"I’m holding up a light
Chasing up the darkness inside
And I don’t wanna let you down
But only I can save me"
The month of July marked the 3rd death anniversary of Chester Bennington, the frontman for the band Linkin Park. The irony of his suicide was what shook the entire world to its core. Someone who made his art a purpose, to give hope to everyone who felt they have nothing to love for. For someone like me, who is a huge fan of the band, I couldn't fathom a world without him.
Born on March 20th 1976, he was the youngest of 4 siblings. His mother was a nurse and his father was a police detective who investigated sexual violence. His parents got divorced when he was young, which made him sad. He carried this feeling of abandonment with him for a very long time. When he was young, he was sexually abused by an older male friend.
This took a huge toll on his mental health and he found solace in addiction. He was used to most common drugs like opioid, cocaine, and marijuana with raging alcoholism in his teenage. This addiction was uncontrollable, and led to one broken marriage. To drown out his thoughts and sorrows, along with drugs and alcohol, he put his heart and soul into music.
Putting his thoughts on paper and making art from it was what he was extremely good at. Till date, there are very few who can match the lyrical prowess of Chester Bennington. Around the time he tried to get back on his feet, Linkin Park was formed. The post punk Nu metal-esque music with bass heavy guitars, electronic effects and pounding percussion was the chariot he rode to make his music. His voice could go from very melodic to screaming within seconds. That was the beauty of it.
The screams were beautifully executed, and truly expressed the darkness and struggles he was fighting inside his head. His songs became anthems to people who struggled with the same emotional issues as he did. Those who were close to Chester, said that he never let his personal issues come in between his work or social life. He was always cheerful and happy and wanted to make others feel the same. Maybe this is the reason nobody really knew the extent of his mental illness. Unfortunately, on 20th July 2017, he was found hanging in his home in California with a half-empty bottle of alcohol near him.
I have been listening to his songs since a very young age, and I have always liked its music. But as I grew older, I understood the meanings behind them, and it was as heart breaking as it was redefining. Relying on his voice to give me support every time things went downhill, made me almost dependent on him. Not at all surprising, but he was the only one who helped me cope with his own death.
To think that a person who made it his life's purpose to help people through dark times was left alone in the final moments of his life, with no one for him to depend on, is disconcerting. The world failed Chester.
I never met him. I didn't even see him in real life. But he was still an important part of my life. I truly hope he is looking down from up there, and is at peace with the change he brought about in people.
Rest in Peace, Chester.