I’m writing to you today as a fan, and as someone whose life was changed thanks to your music. I found Linkin Park as a pre-teenager, and since then I’ve grown with you and you became a part of what I am. I’m 21 years old now, and still I annoy people with my obsession for the band and its music, as I always will. I know you are devastated and broken, more than any of us can be, but maybe this little story will help you feel a little happier, knowing how much you, Chester, and all of the Linkin Park band mean to me.
The first song I’ve heard was Shadow of the Day on a Portuguese channel that played the most listened songs of the week. Afterwards I listened to Hybrid Theory and Meteora, and felt accompanied and understood for the first time. At the time my parents were going through a divorce, with me in the middle of the battle being pushed and pulled as if the prize at stake. In the midst of this a child could never feel safe, I was no exception, but your music felt as a friend who heard my soul and translated it into music. At the time Crawling and My December spoke to me clearer than anything else, they filled me with sadness, but a sadness that made me feel not alone. For a couple of years my life was this turmoil of thoughts and loneliness, my father not being a father, and my mother thinking that I was happy while I was losing myself to the sorrow. At the start of my teenage years I changed home from Porto to Lisboa, the divorce still storming, but now besides it I was an outcast with no friends and only my mother who was with depression and severally medicated. I was mocked and made fun of for several years. The other kids saw me as a weak and yet very tall boy, and at the time I didn’t know how to defend myself, because I never had to. I cried many times from fear of not having a shield to protect me and waited for the time to be able to go home and listen to your music, and feel safe again.
Nearing my 15th birthday I started to feel sinking more than ever, thoughts of suicide starting to occur occasionally. I had no friends, no family, my personality was still building itself and I hated myself for being so weak and pathetic. All I wanted was to end it somehow, any way that made me feel at least not unhappy. After my birthday my mother suffered from anaemia, and had major surgery to fight it. My father still was a robot that only cared for my grades. Here, you and Chester meant the most to me. With the launching of A Thousand Suns another piece of my soul seemed to have been written. I listened to the album as soon as I bought it, and simply adored it. For several months there was nothing else I would listen to. Iridescent became my favourite song, and I would cry my eyes out every time it came on my Walkman. Your pure and calm voice, Chester’s troubled and angelical melody, and the rhythm behind it all were something so perfect that while listening to it nothing else mattered. I wrote the lyrics everywhere I could, in my books, in pieces of paper, even in my school board when no one was watching. I know it wasn’t the only reason, but the song cured me. I cried so much that the apathy and the thoughts of giving up simply vanished. I can never thank you and Chester enough for what you did to me.
A few months passed, I was a little happier, my mother was not anaemic anymore, only screaming her lungs out now, and I found a girlfriend. She also loved Linkin Park and The Messenger became our song. We dated for a short period of time but it was enough to feel happy for the first time. After the break up I was a little sad, but you came to Rock in Rio, and I saw you for the first time. It was in the year where, for some dumb reason, they put you with Smashing Pumpkins as the main bands. People tend to overuse the definition of “best concert ever”, but for me it really was. I sang/screamed every single song you played, possibly made some enemies who had to endure my shouting, and felt happier than ever. Seeing you live was a unique and amazing feeling I can’t describe. Three years later, with my current girlfriend, I saw you again in Rock in Rio, and the magic was still there.
Since I started dating my current girlfriend, life became somehow normal. I had someone who truly loved me, and that cast away the last reminiscing feelings of sadness and despair. I talked with my mother and came back to Porto, with my father as roommate, and started to fit in once again. Since then Living Things, Recharged and The Hunting Party came out, which still had that rage and anger that were so familiar to me, and yet they were more mature albums, the same maturity I felt to be gaining.
One More Light came as a last surprise. I’ve been having a stable life, things feel quiet enough for me to think about the future and to be hopeful. The album is beautiful, to put it simply. It’s relaxed, meaningful and still has that note of sadness and anger that also lingers in my heart. I always tell people that I’ve grown with Linkin Park, that each album was a landmark to my own personality, and that it translated my current heart. The last one still shows this truth, because even though I’m calm, things that made their mark will always exist inside of me.
I dreamt of growing old with you and Chester, to see you one more time in a concert, and to feel the joy of buying another album. I don’t judge Chester, I understand him in my own way. I’ve scratched the feeling of hopelessness and felt how dark it is. And I’m not writing this letter to talk about why he did it, I’m writing to say that he will always be in my heart, because he saved me. I only regret not doing the same for him any small way I could have. Chester is a hero to me, and until I die he will be remembered as such, and I will always tell him that way. And you Mike, if you ever read this, don’t lose yourself or what you are. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I know how sweet and honest you are and that we need people like you to keep showing us some light, the same light you have already shown to me. You are my hero, another hero behind what saved me from myself. And if I can do something in return, then I tell you this. I tell you that a kid with the same name as you living in Portugal has an immense admiration for you, that wishes you didn’t had to suffer this way, and that wishes for you to keep loving the world as it is and yourself. People have role models and people have those who show them wisdom and the truth. You are both to me, and always will be.
With a heavy heart,