I still remember the shivering I used to feel down my spine and the tears rolling down my eyes from the first time that I heard “Numb”. I was just an angry middle school student back then when I constantly related the song with my relationship with my mother. I struggled with the incessant comparison, struggled to find my own track, struggled to know where I belonged and struggled to figure why my mother wanted me to be someone else seemingly better than myself at certain things. I couldn’t fathom the flashbacks my mother used to give from a time unknown and indifferent to me. And your powerful voice empowered mine. Coming from a middle class family in a South Asian country and having parents who overcame an extremely strapped situation with little education, my voice brought the first crack in the glass ceiling. It was as if when no one taught me how to live, you somehow showed I wasn’t alone and that I could do better.
In the beginning of my high school when I had the first reality check from life, the unfairness of the system, being the victim of bad and ugly politics and when I felt for the first time what it meant to have hopes and dreams crushed in a moment of time, I had “In The End”. By the time I finished 10th Grade, I was taking the greatest leap of my life by shifting my curriculum. I felt peace by breaking away from myself in hopes of getting all the things I wanted all along and “Somewhere I Belong” gave me that push and told me it was okay and it was going to be okay. And it did.
When I sought companionship in my life, I was able to differentiate what I was feeling and how the personal incidents of my life were affecting my behavior because of “Crawling” as I survived the bitter part of it because of “In Pieces” and “Lost In the Echo”.
In my utter ignorance what I could never realize is that, a lot of your songs were feeding into my depression. I could see and understand every time you were saying something about the voice inside your head; the voice being so against you, making you unstable when alone. My ability to relate to the songs like “By Myself” left me scared and forced me to turn it off in hopes that probably that voice inside will too. Did I thank you for “Castle of Glass” yet? And with time my emotions turned a little more complex, and life a little more rational. It did feel good to know there is someone else but it felt much worse when you know exactly why you are feeling certain things but you are unable to change it. Now, only yesterday we got to know you were having it a lot worse on your end and yet we couldn’t decipher it from “Heavy”. And I wonder, what could we have done?
From the moment when I didn’t care about the vocalist in a band to the point when I admired you and your ability to understand us, singing on our behalf and for us, we forgot there is a Chester Charles Bennington apart from LP who’s so much hurt that he had started thinking he can’t be saved. From the first shock that we had after Chris Cornell died, we realized we had forgotten all about the songs from albums like “Audioslave” and “Temple of the Dog” until after he died. For some one like me who listens to whatever feels nice, you have all sorts of phases with music. But each phase becomes a part of you even if not a constant. And your rebellious attitude, anger and ability to read that person in our heads stand you out among us. Both of you always mattered and will be greatly missed along with your ability to understand the world better, ahead of time and generation. However, we have your songs to turn to for solace or to escape.
So, thank you for everything, for your contribution in this world, in our lives by giving us strength and for being you. And sorry for the struggles, I wish we could play a part in making you feel better among us. But now that you are finally unshackled from the struggles, know that the shadow of the day will embrace the world in grey and the sun will set for you.
One of us who cared about the One More Light in the sky of millions stars
P.S: My humble and loved request to everyone who is having a hard time in their life, please know that you matter, you inspire and you are loved. Just reach out and we will hear you. Please take care of your beloved ones, let them know how much they mean to your life and just be kind to one another.