I was traveling on the day you died, traveling between worlds, between love and pain, life and broken promises, but a great hope in my heart for tomorrow. Traveling…back home, after a very long year that should have got the best of me, but it didn’t.
I didn’t know you were gone. I was a thousand miles away and dreaming of a brand new future.
I woke up the next morning. A very special day planned for that evening with a very important person in my life who I hadn’t seen in 10 years. And then Hello Giggles broke the news to me on my yahoo. How ironic. I immediately broke into tears. Cried for hours…then, I set you on the back burner, my friend. I had to…I’m sorry.
We never met, but that doesn’t matter. Perception is everything. I watched, I saw, I felt, I listened enough to know that you and I were similar creatures, sensitive and passionate, in an unforgiving, relentless world.
Our voices are similar, too. I love your voice, and it makes me feel good to know I have a voice like yours. It’s how we express ourselves when the world, and all we face, becomes too much.
I remember an interview you gave when you were 36. You said you weren’t an angst ridden teenager or early 20-something-year-old anymore, and so what drove you to sing those songs from earlier years was the energy you felt, the feeling of the people in the crowd, your remembrance of those days.
I was happy to hear you had seemingly broken free of it, and yet, left wondering how I was still so impacted and unable to separate myself. I figured I had work to do.
But, somehow, with you still here, I knew I could be here too. You were doing it, so I could.
But, then, you left us. And, I realized, all at once, you never truly broke free of it, and I wasn’t alone. And yet, you had chosen to go, and now, without you, how was I to carry on without the strength I drew from you?
There’s only one person on the planet who truly knows how much you and your band and the music you all created has meant to me, only one who knows what an incredible fan I am of yours. How many nights I stayed up talking to my friend about you and the music, the inspiration. He is my solace now. Guides and directs me, understands me. Loves me. My Mike Shinoda.
There has been two others in your industry who have impacted me greatly to the extent that I felt compelled to write about them. But, my time is very limited these days, and, I find, the most important ones are the ones we have the hardest time saying anything about.
With all that I have written, and as open as I tend to be…it’s taken me over a month to process your loss, and I am still there…working through the days and hours, the tears late at night.
And what I’m left with is complicated. I’m in between things, still traveling, between worlds, between love and pain…but, also hope, as I’ve always had…and, a thankfulness to you, my friend…for all the gifts you’ve left behind, for all of us, and for me.
Because, when you speak, when you sing, you have that rare gift of making the person who is listening, and there in that room with you, feel like they’re the only person you’re singing to…and you’re not ever going to leave as long as one of us is still in the room.
RIP Mr. Bennington.