When my time comes forget the wrong that I’ve done Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed.
Don’t resent me and when you’re feeling empty keep me in your memory leave out all the rest.
– Leave Out All The Rest, Linkin Park
I don’t tend to write these sorts of posts, but I had to get this out of me – It’s all I’ve thought about for the last few days. On July 20th, Chester Bennington, the frontman of the band Linkin Park, was found dead in his home having taken his own life. I was a bridesmaid at the wedding of my friend from university when I saw the news. My parents had seen it back home and had made the decision not to mention it to me so as not to upset me, but there it was on my social media feed, completely obliterating any happiness I felt for a few moments, while I was getting some air outside the venue. I was shocked. I was devastated. I wanted to talk about it. I thought of someone I used to know and wondered if they had heard the news. Our love of Linkin Park was one of the things we had in common as teenagers; it was one of the things that had brought us together and I wanted to talk to them about it. I wondered if they felt the loss as much as I was feeling it. Instead, I pushed the thoughts out of my head and resolved not to think on it until I was home.
I first heard Linkin Park as a child, but didn’t start listening to them and appreciating them until I was around 14 years old. A friend at high school had them on her old fashioned mp3 player and she played ‘Numb’ for me during one break time. From then on, I was obsessed. I would borrow her mp3 at any opportunity just to listen to it. I bought Hybrid Theory and Meteora as soon as I could and played them on repeat. Since then, they have been one of my all time favourite bands. After ‘Numb’, ‘Crawling’ became my new favourite song. Anytime I felt ridiculously angry, I would blast ‘One Step Closer’ out of my speakers to help me calm down. After my mind started warp at 17, I began to relate to many of their songs and I felt understood. ‘Breaking the Habit’ could easily have been written about me and my mental health and ‘Don’t Stay’ & ‘Lost In the Echo’ helped me feel better about a breakup. I grew up with them.
Of course, whenever I hear of a celebrity that has taken their own life, I am always saddened. Robin Williams’ death hit me harder than I thought it would but hearing about Chester Bennington was like being told awful news about an old friend. Maybe it feels worse when it’s suicide because I can relate; I understand how you can feel trapped in your head. I understand how it feels to have another version of yourself inside you, one that dislikes you, fights you and thinks you would be better off dead.
On my journey home from the wedding, it felt only right to Linkin Park on my iPod. ‘Leave Out All the Rest’ came on and I had to fight back tears on the train. Social media has been full of messages about the importance of mental health and the emphasis on how it has to be more talked about openly – particularly for men. But we need to share these positive messages ALL THE TIME, not just when someone influential takes their own life. By then it is already too late.
We should remember Chester Bennington not for the way his life ended, but for the incredible voice and talent that he was. For the way he made us feel and for giving so many of us a sense of belonging, of being understood. For being part of the soundtrack of our childhoods, our teenage years.
So thank you, Chester – for years of great music and for helping so many of us in our own dark periods feel a little less alone. You are still so loved and will never be forgotten. Rest in peace ♥
P.S. The image featured is not mine.