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3 Years Ago, I Was Named After Chester Bennington

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Three years ago, when I came out as transgender, I named myself Chester, after the lead singer of Linkin Park. His name was Chester Bennington.

More than three months ago, on July 20th, my mom came outside to tell me he had died by suicide. At first, it hadn’t affected me much. I got One More Light immediately, of course, and listened to it. I cried some. But it didn’t sink in for a while.

Now, it has. And I have something to say about what I believe Chester would have wanted for everyone who loved him, whether he knew us or not.

Chester and Linkin Park were and are a big deal for me. I’m crying in the back of my English class as I write this. I literally named myself after Chester, I was so inspired by him. I listen to them every day. At first I cried, and felt like there was a hole in my chest. How could someone who wanted us all to live have killed himself? How could anyone have missed how bad he felt? And I still feel that. I suppose I always will.

But I know he wouldn’t want us to kill ourselves or be sad over him. He would want us to keep going, and remember him. Listen to “Leave Out All the Rest” and you’ll know:

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.

If you are or were tempted to follow Chester, I know how you feel. You’re not alone. But it’s not what he would have wanted for you or any of us. He would want you to keep going and keep fighting, for him, even though he couldn’t, I promise. No matter what “Shadow of the Day” says, goodbye is not the only way.

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 reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Lead photo via Linkin Park’s Facebook page

Originally published: November 7, 2017
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