What separates us from other animals on our planet is our ability to reflect, to think about what has happened and what that means for you and those around you going forward. Often we don’t even realize we’re doing it but every once in awhile, life gives you a punch in the gut and you can’t sleep because your mind has gone into hyper drive thinking, reflecting, questioning.
The most recent gut-buster for me was when the news broke about Chester Bennington late last week. For over a week now, I’ve been trying to understand why this time, it hit me so hard. Our world is fucked up, people can’t always handle it or they can’t handle what’s in their head, and we all deal differently. This wasn’t the first time news broke about a celebrity committing suicide and as much I want it to be different, this won’t be the last time, but for some reason, this felt so much different.
I’ve come back to something I’ve known all along, but needed to be reminded of. Music connects people in ways that would never have been possible otherwise. Loving someone’s music is not like loving a movie or an actor/actress. When you see an actor in a movie, they’re portraying someone else. You can create connections to characters and they can make you have various emotions from happy to sad but most musicians are opening up when they perform and wearing their emotions and demons on their sleeve with the lyrics they sing in their songs. Chester was a prototype for this. His lyrics always told us exactly what he was dealing with. In this way, the music I loved when I was growing up and the people who made that music feel like people I’ve known intimately for the past 10-15 years. They feel like extensions of my family. Jim Adkins, Tom Delonge, Ryan Key, Chester Bennington; these musicians and their emotional lyrics helped to define my childhood and my life as a teenager. It may sound ridiculous, but it hurts me that I wasn’t able to help him the way that he had helped me. I would listen to these songs in good times and bad. Music can instill emotions in people, Music can bring people together, Music allows us to connect with thousands of people at a concert, Music can help people get through rough times in their lives.
There are certain songs that give me a range of emotions from happy to sad to contemplative. The song below I heard when I listened to Linkin Park’s latest album earlier this year when it first came out. I really wasn’t a huge fan of LP’s last album so I went in with pretty low expectations. It still wasn’t my favorite, but I remember this song sticking out after listening to the album all the way through. I thought it was beautifully done and showed the pain of losing a friend but i didn’t think any more than that and moved on. But now it takes on such a larger meaning and it will become one of the most powerful songs that illicits a feeling from me. I hope that at some point, this song has the chance to help somebody else like Chester get through their problems and remember that there are people who care and want to help. This isn’t a perfect cover of the song, but it was something I needed to do for myself to be at peace with this.
Who cares if a light goes out in a sky of a million stars? Well, I do.
Rest in peace, Chester.