. You could hear it in his voice - hear it in the words of their songs. I had to hold back tears listening to some of those songs...I still do.
"Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars?
It flickers, flickers.
Who cares when someone's time runs out, if a moment is all we are?
We're quicker, quicker.
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do."
I do, Chester. I care. I miss you so much. You touched my life in so many ways, and I will be forever grateful for the strength you gave me to keep going when life seemed impossible. I will always love and miss you.
Victoria (Tori) is a freelance graphic designer located just outside of St. Louis, Mo.