Earlier today, the world was hit with the shocking news that Chester Bennington had died. Chester was, mainly, the lead vocalist for Linkin Park, but also had his hands (and voice) in many other things. Out of High School for just a few years, when LP burst on the music scene and I’ve been a fan ever since. His voice was incredible with a range that at times, seemed off the charts. Songs that resonated with so many people, not just for the words he sang, but for the way he sang them.
Above and beyond the wonders that were and are Chester Bennington, I’m writing because of how he died. News reports state that he hung himself in his home. Suicide. It’s heartbreaking and unfathomable to most anyone how this is the final outcome some people either prefer, or feel is their only option left in life. I know a little, because suicide took someone close to us.
It was 20 years ago. Our dear friend, Mike. He took his own life in the same way as Chester. Mike was the life of every party. He was probably the funniest person I’ve ever met. And yet, with all the joy he brought to those around him, somehow, he was unable to bring a smile to his own face, when he obviously needed it the most. The pain that follows the passing of someone so close, by suicide, floods the mind with pain on many levels. The loss itself, the anguish and guilt of not having seen any signs and/or not being able to stop it. Sadly, you never come to terms with something like that. You may put it behind you, but it’s never far from the surface, at least for us.
I wish Mike felt like he could talk to someone. The demons within won the battle and the war. After he took his own life, information came out about what he was dealing with. He was in the midst of dealing with a very brutal breakup and an outlook of never seeing his young daughter, ever. It completely ate him up inside. Mix in a bit of family history with suicide and life as he knew it, wasn’t worth living. I don’t agree with his decision, but I can see how he would’ve felt he was out of options. Whether it pride or embarrassment, or both, along with a mental illness, he was just too far gone to walk back the decision he was about to make.
If there is anyone in your life who you may suspect is heading down a path similar to Mike or Chester. Please don’t hesitate to try to find a way to help. If you are heading down that path yourself, please get help. Mental illness is real. The pain is real. Help is out there. You are not alone.