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Mike Shinoda Explains What His Grief 'Looks' Like After Chester Bennington's Death

Editor’s note: If you have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

In an interview with Billboard this week, Linkin Park founder and frontman Mike Shinoda spoke about what his grieving process “looks” like after the death of fellow bandmate Chester Bennington, who died by suicide in July.

“Grief is a non-linear process. It doesn’t have ‘stages’ that go in order, it has phases that come and go at random,” he said. “Some people are having sad days, others are having good days, others are having angry days.”

This isn’t the first time the musician has been open about his grief. In October, when the band held a memorial concert in honor of Bennington, Shinoda debuted a heartfelt song he wrote eight days after Bennigton’s death called “Looking For an Answer.” The song resonated with suicide loss survivors, with lyrics like, “Have I been lost all along? Was there something I could say or something I should not have done?”

Grief after suicide loss can be just as Shinoda describes it — non-linear. This is something Mighty contributor Mary Conroy Almada is familiar with. In her piece about grieving after her sister’s suicide, she wrote,

I am not here to advise how to heal from a loss. I don’t know how to do that. I do know it is one step forward and two steps back. I do know the pain can be so unbearable that I want to claw my skin off. I paw at my arms and chest and stomach, seeking relief. I can’t stand being in my own body when the agony rips through. There is nothing that will mollify it; I just have to ride out the wave.

And then the ocean becomes calm for a while. I can laugh. I can work and dream and grocery shop. But still that dull ache follows me, whispering at me to steady myself for the next wave.

Shinoda, along with Bennington’s wife Talinda Bennington, have been using their platforms to open up important conversations about suicide, mental health and grief. “I’ve tried to make it a point to share how I’m doing, mostly on Instagram and sometimes Twitter, especially when I feel like I’m making progress,” he told Billboard.

Even though his social media posts do highlight when he’s making progress, like when he’s smiling and appears “OK,” he’s also gotten real about his struggles. On Friday, while holding an Instagram live stream so Linkin Park fans could listen to the newly-released “One More Light Live” album together, he had to leave early. Later on Twitter, he explained:

I did a listening party on Instagram Live today for the new album. I left early, and didn’t really give a reason. To be honest, it was because it’s hard for me to listen to Chester’s voice for that long. I‘m fine, I just wanted you to know. Thanks for understanding.

Thank you, Mike Shinoda, for bravely putting your emotions on display and giving hope to so many people who are still struggling with the loss of Chester Bennington. We wish you and the Linkin Park family all the best.

If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide, please know you are not alone. There are resources for suicide loss survivorsIf you are struggling and need help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Lead photo via Linkin Park Facebook page

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