Last week we received more bad news. The singer for one of the bigger rock bands of my generation passed away.
Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington is the second big name in the rock community to take his own life this summer. Just barely two months ago, one of the pioneers of alternative and “grunge” rock, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, was found dead from an apparent suicide in a Detroit hotel. Two months and two days later, Bennington was found after taking his own life.
To make it even more surreal, Bennington was found on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
The two were close friends, Cornell’s death hitting Bennington very hard. Even so, Chester’s friends would say that they never suspected that he would consider suicide. In fact, TMZ reported that he bought his family a new house the month before his suicide. It would end up being the place where his body was found.
He was also set to begin a world tour with his band the following Friday (which would be the Friday after this Metro Spirit hits the yellow boxes). Eerily, the tour was called the “One More Light” tour, named for a Linkin Park song that is about dealing with the death of a loved one or friend and letting people know you care, something that Bennington was obviously struggling with.
I don’t claim to have a lot of experience and knowledge when it comes to suicide. I’ve lost some friends in this manner and some friends of friends or so on. But I’ve seen the way it affects those close to the deceased. Or, I’ve seen it to the degree that those people have let it be seen. Meaning: I haven’t seen the sleepless nights wondering why and what if… I haven’t been in the therapy sessions. I haven’t experienced the tiny memories that bring uncontrollable emotions. But I know those things are there and I know it’s a reality for some very close friends and relatives in my life that I don’t want to experience myself.
I’ve always thought suicide was very selfish. Maybe a person is going through a moment or even several moments in life that make it seem like it’s the only way out. Some people have deeper reasons. But it’s also creating a life full of consequences, like those mentioned above, for those left behind — like Bennington’s six kids. That’s not the life I want to create for the people I love in my life. I would think that most people would feel the same about their loved ones.
Even so, I know depression and the way it can warp one’s thought process. Even I get in moods where I’m angry or upset over who knows what. Sometimes I don’t even know what the mood is about and that usually makes me even more depressed or angry. But, I can usually recognize it. It’s the reason there’s a punching bag hanging in my garage. Man, that thing helps me through some tough times! I would never dream of taking my own life, but the next person might.
If you suspect someone may be going through a tough time, you never know what might help: Let them know you care, offer a non-judgmental ear or maybe just a smile and a wave. A quick Google search can show you some of the things that have helped others who thought they’d had enough.
For people who may be in that position: Please reconsider. I’ve seen what it has done to some people I care a lot about. Many are now broken people because of it. There’s always help. If not a loved one, ask a friend. If not a friend, ask a stranger. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255