Like most music fans, the news of singer Chester Bennington’s suicide has shaken me rather heavily and in more ways than one.
For starters, I think it’s safe to say that despite anyone’s personal knowledge — my own, included — of any Linkin Park song past the group’s made-for-MTV Collision Course EP with Beyonce’s hubby JAY-Z, the majority of us truly knew just how influential the 41-year-old Bennington still very much was on July 20, the day we all learned of his heartbreaking passing.
Secondly, and incidentally, with mention of the EP that bore the overplayed, but still amazing “Numb”/”Encore,” a game-changing reworked edit of one of Linkin Park’s biggest contributions to pop radio from their Meteora disc with a cut from Jay’s 2003 The Black Album, respectively, Bennington did something with his talent that only a handful of other entertainers, like the aforementioned JAY-Z, rarely achieve in their entire careers: He gained worldwide notoriety.
But that’s neither here nor there, for the record.
What I would like to discuss is something that I began to take notice of not even an hour after TMZ first publicized that Chester Bennington had committed suicide — people commenting that his suicide was “selfish” to the people he left behind and yadda-yadda, I’m gonna stop you all right there.
First of all, did any of your mommas and daddies ever teach you not to speak ill of the dead?
No? Then, how about when that “selfish” dead man was a Chester being a child molestation victim who tried to heal his hurt with a barrage of alcohol and drugs? Do any of you feel bad yet?
Good, you should. That’s victim shaming, by the way. But again, I digress (albeit purposely this time).
But beyond all of that: Imagine, if you can, how someone on the verge of suicide must be feeling at that exact moment when they decide that this is the time where their life must end.
Imagine, if your hearts can handle it, that unbelievably high level of hurt and sadness and multiply it times 10, and then realize that the despondency, that seemingly never-ending depth of despair and desperation that a suicidal person feels, will ultimately be multiplied by 11 not by the next day or even the next hour. Try the very next second.
And then, the cycle repeats. For years. For decades and, scarier still, sometimes for life. If they’re lucky enough to see it, that is.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what depression is. And that is not something that cannot be helped or easily controlled with any kind of substance, legal or otherwise. And occasionally, that depression leads its sufferers to do something somewhat selfish that, unlike how some of you are stating such, isn’t actually selfish to that person suffering from depression at all.
To that person, it’s an amazing gift: The gift of solace.
To that human being with so much heaviness on their heart at the edge of their life, it is a way out of that unending pain forever; not just for themselves, but for everyone who has to witness them go through that pain, day in and day out, including others who love that person unconditionally, while unintentionally adding to this person’s hurt because they loudly and repeatedly just can’t get why this depressed person that they love so very much just can’t “snap out of it” and be okay.
And then, that cycle continues. For years. For decades and, scarier still, sometimes for life. If they’re lucky enough to see it, that is.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what Chester Bennington was most likely feeling when he committed suicide on July 20, 2017. Was the act he followed those emotions up with selfish? Maybe in action, but in his heart, Chester probably believed that he was actually being incredibly selfless. And I get that, too.
Respect the man, y’all. He’s no longer here to defend himself.
[Featured Image by Beth Gwinn/Stringer/Getty Images]