Bearing News
used with permission from linkinpark.com

Analytical Arrangements: One More Light

[dropcap style=”flat”]T[/dropcap]hree months ago, to this day, the world lost an incredible musician and man. Chester Bennington, best known as the former lead singer of Linkin Park, died by suicide on July 20 this past year. He left behind a wife, six kids, five men that became his brothers and millions of fans touched by his music.

Bennington’s voice in each Linkin Park song held so much emotion with each word. Any person could feel the raw pain behind the lyrics, and if said person knew and experienced such ache, one less person felt lonely in that moment. The song “One More Light” is an amazing example of this, particularly live. The song, first written because a band member’s friend died of cancer, holds so much more meaning now because of Bennington and other rock legends that died of suicide.

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored? 

Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore? 

We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep 

There are things that we can have, but can’t keep

Opening with a soft piano tune, the first line hits like a brick. It’s one of the first questions asked by anyone who has lost someone to suicide — how could I not see their pain? The song continues by the singer wishing that he could have done something, lamenting on the loss.

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In the sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
Or quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The chorus kicks in at this point, bringing in the overarching metaphor of the song. Linkin Park compares humans to lights and stars, and makes a direct hit to people who are apathetic about loss — who cares if one more light goes out in the sky of a million stars? — who cares about a singular death when there are billions of us, when we live only the length of a blink in the galactic timeline?

The quiet yet firm response of “Well, I do” to these questions signify perseverance. It’s looking at a world of hurt, understanding it exists and will continue to exist no matter what, and choosing to try to heal it anyway.

The reminders, pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need, oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there

The song continues on, describing a scenario experienced by many suicide survivors. It’s not until a person or a thing leaves from our life that we notice them or it everywhere, in odd places like the kitchen mentioned above.

Whenever this song comes on while I’m listening to Spotify, I always pause at this verse and think of Bennington. How ironic it is that the same words his band wrote apply to his family now? His wife and six children have an extra chair in their kitchen now. How ironic it is that the news of Bennington’s death came so sudden? I had no idea a man that saved my life with his words of hope was struggling to find any for himself.

If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In the sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
Or quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do

The chorus continues on for the rest of the song, the music increasing in volume and intensity as the singer repeats the chorus again and again, each time with more urgency. It’s at this point that the message of the song slightly shifts. The song is still about honoring and missing those lights we’ve lost, but its most important message is finding those lights, those people, before we lose them. For all that Bennington did for his fans, for all the lives that he saved, all of those lives couldn’t save his.

He leaves behind a legacy, however. An unconfident yet steady resolve that not one more light goes out, that we find purposes to keep going and along the way, we help others find their own reason to live.

Some may think: why? Why do we — no, why should we help others? After all, we are but one light in a sky of a million stars. We have our own self to worry about — why care about others?

I have no reason I can put into words about why I care that that not one more light goes out; I just know that I do.

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