I wrote this letter a week and a half after Chester's ..... I'm still struggling with coming to terms with everything. I wasn't going to share it but I thought maybe it would show someone else that they are not alone in this war that many of us fight in silence. I turn to this letter now to remind myself of what he and the guys have done for me.
How are you? If you were here to ask me, then I could tell you that I'm not doing okay. A lot of people aren't right now because we all miss you and wish you were here. So I'm writing this letter to you because despite my pain of losing you, I wanted to thank you. You see, like you, I suffered for many years in silence. And in a way, at age 39, I still do. It was seventeen years ago that I first saw you and the rest of Linkin Park when I saw the "In The End" video on MTV. At that time, I was in a dark place. My thoughts of myself were negative. You see, throughout my childhood, I was bullied. And as the years progressed, my self esteem and confidence diminished. And my self-worth within myself became nonexistent.
Surrounded by people, I had no one. And each day I was tortured in school, I used as a reason to punish myself even further at home by secretly cutting myself. I always thought that this world would be so much better without me in it. My tears were the only comfort I had. Until I was introduced to you guys. It was like a sign, relief from the sadness. And from that point, I never looked back. I had finally found a support system. Someone who knew what I was going through. Someone who spoke for me when my voice was too small. Someone who helped me through the hard times of my depression. Someone who understood me and made me feel like I had a place where I belonged. I was no longer completely alone.
Every song, every lyric spoke to me. It was like I found new friends, new family. And although we'd never crossed paths, you were there when I needed you. Linkin Park concerts became my therapy sessions. And they allowed me to do something that I had rarely did all those years I was alone….Smile. You gave me a reason to smile. And it wasn't just you but all of Linkin Park. And that was all I needed in the world.
Twenty-two years of allowing my demons to punish me, six years of therapy, I had you throughout it all. I had all of you guys throughout it all. And now as I sit here, listening to Hybrid Theory for the first time since your death, I feel like I'm right back to where I started. I always dreamt that one day, I'd get my meet and greet with you and the guys and I'd tell you thank you, through all my tears, for being my support. For showing me what happiness can look like and that I could one day achieve it. That dream died with you. But your support didn't. I still have you here in spirit. We all do. And as lost, as painful as it is to know that I will never hear your voice speak or sing something new, I still want to tell you, through all my tears, Thank you for giving me hope.
You will always have a piece of my heart along with Mike, Joe, Brad, Dave and Rob and will always be that positive light that helps me battle my demons until I finally close my eyes.
Love you forever and all eternity, Chester