Few celebrity deaths hit me hard. Sure I’m generally sad for the loss of a talented human, and what they meant to other people but I say it’s sad, and then go about my day. Not so with Chester Bennington. His death hit me harder than I ever imagined it would. It’s been years since I had an obsessive love affair with Linkin Park’s music. It’s been a few years since I had such a down turn I listened to their music on repeat, but July is hard for me. 13 years ago in July my sister hung herself. She was 16 years old. Her last words to me were ‘fuck you’ over some stupid squabble. She was my best friend, but we had a love hate relationship. She slept on the floor of my room every night so she didn’t have to be alone, but with a bold Leo personality if you crossed her in any way she’d curse you out, only to forget about it hours later.
We were both depressed as teens. I don’t think there was any escaping depression in the environment we were raised, and I haven’t suffered it since moving out. I escaped, she didn’t. I firmly believe had she had the chance to get away and live on her own she would been much better too. She and I used to listen to Linkin Park together. Hybrid Theory got me through a lot. I used to listen to the album on repeat in my car or on my discman.
Some of Linkin Park’s lyrics got me through some really hard times including my sister killing herself. So when I saw Chester Bennington killed himself the same way my sister did, this month. Barely days after she did it hit me hard. It took me a day to process and then it ripped me from the inside out. It’s been thirteen years and I still think about my sister almost everyday. She would have been thirty the 23rd.
It’s been a long time since I blamed myself for not being there. Mental illness isn’t rational. It isn’t something that could have been prevented. Reason flees when your mind is that dark. She didn’t do so well alone and I was going to be gone for the weekend. I knew she wasn’t feeling good about me leaving for college a month later and it probably would have happened another day if I hadn’t gone away that weekend. But to this day I hate that I was the only one in my family not home when she did it. Or maybe I should thank her for not putting me through that, because had it not been that weekend it would have been another.
I still think about the guy she was dating at the time who recently admitted he was still in love with her. I rarely open up and talk about her, or this part of my life. It seldom comes up and most acquaintances don’t know I even had a younger sister. It was a life time ago or so it feels like most days. I’m a completely different person and she probably would be too. But as I sit here writing this, with tears in my eyes, I can’t believe the world we live in where this is still such a huge problem.
I don’t know Chester Bennington’s personal life, and can’t claim to be an authority of any sort. But I do know how his loved ones feel, and the profound loss they are dealing with. The pain they will suffer though for years to come. I mourn the loss for the music world, and kids who used his music to get through hard times.
Just remember if you are depressed and wondering if anyone will care, they will. I can’t impress on you enough how many people suicide effects. Because in the end it does really matter.
And as a reminder for everyone else. You never know what someone else is carrying inside. Lots of people who are going through immense pain and suffering put a smile on their face every singe day. Enjoy all the minutes you get with someone because in the end it won’t be enough. It’s never enough.