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Remembering Chester Bennington: Leave Out All the Rest

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

This morning I got in my car and put Linkin Park on shuffle. “Leave Out All the Rest” poured out of my speakers and I became a teary mess.

If I’m honest, I thought I was more upset about Chris Cornell. I’m a huge grunge fan and I thought I would be able to go see Soundgarden, one of the only three grunge bands you can still see (the others being Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam). The reality that I would not be able to do that, to feel what so many must have felt in 1994 when Kurt Cobain died by suicide, was very real to me.

But if I’m completely honest, it wasn’t Chris Cornell’s voice that carried me through some very dark times in my life. It was Chester Bennington.

In 2000, when “Hybrid Theory” came out, I was convinced it was one of the greatest albums of our time and it very well may be; it’s amazing. I listened to it on a loop, just over and over again. My parents were getting divorced, I was becoming a teenager and I was beginning to self-injure.

In 2007, when “Minutes to Midnight” came out, a friend got me a copy somehow. I listened to it on my iPod over and over. At the time I was in a bad relationship that was sometimes off and sometimes on, and we had to ride a bus together for our college marching band. Chester’s voice drowned out my own feelings, or let me feel them more truly.

But what I missed was that while Chester was singing my feelings, he was also singing his own on a stage in front of millions of people, just waiting to tear him apart. I can’t imagine the pressure.

Yesterday, when I heard about his suicide, I didn’t know what to feel. This morning, there was Chester’s voice helping me to know how to feel yet again.

“When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest…”

So this is my attempt to help the things he did wrong to be forgotten, and help remember all the ways Chester’s life helped us, in ways he will never know. In ways maybe we didn’t or couldn’t show him. But we cannot let him be forgotten, or written off as another tortured artist who couldn’t deal. There are too many of us who wouldn’t be here without his help, his words and his perseverance to be as strong as he was for so long. Let’s leave out all the rest…

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Image via Linkin Park YouTube

Originally published: July 25, 2017
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