When I think of Chester Bennington, I smile. And then… I remember the hollow space in my chest that cannot be filled. I remember that he is gone and that my mind will not accept that for a very long time. I remember that I never saw him perform live. I remember… I remember… I remeber… I bring out buried memories that still make me happy and then sad.
Friday routines when Linkin Park was my oxygen.
‘That’s right. Whitey can ‘whoo.”
Moments of clarity when I appreciated their work.
Waiting for the end to come
Wishing I had strength to stand
This is not what I had planned
And lonely moments when I needed comfort.
‘When you’ve suffered enough and your spirit is breaking,
You’re growing desperate from the fight
Remember, you’re loved and you always will be
This melody will bring you right back home.’
On July 20th, I cried for most of the night and listened to my favourite Linkin Park songs.
I slept at 4am.
I googled him countless times that night hoping it was a sick joke, like those trending topics on twitter. I hoped that I would see him on Instagram with Mike going to promote One More Light the following day. I still think that sometimes, and this state of denial feels permanent.
I was 12/13 when I really got into Linkin Park. That was over 10 years ago. I loved them and was lukewarm about them and loved them again. I scribbled Chester’s name, among so many, in my notebooks. I once knew his birthday. Birthplace. The names of his children. The name of his wife.
I tell you this not to sound like the biggest fangirl to ever fangirl but just so we see eye to eye. I defined myself by the music I liked – I still do – but once before I was conscious enough to make my own identity, I used the musicians, music, stories, books and subcultures I loved as my backbone. They shaped me.
I am grateful. I am grateful. I am eternally grateful for the moments when our mania, our sadness, our happiness, our rebellion aligned so well that we understood each other.
Musicians, who stick with you from your teenage years, tap into your core and that is a bond too powerful to trivialise. The like – love – ebbs and flows and you grow and change. But, at the right moment, the perfect moment, you understand each other and you see each other.You say, ‘Hello old friend’ then walk together once more before you go your separate ways.
‘They say that I don’t belong,
They say that I should retreat
That I’m marching to the rhythm of a lonesome defeat
But the sound of your voice puts the pain in reverse.’
I lost an old friend and I’m embarrassed to say that because we neither met nor spoke.
When I think of Chester Bennington, I smile and I cry. I made a friend and I lost a friend. And it breaks my heart.