The late musician Chris Cornell would have turned 53 on July 20, Thursday. However, he committed suicide by hanging in his hotel room in Detroit, Michigan, on May 18.
On July 20, Thursday, Cornell’s friend and fellow musician Chester Bennington of Linkin Park was found dead in his home in Los Angeles, California. Like Cornell, Bennington committed suicide by hanging.
Linkin Park music is part of the childhood of many millennials like me and Bennington’s death affected me not merely as a fan. Stories of suicide in general open wounds from my past, which I have closed several times. Discussing suicide is never pleasant but it is cathartic at least for me and I would be lying if I say I never had serious suicidal thoughts myself.
After my college graduation, one of my college friends committed suicide. She reportedly drank poison because the one she loved did not love her back. She was rushed to the hospital but she reportedly removed herself from the machine that kept her alive.
I intentionally did not verify the specific details of her death. It was just too painful for me. She was one of the happy friends I had in college. She had an older brother who had also committed suicide. She had told me she would never do the same even in her worst situation.
But she did. I did not go to her funeral. I was angry. I felt cheated. I was hurt that she decided to check out. I was just a call away. I felt like my friendship was not even enough to make her stay.
Looking back, I know now that it was not about me at all. Whether or not I was enough as a friend had little if not nothing to do with her decision to kill herself.
Still, it hurts. In an ugly way.
Employment following my college graduation helped me divert my attention. As the youngest child, I grew up relying on my two big brothers and one big sister. My new friends post-college graduation, who were much older than me, then became my new big brothers and big sisters after I started to live independently.
One particular friend who I considered a big brother had wit, humor and intelligence I admired. He was just a happy person and I enjoyed spending Friday nights with him laughing at silly jokes and unwinding after a week of exhausting work.
I and my new friends, especially those who were big brothers to me, would frequently visit bars in our city. I would always be a scared cat when I was alone but with them, I would transform into an arrogant brat knowing that I had big boys behind me.
One Friday night, I was performing in a bar being an arrogant brat knowing that my big brother friend was in the audience. Some foreigners did not like how I joked about them so they rushed to the stage. But before they could touch me, my big brother friend beat them so hard that the bouncers had to stop him.
I felt protected. I knew I had someone who would not let others hurt me.
But one Friday night, he came to my apartment crying. That was the first time. He said he was tired of his life as a son, as a father, as a husband, as a friend, as an employee and simply as a person. I managed to calm him down and thought he was just intoxicated.
That never happened again. Then I moved to the bigger city to chase my show business dreams. One day, I had to play dead in a film. That same day, my friend, who was a big brother to me, committed suicide.
It still hurts. In an ugly way.
I had to fall
to lose it all.
But in the end,
it doesn’t really mater.