I Care

Note 01/29/2018: I wrote this July 22, 2017. Two days after the death of Chester. I wrote it, saved it, and closed it. I knew I wanted to publish it, but I was not ready at the time. I looked at it for the first time to edit it after 2017 – Raw Hindsight was published. I edited it before posting, but with the intent to keep the raw emotion intact. I actually shed tears while editing this article; I also smiled. I did not want to rewrite it from my January 2018 perspective. That would ruin the therapy.

I have been meaning to write about two things. One, about the bad shit happening in my life in 2017. Two, a review for Linkin Park’s newest album, One More Light. Chester Bennington’s, the lead singer of Linkin Park, death brings about reason for me to write about both. Somewhere I can place my emotions.

Chester committed suicide July 20th. This is one of the few celebrity deaths to shake me to my core. I make no secret that I am a huge fanboy for Linkin Park; I probably understate my affection for the band. Chester’s voice carried me through some of the most emotional times of my life. The songs from Hybrid Theory and Meteora got me through my teenage years. The lyrics are often times memeified as “angsty,” which is not 100% wrong, but that’s also the kind of music I needed in my teenage years. Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns carried me through my post high school life as I formed my own opinions about how the world should and shouldn’t work. A lot of the lyrics from these albums are filled with political statements about how things are going wrong, but they also offer hope. Living Things and The Hunting Party came about when I became a functioning member of society; a life with a career and other adult things. The lyrics are filled with motifs like losing a relationship, feeling powerless in life, and masquerading as someone you are not. I literally grew up with Linkin Park, and Chester’s voice playing in my head.

My anticipation for their newest ablum, One More Light, was nothing I have ever experienced. Before it was released, the members of Linkin Park commented that they had changed their writing process for this album. They wrote the lyrics and melodies before the music. They treated their writing sessions like group therapy; “how was everyone’s day?” someone would ask. Everyone answered honestly, and based on the answers, they would write lyrics. If a band member was feeling like they were neglecting their family, they would talk, and write lyrics. When someone close to them died, they wrote the title track, One More Light. This writing process definitely shines through the album. The album shows you what it is like to be human. The melodies might be upbeat, but the lyrics are downright emotional.

Chester’s singing cuts right down to the core, from the start of the first track Nobody Can Save Me. “I’m dancing with my demons, I’m hanging off the edge, storm clouds gather beneath me, wave break above my head.” Chester’s vocals paint a very desperate picture. “Who cares if one more light goes out, well I do,” from One More Light is filled with caring and empathy. I love it when Chester performs this track live and yells “I do!” near the end. The final track Sharp Edges, Chester sings “Sharp edges have consequences, Now every scar is a story I can tell.” Chester’s voice gets sharp by the end between “can tell.” That bite shows us this man has experienced so many sharp edges from life. The song writing on this album is Linkin Park’s best work, but it is also Chester’s best vocal work. His voice drips with emotion. I can tell these songs mean a lot to him.

By the beginning of the 2017, Linkin Park had shared that they were writing the lyrics first, and that this album would be the most human album they had ever created. This sounds cool, and made me excited for the album. However, something else fed my anticipation for the album; gave me need to hear it. 2017 has been shit for me, and this album sounded like something I needed.

In January, my mom was rushed to the emergency room. She was moved to the ICU, and needed a breathing tube. My mom was pretty calm, and told us not to worry and go home. As the nurses were prepping her breathing tube, the doctor took us aside and said, “The swelling is getting worse, and if we don’t put in a breathing tube she could die…” and at that point, I stopped listening. Die? My mom? Being in your late twenties, and told that your mom might die shakes you to the core. Can you imagine a world without your mom? I couldn’t. I had a minor crisis at this point.

February rolled around. Family and friends were gathered at my house. We were playing Jackbox, and having a good time. A huge “POP!” noise broke our laughter. The lights flickered. Someone ran to the basement and yells “fire!” I called 911, and the firefighters arrived. The circuit breaker caught fire. We were without power for two days; we were out of our house for a week.

March. My cousin died in a house fire, leaving behind two toddlers, one less than a year old, and a wife, not to mention his parents and the rest of our family. No parent should have to bury their kid. We went to his funeral, and visited my grandma in the nursing home. She was not feeling too well, and wanted to sleep…

Easter in April was rough. We visited my grandma in the nursing home. She was not getting out of bed or eating. She did not look like herself. What should be a fun time with food and family, was a very solemn occasion. We have Easter dinner with my uncles, but everyone’s thoughts were preoccupied about my grandma. I knew this would be the last time I see her, and I made the most of it. Leaving shook me to the core. One of my friends got married out of town a week later. I went, and put on a fake smile, and pretended to have fun on the days leading up to the wedding. At the reception, another friend and I snuck out for a moment to visit the bar. We were sitting there in silence, and he asked me, “How are you doing?” I broke down, and answered truthfully, “Shitty. I can’t stop thinking about my grandma, no matter how much I pretend.”

In May, we had my grandma’s funeral. I do not know how my uncle can take it; burying his son, and now his mother. The entire family was shaken. She taught us the importance of family. She is the reason we have frequent family reunions, and the reason why I know my cousins, even though they all live several hundred miles apart.

By the middle of May, One More Light could not come soon enough. It was so much more than just anticipating their new writing approach. I did not know what it could provide me. I just knew I needed it. I eagerly awaited the leak, so I could listen to it early. It did not leak until the week of release. I hungrily downloaded it, hoping it could provide me with something I needed. Hoping it would be everything I needed it to be. And it was. No other album in my catalog could lift my heavy heart. I feel like life dealt me a shit hand in 2017. One More Light reminds me the heaviness is all about being human. Life can be cruel sometimes, but you have to revel your battle symphony and march onward.

Chester’s death left a hole in the world. He marched onward despite his depression. Abuse, drug addiction, loss, and more contributed to it. But he touched so many lives with his voice. He helped others fight their own depression, even if he couldn’t save himself. For that, I thank him, and wish someone could have saved him.

I could bury myself in the depression, but I choose not to. My mom didn’t die in January. She wasn’t worried in the least, and told us to go home, while nurses ran around preparing her for her breathing tube. She told us not to worry her mom (my other grandma who is still alive), or her sister. Of course, we did the opposite, and they came and supported her. She made a full recovery, and I am thankful for that.

The fire in February didn’t hurt anyone. It didn’t even destroy any of our belongings. All it did was kill our power for a few days, and made our house smell like smoke for a week. That was cleaned up, and we were able to continue to live normally.

My cousin’s death left a hole in this world. But all I can do is continue to live and remember him as he was.

My grandma lived to be 97 years old. My grandpa died when I was ten, and I remember him a little bit, but not very well. With my grandma, I was able to get to really know her, and learn from her. I’m able to take the lessons she taught me, and apply them to my life. I would not be the same person I am today without her. Having her for 28 years of my life is a blessing, and I won’t take that for granted.

One More Light can be a very sad album, especially if you are someone who life seems to keep throwing shit at you. Addiction, loss of a loved one, or not being able to be there for the ones you love. All of these themes can be found in the album. But we must not forget that this album wasn’t written by a robot. This was written by a group of people; people who have felt all of these things. Chester was one of them, and hearing the songs he sang from this album, you could tell there was true emotion in his voice. The words that Linkin Park wrote, the vocals of Chester and Mike, and my own personal experience makes this one of the most important album I have ever heard.

My heart goes out to Chester’s family, his friends, and the rest of Linkin Park. I pray that Chester doesn’t feel like he’s hanging off the edge anymore. RIP.

I don’t have a leg to stand on, Spinning like a whirlwind nothing to land on
Came so far never thought it’d be done now, Stuck in a holding pattern waiting to come down
Cause I’m tired of the fear that I can’t control this, I’m tired of feeling like every next step’s hopeless
I’m tired of being scared what I build might break apart, I don’t want to know the end, all I want is a place to start
– Mike Shinoda, Place To Start

2017 – Raw Hindsight

The year 2017 might be the shittiest year of my life. I try to stay positive. I really felt bad for people who said 2016 was the worst year of their life. It seemed like everyone on social media was complaining about it. 2016 was a great year for me. I wish the good fortune would have continued. Life just kept handing me lemons, and I could not keep up. Every month, a new “fuck you!” surfaced. Every month, my positivity dwindled.

After work one day in January 2017 my dad tells me my mom is in the emergency room. She had just finished talking to him on the phone, and he is about to leave. I tell him I will drive him to the hospital. We wait about an hour in the waiting room. Finally, the nurse tells us we can go see her. At this point, we have no idea what’s going on. My mom is in good spirits, but the doctor tells her not to talk. He explains she has a rare case of Epiglottitis, which is the inflation of the flap at the base of your tongue; it stops food from going down your trachea. The epiglottis is slowly expanding, and will most likely cut off her airway. The doctor admits her to the ICU, and the doctor needs to place a breathing tube. While the nurses prep her, the doctor explains all of this again. He also says the words that will forever haunt me: “Your mom could die.” Hearing that phrase for the first time really puts things into perspective. This is my mom, who I thought would live forever; however, that is not the case.

February rolls around, and my grandma and aunt are visiting. A few of my friends are over as well, and we are all playing a game from the Jackbox Party Pack. We are having a great time. Suddenly, a popping noise comes from the basement. The TV turns off, and the lights flicker. My uncle runs downstairs, and yells, “Fire!” My brother grabs the fire extinguisher from the under the sink. He runs me over as I attempt to do the same. We stay in a hotel for over a week as the damage is repaired.

I get a text message from my mom in March. She tells me my cousin is dead. Coincidentally, he had died in a house fire. It feels like a cruel joke played by the universe. He left behind our family, including both his parents. He also left behind a wife, and two children; one of them not even a year old. I am very sad at the loss of my cousin, but I am even more devastated for his wife and two sons. His sons won’t get to know their father.

April is not about to let up. I visit my other grandma for the last time. Before April, her mind was sharp and she was in good health for a 97 year old. However, she caught the bug that was making its rounds at my cousin’s funeral. It is too much for her. She stops eating, and is bedridden. April should have been a joyous time. My friend got married, but at his wedding reception I had to put on a happy mask. I want to celebrate with my friends, but I cannot stop thinking about my grandma. The mask cracks at a bar outside of the reception hall. I break down and lay it all out to another friend.

I expect May. My grandma passes away after spending several weeks in bed, and not eating. I attend her funeral.

At this point, I expect something to happen in June. Spending time in the hospital, being in and out of hotels, and traveling for funerals really puts a strain on me. All I want is a return to normalcy. Thankfully, June is uneventful.

July is a bit rough. Linkin Park was going to perform in a city near me in August, and I purchased tickets as soon as they were on sale. This would have been my fourth time seeing them live. I was so excited. In July, I read a Reddit post saying the lead singer, Chester Bennington, is found dead. I do not idolize celebrities, but this one hurt. I grew up listening to Chester’s voice. His voice was there for many major events in my life, including my cousin’s and grandma’s deaths. The song, One More Light, did not tell me that it was going to okay; it told me there are other people who know how I feel, and it fucking sucks! There are people who care if one more light goes out! And now Chester’s light has gone out.

August did not give me a break. Our dishwasher floods into the bathroom, and destroys quite a bit. It forces me to use a different bathroom to shower for a few weeks. All I want is everything to be normal, and showering daily in a different bathroom is not normal. It is a little thing, but really wears on my psychological health.

September, October, November, and December are spent finding my normal; to rejuvenate my mental and emotional health. I do not travel, except to see my other grandma. I take a week off from work just to take a staycation. Although I have scars, I eventually feel replenished. I can finally look back and see the good.

My mom did not die! The doctors were able to insert the breathing tube. They did not need to do a tracheotomy. She stayed in the hospital a few nights for observation, and then she went home. God bless her, her spirit was never broken. I wish I could be as calm as her.

The fire did not harm any one or any of the pets. No possessions were destroyed. My family and friends sprang into action, got the fire out, 911 called, and all of the pets escorted to safety. I owe a whole lot of gratitude to them. The only thing ruined was the circuit breaker and box. We had to stay in a hotel for a week in the middle of February, but it was mild weather during this time. Humans and pets moved back once the mess was cleaned up.

My friend got married to the love of his life! How cool is that? I wish I could have celebrated with them during their big day.

Yeah, we also saw a flood, but we got a new shower out of it. It’s better than the old one!

With my grandma, I am thankful I got to say goodbye to her. I got to love her, and know her for 28 years of my life. Knowing she is not suffering anymore is a blessing, but I wish she had not had to suffer the last few weeks of her life. Even though I got to say goodbye I wish I could talk to her more.

I have not found the silver lining to my cousin’s death. The reality is, there never will be one. No parent should have to bury their son or daughter. Every son should have a chance to know their father. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to share a story about their father to his sons.

Through all the bad things, 2017 offered other good things as well. 2017 will always remind me not to get hung up on the bad things. When bad stuff happens there are two things you can do: change the situation, or accept it. Sometimes, you can help other people change their bad situations, and you should strive to help. Sometimes, you have to accept it and move on. Part of moving on is focusing on the positive and see that they outweigh the negatives. That does not mean the negatives don’t hurt; they absolutely do.


I will make it through this, Digging deep; sinking in
I’m done with everything holding, holding me down
I will make it through this, There’s a time to die and a way to live
I’m not going out like this
– Nothing More, Tunnels

2018 – The Starting Point

A healthy part of experiencing tragedy is to create and achieve goals for yourself. Making sure your life moves forward despite what happened. Last year, I told myself I need to get back into reading. I have finished three books since November, and just started a fourth. I plan on continuing to find the time to read, even though I probably will not reach the frequency I did in middle school and high school. Also last year, I made a goal to work on the backlog of shows I want to watch. Now, the only Marvel Netflix show I have left is The Punisher, and I’m a few episodes in; I should finish it within a month. At the beginning of January, I created new category in my Steam library called “Games to Play in 2018” to put a dent in my gaming back catalog. I have completed one of them, and I am almost finished with two others. Sometimes a short term goal grows out of a short term goal. I plan on buying a house before I am thirty, and if things go well, I should be purchasing one this year.

To accomplish goals, you need a starting point. A goal I have been setting for myself for years now is to write and publish more. Sure, I write some things that never see the light of day, but I never publish them; even those writings are very infrequent. Consider this post a starting point.

At first, I did not think I needed this post. I have three articles written about the year 2017, and how I experienced it. I have been writing the articles since December, but they have been in my head since January 2017. Two of the articles are very personal. They were written out of negativity. At first, I thought I needed an introductory article to give you a warning. However, this article you are reading now is only an assurance that I am moving forward. I am making progress on goals no matter how small. As long as I push on, I can hold my head up high and say tragedy may have changed me, but it did not keep me down.

If you are feeling knocked down, or stuck in a rut because of tragedy, I suggest creating goals for yourself. Making progress on those goals can feel rewarding. Maybe you will not feel it right away, but when you look back you can take pride in the progress you made. All it takes is a starting point, and then you can feel good looking forward, instead of dwelling on the past.

The next few articles might have been written in negativity, but they were also written as therapy. 2017 hangs heavy over me, but I have a good feeling about 2018. Please check in on the blog in the next few days. Thank you for taking the time to read.


Put my filters on tell myself “I think I can” increasingly harder, When you’re aware of your surroundings
So, cast your vision or get cast as a victim, If I’m getting knocked out I’m going down swinging
Optimistic child nothing was impossible, All eyes on tomorrow with something to aspire to
Gratitude keeps us strong self-pity makes you fragile, But sometimes we can’t see our dreams just the obstacles
Some people say no regrets as a form of denial, Some people say no regrets when they’re out of control
Some people say it with their backs against the wall, It’s always best to say it after you’ve given it your all
– John Reuben, Oh Baby Don’t Waste Your Time