The Wandering Monk

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Suicide: What are we thinking?

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If you haven’t heard, I am sorry to be the one to tell you.  Co-Lead Singer and powerful, dynamic vocalist Chester Bennington of Linkin Park was found dead this morning.  The cause of death was apparent suicide.

Prior to his death, Linkin Park released a new album titled “One More Light” and the song for which the album was named was about those who endure the suicide of their loved ones and coping with such loss and anger that must follow.  It was penned by Chester, presumably about his close friend Chris Cornell, who committed suicide two months before.

I won’t even pretend to know what Chester was going through — whether through his loss of his close friend, or from any of the other demons he must have been privately facing — but there is something to be said about a man who has always had a way of describing and and writing about emotions that plague us all in deep, yet simple methods.  We can hear a variety of Linkin Park songs and find notes that touch private places of our emotional memory and give us a kind of empathy.

It’s through this connection to Linkin Park that we’ve grown with them over the years.  And it’s only through this connection that we can peer into the emotional surface of Chester’s ocean of unknown emotional depths.

Consider that Chester knew full well what agony those who survive a loved one’s suicide go through — first hand, as he has only recently gone through it — yet he decided to go through with it.  Consider what torment he must have had and how much he must have agonized over it.  Who knows if he had these ideations when he was writing “One More Light” or if they came around after his friend’s death.

We may never know what he was thinking or what he was going through.  Even if he spelled it out for us, we would be a third party to the private rollercoaster he was on, watching from afar and only hoping to understand it in some way.

What is more compelling still is that he isn’t a man who is ‘new’ to the emotional spectrum.  His entire life had, in some way, been a process of developing coping mechanisms with emotional situations.  He was no stranger to that battlefield.  Yet on the surface, he was able to be both calm and expressive, focused and creative.

And finally, what I find most compelling, is that such a face seen each day by his friend and family was one that hid such torment, inside a person so well tuned to the demons he was facing.  In many ways, others looked to him as an example — that if someone like him can make it, then we’ve all got a shot.

What are we thinking now?

I’m thinking that we must never forget that we know next to nothing about those we encounter each day.  I’m thinking that we must always remember that we all have our own demons to face and we must face them each and every day — and that just because we all have them, doesn’t make them any less dangerous for each of us.  And that if they win, that no amount of success or emotional intelligence can save us.

It’s in times like these that we should embrace compassion.  Keep the darkness from the edge of our sight by keeping the light of what makes our lives positive in our focus.

Perhaps in some way, we can look at the poetry of his death with a kind of beauty.  I mourn the loss of such a talented and creative person, and I do not celebrate the loss.  But a man who can write an album that comforts his dearest friends and family and faces his end while honoring his close friend’s death.. well, let’s just say it’s one, final example of his beautiful mind and his expressive heart, as tragic and as punctuated as it is.

I’ll end this post with the lyrics from ‘One More Light’.  Mr. Bennington, where ever you are, we love you and we miss you.  Thank you for sharing so much of your gift with the world.

Feature Image by ariefpeinz

LINKIN PARK – One More Light

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The reminders pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

Well I do

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