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Jul21
2017

TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski responds to the death of Chester Bennington

By Jamie Tworkowski

Linkin Park’s “In the End” is on repeat and the chorus weighs heavy.

“I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter
I had to fall to lose it all, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter”

It’s one thing to hear the hopeless words of an honest man in an honest moment. We relate. We appreciate the honesty. But to hear Chester Bennington sing these words on the day he died, knowing death came in a truly hopeless moment, knowing that single second steals the hope of every moment more, the words take on a different weight.

Chester Bennington died this morning in California, his death apparently a suicide. Much will be done to honor his life. The tributes are already pouring in, as thousands begin to process the awful news, that Chester will never take the stage again, that his voice won’t sing a day beyond today. More importantly, six children lost their father, a wife lost her husband, two parents lost their son, and a brother lost his brother.

We pray they might be met with love. We pray for time and space to mourn and heal.

All of that said, my words right now are not for Chester. This moment, these words, this is for you.

If you’re reading this, it means you’re still here. If you’re breathing, the air in your lungs declares that you’re alive. We can’t know how long we have but it seems we have today.

Please know you’re not the only one who hurts. You’re not the only one with questions and sadness and pain. If life feels nearly impossible, please know you’re not alone. Please know that it’s okay to be honest. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to play it cool. If you need help, please know you’re worth whatever help you need. If you need to talk to a counselor, if you need to call or text a hotline, if you need to step into treatment, it’s perfectly okay. You deserve whatever help you need.

Please stay alive, for every future joy. For the next album you’re going to love, for the best concert you haven’t been to yet, for your wedding or your husband or your wife, for the kids you have or dream of having. Please stay alive to be surprised, by love and hope and help.

If someone you care about is struggling, please reach out. Please break the silence. Please cross the distance. Remind them they are loved. Remind them they deserve better. Encourage them to get help.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, Crisis Text Line is a great place to start. Simply send a text to 741-741. A trained crisis counselor will respond, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Like Crisis Text Line, these folks are available 24/7.

For additional resources, including licensed mental health counselors, please visit our Find Help page.

Today, we mourn the heartbreaking loss of Chester Bennington. But today as we mourn, may we also declare that we’ll keep going. May we ask for help and offer help as well. Because everything inside this life, all the good and bad, all the pain and hope, it matters.

You matter.

We’re all in this together.

This piece originally appeared on AltPress.com. Thank you to Alternative Press for allowing us to share it here as well.

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Comments (31)

  1. Dillon Shash

    Beautiful message. Linkin Park was a huge part of my childhood; their music has always resonated with individuals who never felt that they fit in or that they were outcasts. Their songs gave hope and understanding to those that were suffering. Chester’s voice resonated with hope. He will be deeply missed; his spirit and his poetry. Thank you for everything Chester Bennington, you helped more people than you know; a generation.

    “When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind” – Chester Bennington

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  2. Sammie

    This means alot that someone is not making this about themselves or saying how “selfish” he was for commiting suicide. Thank you. There are not enough words to explain how thankful I am that I found this. ♥️

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  3. Alice Morgan

    This is not enough. I want to do more to help others. How can I help ? Reach out to me. I’m here. I’ve been helping others for years.

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  4. Leyla

    Thank you for such words of honesty. It’s important to keep reminding people, to reach out to them, to emphasize that they are not alone. That no matter how dark things might look, life is still worth living. That there are always people in their lives who care and love them. To whom they Do Matter! xoxo

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  5. Jess

    This piece by Jamie ….. it was exactly what I needed to hear yesterday. The news about Chester hit me hard. Any time there is news about someone ending their life (famous or otherwise) it hits me hard because if they couldn’t make it, how can I? And I was sitting with that yesterday. And then I read Jamie’s piece. And it was as if he knew exactly that people out there would be feeling that way, and he knew what to say. I still don’t want to be alive. I still want to die. But I’m holding on to the fact that it’s not just me. There’s others out there that feel awful, that hurt, and that there are also people out there who care enough to listen and sit with me till I feel a little better.
    I’m talking out of my behind here as I really don’t actually feel this positive.
    But I what I said about Jamie’s post is true. Seeing it really helped. As if he saw where I was at and had the right words.
    To Write Love On Her Arms has done so much for me. Even all the way over here in Australia.

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  6. Devyn

    Thank you. Thank you for always putting into words what I feel. For reminding us that this ride we are on, WE are on together.

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  7. Kurt

    Jamie.
    I thought of you shortly after hearing about Chester. I was so sad for him and his family and for everyone that his art has touched.
    But I was also sad for you. I imagine that you could have felt like what you are doing and what the amazing crew at TWLOHA is doing isn’t working. That in some way you have failed.
    I want to encourage you and assure you that you have not. You are fighting the good fight. It is so important and such good work and you are appreciated and loved and prayed for.
    I know that there are good days and bad days and this is not a particularly good day. So I just wanted you to know, as you do for all of us, that you are loved. You are important. Your voice matters. And I can never thank you enough.

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  8. Sharyn

    Beautifully written.

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  9. Jess

    Thank you …. I’m trying

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  10. Amanda

    I just wanted to take a moment to share something with the community. Sometimes I struggle and what helps is writing things down to get my thoughts in order. Sometimes it helps other people too. And if anyone feels how I do about this, maybe what I wrote can help you too.

    When my time comes, forget the wrongs that I’ve done. Help me leave behind some reason to be missed.

    News of Chester’s death hit me like a freight train, a delayed freight train, but it hit me nonetheless. My phone dropped onto the carpeted floor with a thump, brightly displaying Jamie Tworkowski’s words.

    I’ve been asked to write something about Chester Bennington’s suicide.

    The words rang out, the black typeface bold against the white backdrop in the dark twilight of my living room. I fought to catch the breath the shock had stolen from me. I closed the email, unable to find any comfort in Jamie’s sentences. I took to Google for confirmation, but disbelief still gripped me after glazing over several news outlets reporting the same news.

    “Chester’s dead?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?”, I texted to the only person I could think of that I hoped would tell me I was wrong. My own personal source on all things reported on musicians.

    “How did you not know?”, came her reply a moment later.

    The tears came streaming down my face before I could register what was happening. My breath caught once more in my throat and I struggled to push it out in tight, short bursts. I had been in a melancholy mood the whole day and John Mayer sang from my stereo about Heartbreak Warfare. I told myself I was upset for some other reason. There was no reason to react in such violent sobs over a man I had never even met. But the tears continued to choke themselves out anyway. My memory flashed back to a few summers ago when I had defiantly defended the amazing abilities of Linkin Park in concert to my companion who had not been sold the last time she saw them. They had taken the stage and changed her mind with their powerful performance. A performance that would never be repeated. Not with Chester. The tears came harder with that thought and with renewed fervor. I thought of all the long nights Linkin Park had saved me. All the lyrics I had shouted along with. All the moments when the music was my only friend, saving me from the loneliness of the existence I had created for myself.

    “Yeah. Heartbreaking.”, was the only response I could conjure up for my friend, who had unwittingly confirmed the worst news I had received in a long time.

    I changed the playlist over to Linkin Park Favorites and sunk further into the couch, allowing the sobs to overcome me. I had beat my illness. I had conquered suicide. Chester did not. I had gotten better and he had not. And now, here I was, still here, small and insignificant in comparison and he was gone. It wasn’t fair I told myself, he was so much more important to the world. To the people like me, who clung to every word he composed and grasped desperately to his ability to fight back. Now there was nothing left to hold onto. The music had been everything to me and I would never hear him on stage again.
    Fuck.

    The tears refused to even slow and my shirt was soon covered in damp splotches. I sat and let the anger and sadness wash over me. When I was able to think again, I realized there was something else there too: fear. If someone like Chester could be so consumed by the lies depression tells, then I was a sitting duck. I had struggled for years to get my head above the water and to tune out most of the nastiest thoughts most of the time and I had foolishly thought I had won. I hadn’t won. The illness was still there, lurking, ready to strike with grisly claws hooked into my brain. It was merely waiting. Waiting for a moment when I thought I had won. Tears pressed on, overtaking my thoughts once more.

    I dreamed I was missing. And you were so scared. But no one would listen. Because no one else cared. After my dreaming I woke with this fear. What am I leaving when I’m done here?

    Once again, Linkin Park’s music centered me. The words echoed. I remembered the first time I had heard Leave Out All The Rest and how much it resonated with me that very first time. I realized then that the words would continue to resonate. This is what Chester leaves behind; his words and his struggle and his fight, echoing across crowds of countless people struggling in their own fights. Decades from now this song will still resonate. It will still make me stop and think about what I am leaving behind. I am not small and insignificant. I am a fighter. And I will continue to fight, to carry on these lyrics for the next generation that struggles as I have and as I continue to do.

    Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory.

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  11. Heidi

    I don’t know why this piece really got to me. Maybe it was more personal than I wanted to admit. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; they were so well stated. The emotions and sincerity that were expressed seemed to flow off the page, as if the reader could actually touch them. I apologize for the sappiness, but my words are sincere. Anyway, thank you.

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  12. Valerie

    Wow! My heart is heavy for every life lost though my hope continues for all that struggle… day to day, hour to hour. We ALL matter! Let’s go through life with open hearts and open arms.

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  13. Melissa King

    This really means alot to me. I have been struggling with self-harm for years. As I have just recently started again. I find all of your articles on your Facebook page hitting me right in the heart. I feel like there are people out there that does understand what I am feeling and going through. Your page has helped me more than you guys can ever know. Thank you so much for having this Facebook page I really love all the work you guys do. Thank you again

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  14. Christina

    Such a fitting response to such a devastating tragedy. It has also coincidentally come at a time when suicidal thoughts have been hitting me the hardest. Struggling to hold onto hope during times like these.

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  15. Ashley

    Beautifully written! Thank you!

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  16. Wendy Underwood

    Thank you for this.I fight staying in this battle every single day. The pull toward death is so strong. Asking for help continues to be difficult but I am grateful for the support I do have in my life. I do not want to give this pain to my children for an heirloom, so I put on my armor and I fight! Harming myself eludes to comfort but is a lie in the long run. Having a voice and naming my truth is what will save me again and again. Thank you for that forum. Thank you for seeing me.

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  17. Kathy j fournier-morehardt

    Thank you for your support. It is needed, more than I can say.

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  18. Northrup Darla

    At one time i couldn’t” live for myself. So I lived for my family & God. When I came out of these thoughts & emotions I loved myself & was glad I didn’t act on self-harm. Love yourself! Reach out for help!

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  19. Ranock

    The Suicide Hotline brought me here a couple days ago, and here I am again. Perhaps I have not accepted his death fully, or choosing to not accept it.

    I don’t know how to put it into words, but my heart really hurts. It is heavy. My eyes are full of tears. I’ve never felt this way towards someone I’ve never met before. I grew up listening to LP since Hybrid Theory and continued to do so. Chester was always my idol. I looked up to him. Everything he sang about, his emotions, his struggles, all of which I resonate with.

    His voice was the voice for the voiceless. He put all of his passion and emotions into those songs. It was something that I couldn’t do, but I had someone doing it for me. It relieved my anger, depression and sadness. LP songs helped me get through life. There were times where I just wanted to end it all, but those songs gave me hope.

    Since the news, it’s been a struggle. A battle inside my own mind and body.

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    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Ranock,

      We’re glad you came here. We’re glad that you commented. And we’re glad that you’re alive.

      We understand your confusion, sadness, and devastation in regards to the passing of Chester. He meant a great deal to so many. His story and the lyrics he sang made people feel understood in their struggles.

      We wish Chester had stayed. But in this moment, more than anything, we’re glad you have stayed despite your pain. And we hope that you will continue to fight and try making sense of this. Those songs he sang can still bring you peace and comfort. Chester would want that. Do not forget how he and Linkin Park’s music made you feel.

      In the future, we want you to know that you can contact us. We are here for you. You can email us anytime at info@twloha.com. We read and respond to every message we receive. We also encourage you to seek out help. A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ And if you are in need of immediate aid, please text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor free of charge.

      Please continue. Please stay. You are needed, Ranock.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

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  20. Daryl King

    Jamie,
    Wow! These are the most insightful, caring and thoughtful words of un der standing and hope that I’ve ever read. Thank you for writing this piece.
    Also, I’m certain it will encourage people to donate to supportive organizations like this one – as it has me.
    Thank you again.

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  21. Ella

    Thank you for these words and the comfort and love you are bringing so many people.

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  22. Myriam

    Why nobody’s talking ’bout Chris Cornell? I miss them two. I’ve lost soo much people I love. Why is everything so heavy?

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    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Myriam,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. While we do not have a formal blog post addressing Chris Cornell’s passing, we did try to honor and discuss his life with our audience across social media. Our founder Jamie was asked by Alt Press to write a piece following Chester’s passing, and we wanted to share it on our platform as well. Please know that this blog in response to Chester’s passing was not in any way a means to disregard the life and legacy of Chris Cornell.

      Losing those we care about is never easy. But please know that you are not alone in how you are feeling. We wish Chester had stayed. We wish Chris had stayed. We are so grateful that you have stayed. We are here to continue fighting and try every day to make sense of these painful moments. Together, we keep going; keep living.

      We are here for you during the light and the heavy. You can email us anytime at info@twloha.com. We read and respond to every message we receive. We also encourage you to seek out help. A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ And if you are in need of immediate aid, please text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor free of charge.

      Myriam, we hope to hear from you again. You are not alone.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

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  23. Sandy

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  24. Faith thomas

    Having mild autism ( Aspbergers syndrome ) I struggle with self confidence but every day I find the mental strength to try & teach people who may not understand that even though I hurt I find the strength to survive

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    1. Becky Ebert

      Faith,

      We are inspired by your strength and dedication. Although it can be tiring, know that your efforts are needed and appreciated. But also know that you are not alone in your struggles or the fight to bring mental health to the forefront.

      Thank you for joining us. Thank you for fighting for yourself and others.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

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  25. Joanna

    Thank you for the message.

    when something bad happens, it retraumatises you and old trauma and bad memories
    which you had subdued begin to resurface. You get dragged back deeper into that
    dark place in your mind. You have to be stronger to deal with it again
    because it all comes back together to overwhelm you. You want to get better but sometimes it’s so exhausting and overpowering, you feel it’s more than you can take. I guess you just have to fight harder to survive and believe that it will get better.

    It’s actually the lyrics from his song – The messenger that resonate with your message.

    “When you feel you’re alone
    Cut off from this cruel world
    Your instinct’s telling you to run

    Listen to your heart
    Those angel voices
    They’ll sing to you
    They’ll be your guide
    Back home

    When life leaves us blind
    Love keeps us kind
    It keeps us kind

    When you’ve suffered enough
    And your spirit is breaking
    You’re growing desperate from the fight

    Remember you’re loved
    And you always will be
    This melody will bring you right
    Back home

    When life leaves us blind
    Love keeps us kind
    When life leaves us blind
    Love keeps us kind”

    (Sorry for taking up so much space)

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    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Joanna,

      Please don’t apologize for taking up space. We’re glad you’re here. We are grateful for your comment. You are always welcome here.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us, and offering encouragement to others struggling, too.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

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  26. deepa

    I understand how important it is to be positive, not to hurt family who loves you and I did seek help..though I don’t know how many times I still look at my bedroom door and think…..

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  27. Melissa

    This loss has shaken me so deeply. My old demons have surfaced and I’ve had to reach out for help [again]. I’ve dealt with major depression and suicide attempts for decades. I thought I was in an “ok” place. Chester’s death has damaged me so badly that nothing feels “right” anymore. He was such a pure person. and He sang his soul right down your throat and I couldn’t get enough. Feeling this way again just goes to show me that anything can open the doors to your demons at any moment. It’s a relentless game that we battle with our minds every second of the day. I pray he is at peace and can feel the love from everyone.

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