Guest Post: Dear Chester

Photo credit: Kristina Servant
My good friend Angela Schmidt graciously allowed me to publish her letter to Chester Bennington as a guest post. I feel this beautifully states the way that many have felt since Chester passed away. Let this post serve as a memoriam to a music legend that inspired countless people and will be greatly missed, by more people than he ever thought possible.


Dear Chester,
We didn't know each other, but we've felt each other's pain. You saved so many lives, but I'm sorry you felt that no one could save yours. I know you thought this out in every single detail, every consequence. I know you thought about your children, your wife, your family, your friends, and your fans. I know that you knew what everyone would say, how everyone would mourn you, or mock you. I know that those you held the dearest and those you have impacted are questioning, why?
Well, I also just so happen to know that the most beautiful and potential souls often have the deepest demons. You tried everything to make those nasty, painful demons go away. You buried them. They broke free and caused you pain. So you buried them again. They broke free. The cycle continued, and continued. Every time you buried them, they seemed to escape one way or another and caused you to suffer. Many may never know or understand how overwhelming and tiring fighting with those demons may be.
Although we have never met, I want to say I understand, and that I know your demons far too well. I'm sure you know they visit me too. We know they visit many other people. We know they even visited people you loved the most. I want to let you know that I am not angry, but I am sorry. I'm so sorry that your demons broke free and were able to take you away from us all. Although you were suffering, you could have been saved. Unfortunately, many don't see the demons we see or feel the pain we feel. Many don't understand no one actually wants to die, they just want to escape pain. But, maybe, if one person tried to understand, you'd still be here.
What you did was not selfish, and it was most certainly not you. It was a painful, aching illness that consumed you. We can't change what has happened, but we can learn from it, and try our best to prevent it in the future. We can learn to be empathetic to others. We can reach a hand out when others are down. We can show each other as fellow humans that our feelings are validated. We can understand trying to escape pain is not selfish, but can be significantly improved in positive ways.
Everyone is mourning your death, but I think we should celebrate your life. You were a loving husband, a father, a son, a friend, and an inspiration to many. You got to travel the world. You had so many great experiences. Although your death could have been prevented with access to the right resources and others’ knowledge to warning signs, you had a great life. Your life is cherished. You're at peace now. We can't change it and your demons can't hurt you anymore. As a stranger, yet someone I know far too well, I will make this promise to you. I promise to teach others about the warning signs, to take sadness seriously, and how to openly talk about suicide so together we can help save another life. You impacted many in more ways than you will ever know, and your time here is greatly appreciated.
You are loved. You are missed. Most importantly you are survived. You are survived by those souls you greatly impacted, whether you knew so or not.
Chester Bennington, thank you so much, and Rest In Peace.

A stranger you knew too well, and a life you once saved.
-Angela Schmidt

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