Chester Bennington’s Widow on Singer’s Passing: ‘It’s Nobody’s Fault’
In the time since Chester Bennington's death last summer, the singer's widow Talinda Bennington has dedicated herself to bringing attention to mental health issues and helping those dealing with depression or have been affected by suicide. Bennington recently took part in the Canadian Event Safety Summit (seen above), in which she spoke about mental illness while addressing her own experience with Chester's death.
Bennington says that her husband's death came as "a complete surprise" to her, stating, "My husband had had a past… in the past, he had attempted suicide, but I thought to myself, 'It was 'cause he was wasted. He was this or that.' So [before] he did pass, I thought very naïvely, we were in the clear."
She added, "We had a very, very dear friend, Chris Cornell, take his own life. And I felt that, 'Okay, Chester sees what Vicky and [their] kids' — we're godparents to their children — 'what they're going through and this will never happen.'"
During the chat, Bennington revealed that she and Chester and their children had taken a trip to Sedona, Ariz., just prior to the singer's death. She recalls, "He had to go back home early to work. He was very excited to be promoting the new album and doing stuff, so he was happy. He gave me a kiss goodbye, he gave the kids a kiss goodbye, and I never saw him again." Bennington revealed the difficulty in making the trip from Arizona to their California home, having to enter the house and make peace with what had happened in order to process and normalize it.
Speaking about her husband's struggles with addiction, Bennington stated that Chester had been sober for almost six months and had spoken in the past about the shame that came when he relapsed. "[It was] shame that he had just begun to share with me in the couple of months before he died, shame I didn't even know a person could have," she said. "So when he passed, and I learned that there were two empty beer bottles in the room, I knew he had relapsed, but I also knew he wasn't so intoxicated out of his mind like I would have thought. I knew instantly that that drink triggered that shame, triggered a lifetime of unhealthy neural pathways."
In the aftermath of Chester's death, Bennington says she questioned what could have been done. "As much as social media has been a huge support for me, I do every now and then get people blaming me — straight-up blaming me — for him dying, for not saving him, for mistreating him. Who knows why these people behind their devices are saying these horribly cruel things to me? But, you know, it is a little stab in the heart, but what I have to remember is that it's not my fault, it's not my children's fault, it's not the band's faults — it's nobody's fault," says Bennington, who reiterates, "It's not a fault. It's years of untreated mental health, which led to substance abuse, which led to unhealthy relationships. By the time I met him, he was ready to be healthier."
Bennington has been using the hashtags #FuckDepression and #MakeChesterProud to help open the discussion via social media. Bennington also revealed at the Chester Bennington Memorial Concert last fall that she was launching the 320 Changes Direction organization, which was named after Chester's birthday. The organization was built as a resource for friends and family members who are seeking answers about mental health, mental illness and addiction. Learn more about 320 Changes Direction here.
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