RIP CHESTER BENNINGTON

The first time I heard a Linkin Park song, I was about 13. ‘One Step Closer’ was the first, but it was ‘In The End’, the second, that quickly became a personal favorite, retaining its place in the top ten of my heart for the last 16 odd years, regardless of how distant I eventually came to be from the band that was there, with me and for me, while I was growing up.

The voices of Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington were my sources of light through some pretty dark times, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating in the slightest when I say that were it not for their music, I may not have escaped with my life, certainly not my sanity. And I know a lot of people feel that way. That is as remarkable as the untimely loss of Chester is tragic, though I suppose I must also admit that we would have never been ready to say goodbye. Apparently Chester was ready though. And I hope with all my heart that he finds the peace he was seeking. May he know no more sorrow…

I’ve spent the last four days catching up on two years of music that I seem to have somehow missed out on, and, now, his voice is in my ears, in my head, and I can’t… find the right words to articulate the profound sense of grief and loss I am experiencing. There are no right words.

Like I have just watched an Angel fall.

Requiescat in pace, Chester Bennington.

Thank you for everything, brother.

Love,

Always,

Me.

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To Stay or To Go

What do you do when faced with life’s most persistent question: Stay or Go?

To Stay would mean swallowing your pride, perhaps even apologizing. Staying would mean trying to forget the shape and color of the knife that you barely managed to pull out of your throat. Staying means lowering your voice, walking on eggshells, and never being able to find the level of happiness you knew before you learnt that it could all be too easily destroyed. Staying means betraying yourself, with sugar-coated lies, and reassurances that your mind whispers to you all day long. Things were different back then. He didn’t mean it. This time is different. Staying means the constant reminder of the time you were confused, like a song that you had to train yourself not to cry at, or a milkshake that you had to stop drinking because it reminded you of him. Staying is pain.

To go would mean having the opportunity to start over. Leaving will allow you to relearn things, experience them all – all over again – with someone new. Leavng means being able to say at the very begnning, “Don’t hang up on me. I fucking hate people who do that.” Leaving means being free to pick a new favorite flavor of ice-cream, a new favorite song, even a new favorite scene from any move you like. Leaving means new adventures, new faces, new reasons to laugh and rejoice and celebrate life. Leaving shows you that you’re stronger than anything life may throw in your path. Leaving assures you that you’re still what’s most important to you – something that’s a lot more necessary than one might think. Leaving means movng on, forging your own path, letting go, growing up, seizing the day.

But, leaving can also be cold.. especially when everywhere else in the World seems dark and lightless. And when your very being likes where it is, leaving isn’t so much about moving forward, as it is about grabbing on to soul’s soft hair, and wrenching it out of its warm bath, only to drag it far and beyond everything it has known and grown to love. Leaving is about goodbyes that you *have* to say, and more importantly, goodbyes that you do not know how to say. About farewells that find you kicking and screaming as you try to hang on, and those that are so exhausting that they leave you curled up in a corner, too tired to even cry. Leaving involves the long walk down the driveway, every step of which is wracked with guilt, blame and regret. With doubts and despair. With the sinking feeling you get when you realize that it doesn’t matter how much time, effort, money or love you put into whatever it was that you must now say goodbye to – it clearly wasn’t enough. Not good enough. You weren’t good enough. Leaving is about accepting defeat, and moving on.

Yet, sometimes you have to linger.. Whether it be by your pool, or by the flowers you so painstakingly planted, even if it is for no other reason than to see them bloom. Even if they aren’t even your flowers anymore. Even if the Sun shines hurtfully, or you’re trapped in the pouring rain, or it begins to snow.. Staying doesn’t need the rewards leaving gives you, because being able to stay is by itself a reward. It gives you time to say your proper goodbyes, to apologize to those that hurt you, to kiss the pet animals you’ve rescued over the years, and tell the children to be good, and to pack up the things you know you’ll need, and pack away the things that have outlived their purpose. Staying, whether it be for minutes, months or years, acknowledges the time you spent trying to build up this castle for your spirit. It accepts the apologies you’re compelled to make every  time you see a crack in the wall. It teaches you how you could have done things differently, and how you could have saved it all.

~

Only thing to remember is not to linger too long.

Because your soul needs its hot water bath and familiar surroundings, even if you have to build them up from scratch.

Your soul needs the reassurance of knowing that you won’t be kicked out to the curb again.

Your soul needs a place to plant flowers, and giggle deliriously and be kissed by someone who cares about you so very much, that they would never ever leave you out in the cold.

Don’t linger too long. Your soul deserves better.