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It’s Okay To Mourn The Loss Of Your Idols

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

For a while, I had silently judged people who posted long status updates or tweets mourning the death of a celebrity or musician. For me, the thought was always well sure they may have impacted your life, but how can the passing of someone you’ve never met impact you just as much as that of a close friend or relative? It wasn’t until the death of Chester Bennington, former frontman of Linkin Park, that I really understood the heart-wrenching feeling of losing an idol that I had grown up with and who had immensely impacted my life, despite having never known or met them in person.

I remember that I first heard the news of his passing when I was at work: I was busy finishing something up when the notification buzzed on my phone. I distinctly remember the feeling of my heart in my throat and refusing to believe it was real, searching all over the internet hoping it was all a terrible, sick joke. No one was in the office (thank goodness), so I spent a good thirty minutes pacing back and forth near my desk and sobbing to myself, continuing to try to find something to say that it wasn’t true. I remember going home and feeling the weight of the world hit me like a thousand bullets each time I read a new post or message regarding the news.

The same day I had made plans previously with a good friend to go and support another friend’s band who was opening up for a local musician in my area, Vista. I debated for a while about whether I should go or not, going in and out of sobbing states as I mustered up some motivation to go.

Driving to the venue, Octane of SiriusXM could simply not fit two or three songs on the radio without mentioning how “selfish” Bennington was in taking his own life. I angrily switched the radio to POP2K so I could at least get my mind off of anything that could be relatively similar and triggering. I got to the venue and felt comforted by the fact that my good friend wanted to do everything they could to make me feel better, and I still appreciate those kind gestures to this day. There was a subtle but understood sadness in the venue, with many attendees wearing Linkin Park shirts and each band who played making their two-minute response to the situation evidently on everyone’s minds. I had been drinking and felt relatively fine during most of the concert, yet it was when I heard Vista’s cover of “Numb” that I really broke down and cried despite my constant efforts to be strong in public. The band’s ability to captivate the whole room with their raw emotion and personal touch to the cover held attendees in such a gripping state that experiencing the cover and singing along felt painfully heavy emotionally yet so comforting at the same time.

How is it that the loss of a musician or idol can affect us just as deeply as the loss of someone who was close to us? Is it weird to grieve someone you’ve never met and may not know who you are? Chester Bennington’s death was unquestionably one that has affected me the most and still does to this day. Linkin Park was the first band that I had really discovered on my own, and they were one that had been with me as I went through grade school and high school. For someone that felt like they were the only person that felt like they truly didn’t belong in the world they were in, Linkin Park and Chester Bennington specifically understood me in such a way that I never thought could have been possible then. The band gave me a space to feel like I truly belonged and seemed to understand all of the emotions and feelings I had felt when growing up, so it’s no wonder I decided on getting my first tattoos dedicated to them.

I reached out to Vista to ask about their thoughts when they decided to play the cover during the show, and it was great to see that they had similar thoughts regarding the impact of Bennington as I did.

“Chester’s death has affected and still affects me and Hope to this day.” Greg of Vista said, “We love him and he was a huge inspiration to what VISTA is today. We decided to do that cover the day of, as a tribute to all Chester has done for music. It really wasn’t an easy decision, but we decided it was right so that we could bring everyone together and remember all his amazing work.”

The deaths of our idols feel so personal because something about them has resonated with us on such a deep and psychological level. In times where we feel like no one can possibly understand what we’re going through, finding an idol who can understand you on such an emotional level gives us an undeniable sense of close connection. Upon hearing the loss of an idol we suddenly become so much closer, bonding over how much this person can impact lives near and far.

In conclusion, no you’re not crazy to mourn the death of a musician or idol that was close to you. Whether they’ve affected your life by getting you out of a dark place, being there when others couldn’t, or was simply there to make you smile, the loss of that person can affect you in more ways than one. Your feelings are validated and don’t ever hesitate to reach out to remember those fond memories. 


Image 1 / Second Image Courtesy of Author

Architecture History and Design Double Major and Environmental Geography Minor at the University of Toronto
Jina Aryaan is one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of Her Campus UToronto. She is a fourth year student pursuing a major in Sociology, and a double minor in French and Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto. She has been working with Her Campus since her first year of University, and she is also highly involved on campus through various other leadership positions. When she's not busy studying, you can catch her running around campus to get to her next class or meeting. When she has some spare time, she's likely busy writing, discussing politics, or spending quality time with friends and family.