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Mssg to band: You Got Me Through (Please read, but LONG post)


toyoracer
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Not sure if this is the right place to post this or if it will even be seen by the band or anyone close to them, but i feel like just laying this out here, so here goes...

I want to sincerely thank U2 for being the music in my life that has been in the background of both good and bad times. The story starts when I was around 5 yrs old. My mother was showing me some old albums of hers. She had a couple of old The Police and U2 records. Funny, what she was telling me didn't seem important at the time, but apparently I remembered something about them. I was 7 yrs old when the PopMart tour was advertised on TV one day. I got really excited and fascinated with the colors and costumes of what I now know was the "Discotheque" video being shown in the ad. I waited apprehensively for the Houston date, and lo and behold, there it was - November 28, 1997! I scribbled down the date inside the cover of a notebook and ran to show my Mom, sure she would agree to us going. Well, I got a stern, "No, I have to work that night!" I just sulked away in defeat. 2000 came with "Beautiful Day", at which I went through a "I hate U2" phase that had no basis other than I didn't like the way they looked. Sorry guys! There is no rationale in a 10 yr old mind.

Fast forward to 2004 and the promotion of HTDAAB and the iTunes ads. My, my marketing does work. I caught myself getting hooked on a little song called "Vertigo", which I couldn't believe I was liking. "No!", I thought, "I can't like this band! I don't want to like this song! This is U2. Bleh.", yet I kept listening. I decided to give the band another shot and return to the fascination I had of them as a child. As I started to dig into the back catalogue, I realized just HOW MANY songs I did know and like already: "Pride", "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "New Year's Day", "Mysterious Ways", all "The Joshua Tree" singles. Something about the band just spoke to me when I actually sat and listened to their songs and lyrics. I loved the message. Whenever I would listen to the songs, I felt good, while a good portion of the songs put me into thought and think about the state of the world. I would have to say that U2 helped bring me into my consciousness. I started to read up on social issues and get involved. At that point I knew this was a band I liked, a band that made music with love, soul, and thought. As I was digging into U2's catalogue, my Mom was revisiting the same catalogue. In the 2 months prior to Christmas 2004, my Mom had bought almost the whole U2 catalogue up to that point in time. We both knew that when the band would tour again, we would have to go.

That moment came on October 28, 2005 during the Vertigo tour. I can still remember that morning when my Mom and I headed to the GA queue. We really had no idea what we were doing; this was my first concert EVER and my Mom's first concert in many yrs, maybe more than a decade. For the both of us, it was our first time seeing U2. The wait seemed long, but we stuck it out since we figured it would pay off when we see the show, plus we got to meet some neat people in the queue. The wait paid off. The first song of the set was "City of Blinding Lights". I still recall the confetti falling from the top of the arena, the lights, and the beginning notes of the song as the band all appeared on the stage. We were able to be about 3 rows from the outer ellipse, which was a lot to handle for a first timer. In my head I was thinking "I'm here, finally!" My Mom got so excited she had a wardrobe malfunction. Our emotions were on overdrive. Do we scream? Do we cry? Do we sing? How about we do all those things at once? I didn't want the show to end, but ended it did. That concert that night initiated my love for live music. It had an impact on my Mom, as well. From that moment, we proceeded to see many bands live with an open ear to U2, in case they came back to town. We were eager and patient. 4 years passed and the band hit town again during the 360 tour. My Mom and I got excited at the announcement. We did our GA queue, lining a few hours earlier this time around in the hopes of getting a better spot. Like before, we made connections with the people in line around us and passed the time until the gates opened. I probably got a little too excited and ran off and left my Mom when the GA gates opened. She wasn't too happy about that. It wasn't intentional! She was a stubborn lady and refused to join me on Adam's side of the stage, wanting me to instead come to her (wherever that was). I told her to come to where I was since there were some nice fans who invited me to join them on the front rail and were willing to have her join, too. She wasn't having any of that, so we experienced the concert separately. All in all, we both enjoyed the show, making buddies with the people around us. After the show, I promised her I wouldn't run off like a bat out of hell at the next show. I had every intention of keeping that promise. Despite the friendly people around me, the show would've been much better with her by my side. 

There was some quiet time in the U2 touring scene for us after that. We did not have the funds to travel to different locations, so we could only wait until there was a Houston show. Time went on. I graduated college. I got my first job as a nurse in a local hospital. Things were going pretty well until March 2013. My Mom had gotten her yearly mammogram, which results had came back suspicious. She usually got that alert, so we really thought nothing of it until she was sent for a biopsy. One day at work, she kept calling me. I couldn't figure out why since I told her to not call me at work. I listened to her voicemail when I got the time and that's when I heard words I never thought I would hear - "The results for the biopsy came back positive for cancer". Umm, what?! That couldn't be, but it was. When you first hear those words, you feel defeated, but then you realize that it is a journey and you can't start that journey without taking the necessary steps. Over the next few months she walked those steps and by the end of August 2013, she was in remission. Glory to God! We celebrated. We figured if we could get through cancer, we could get through anything. When the new year, 2014, was rung in, we were kicking 2013 in the butt and looking forward to a better 2014. Cheers!

2014 had tricks up it's sleeve, however. Oh, it started out fine, but halfway through, my Mom started to fall ill. Within 1 month, she had to be taken to the ER at least 4 times. No one could figure what was going on with her. the first thing was to rule out the cancer; cancer diagnosis clear. At the end of June, she was admitted to the ER again. It appeared as if they finally had a working diagnosis. With that in mind, we thought she would be able to recover and come back home. I knew she could do it. You all don't know my Mom, but if you did, you would never forget her. She was a strong spirit. She beat cancer! She had a sharp tongue and was never short of words. She could be a people pleaser and a rebel rouser. You either loved her or hated her (most people loved her!), but you would definitely know her. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and despite her best efforts, she was getting weaker. I visited her everyday in the hospital. I would try to bring back some normalcy into her life, including listening to U2 songs. It had been months since she had been able to listen, so upon her request, we had a little YouTube U2 concert. The smile came back to her face. She was able to lift her head and smile and move her hands as much as she could. A favorite song of hers was "Kite". That song always made her cry. I don't know why, but she said it just always struck her hard. When she requested to hear it, I didn't want to play it because I didn't want to see her cry. She insisted and said she wouldn't cry. Who was I to deny her? Yep, well that didn't last because she cried...and I let her. I knew she was going through pain and maybe she needed that cry to heal. After she was done, she laughed because she knew she said she wouldn't cry and she did. It was good to laugh. After that day, she seemed to be on the mend and was eventually discharged to a physical rehab facility. However, times got hard again. She went back and forth to the hospital from the rehab. She got so weak she was bed bound. I couldn't understand how it could be happening. I didn't not recognize her anymore. It's as if she had lost her spirit. 

It was during this time that "Songs of Innocence" was dropped on iTunes. I shared the news with my Mom and she was able smile with a little happiness. I went home later and listened to the record. When "Iris" was playing, I started to feel unsettled. It felt like what Bono was singing was the exact feelings that I was having. Although I had not lost my Mom, in a way, it felt as if I had. I started to cry so hard. I thought to myself "I guess this is my Kite". When I visited my Mom again, I shared the song with her, telling her it made me cry, but not why. I just wanted her to listen. She had no emotional reaction and said that "Kite" was sadder. I just couldn't bring myself to explain to her WHY it made me sad, so I generalized the subject matter of the song and left it at that. We continued to spend time together and in between the painful moments, watched some U2 videos. She was interested in the Rolling Stone magazine with U2 on the cover, so I took that for her to read. Then, the I+E tour was announced. Unfortunately, there was no Houston date. I told my Mom about the tour and that I wanted to go, but I understood if she didn't want me to be gone for too long in order to spend time with her. She said she didn't want to hold me back and to buy tickets. I decided to pick one of the Boston dates, since we have family there. I told her the plan and she was okay with it, which seemed odd to me. With a heavy heart, I tried to figure out the logistics of who could check on my Mom (she was then downgraded to an assisted nursing facility) while I was gone. The day seemed to so far off, so I just went about my day to day life with her.

Now, it was 2015. I tried to settle into what seemed like our new normal. I wanted her to go with me to the show, but realistically knew that she couldn't. That was hard for me to reconcile. However, I was glad she was in my life and figured I would tell her all about the concert when I return. Fate thought differently. On Feb 26, she was rushed to the ER from the nursing facility. I couldn't understand what was going on and left work to find her. My world fell apart. I found out that she had coded and the ER team had to revive her. From that moment on, she remained in a coma. I visited her everyday, talking to her, encouraging her to not leave me. She couldn't respond but I hoped she could hear me. Being a registered nurse, I knew what the medical team meant when they said there was little chance for recovery, but the emotional side of be refused to believe. I wanted a miracle. March 4, 6 days later, she couldn't fight anymore. 2 days before her 58th birthday, my Mom was gone. I didn't want to deal with this at 25 yrs old. My Mom was supposed to be there for the rest of the milestones in my life and now she wouldn't. I became bitter. I became depressed. Life just felt gray. I was already in the process of purchasing a home prior to this, as it was a dream for my Mom to see me do so. I completed the process and thought when I signed the deed I would turn into Cinderella and feel better. Nope. I felt the same, but with a mortgage to my name.

Right after moving into my home, I was that time of year to head to Boston to see U2. For the first time in my life, I really wasn't thrilled to see them live. I went through the motions and headed out on my trip. a part of me wanted to get away from Houston for awhile, so I was happy to have a break. I was also looking forward to spending time with my cousin in Boston, so I made resolution it couldn't be too bad. Seeing U2 would just be an addition, not the attraction. For the days leading up to the concert, I toured the city. Boston is a beautiful city. Show day came. I drug my cousin out to the queue early AM because, well, old habits die hard. I was starting to get excited to see the boys play. We got rail on the 'e' stage and settled ourselves in. I thought, "This could be good. It will be good." The show started and I was transported back to the good times. I cheered and clapped to old favorites and new favorites. I had brought a sign to the concert. i don't consider myself a "sign person", but that night I felt like including my Mom and thought I could do so with the sign. the sign read "My Mom loved Kite. She's listening from above." When "Iris" started to play live, the emotions came flooding back. A fan next to me saw me crying and noticed my sign. She asked about it and I told her my story. She seemed touched and started to cry. Now we were both out there crying in the crowd. I held my sign out out on the rail in the hopes that someone from the band would see it. It looked as if Bono had seen it, but I wasn't sure so just shrugged it off. Then came the time for "Mysterious Ways". the crowd was in a tizzy. The band were in their places on the 'e' stage. Gosh, what a moment. Bono strolled among the edges of the stage, looking at the crowd and then he stopped. Um, was he looking at my sign? Yep. I was elated in that moment and could've left with that. Then, not even a minute later, I was called to dance. It couldn't be. What do I do? Can I do this? Before I knew it, I was up there in front of thousands of people AND my favorite band. I took the moment and let myself dance and enjoy. Wait, how could I be dancing? My Mom wouldn't believe it. I closed my eyes for a second, thinking I was dreaming, but everyone was still there when I opened them up. I didn't allow myself to think too much and I just danced, danced as 16 yr old me in 2005 would've wanted to with my Mom looking on in the crowd. When it was all done and I was back in the crowd, I was in disbelief. That didn't happen. Nope, no way. My new crying friend was crying again in the crowd. She was happy for me. After the show, people were high fiving me and giving me thumbs up. I guess something did happen. I still had to go to YouTube to find a clip to prove to myself that it did.

When it started to sink in, I started to feel a change. I felt renewed. Life was in color again. I realized that although nothing can bring my Mom back, I could still live.I realized that by me living my life and not going through the motions, it would make for great memories when me and My Mom meet again. At the same time, it felt as if my Mom was up there with me, giving me dancing tips (she was a great dancer, too. Tellin ya, you would've loved her). Even though she was not there physically, I felt like she was spiritually, taking it all in. We did share that moment. My faith was renewed. I feel that God moves in mysterious ways (no pun intended) and wanted me to experience that moment to realize how he could move in my life and bring me closer to Him through time of trouble. I will never understand why I lost my Mom and wish right now that she was here, sparing me from writing this terribly long post. Alas, that is not how things turned out. All I can say is thank you to Bono. Thank you to Adam. Thank you to Larry. Thank you to The Edge. Thank you all for making music set to the good times of my life and carrying me through the dark times. I don't know if y'all feel like you don't make a difference in people's lives but you do. Thank you. I'm sure my Mom would thank you, too!

With love,

Chloe

[OKAY, who actually read all this? I've been holding on to this awhile and just had to word vomit and get this all out since I doubt I will ever be able to tell the band all of this face to face. For all who read it, you the real MVPs]

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Very well written and I can relate to this well. My father (who died when I was 29 and he was 54) was a u2 fan as well and I spent my last moments with him listening to U2 songs. It was how I said goodbye. He died in September of 2008. A few months after he died, I sent in a story about how I said goodbye to him into a u2 ticket contest and won a ticket to see them during night 1 of Boston. My best friend from childhood, who is also a u2 fan, lost her father just a few months before the concert, and she went to the concert with me. We saw them again together in Boston in 2015, and both of us cried during Iris.

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im a 47 year old married man with two boys. I read the whole thing. Now, theres something in my eye. :-) When my dad passed, first song i listened to when i went home was Stay. I cant even listen to it anymore. Years later when Sometimes you cant make it on your own came out, that tore me up too. Glad you had your moment with the boys. Dont think for one second that your mom wasnt watching from above. God Bless. 

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12 hours ago, nyru2 said:

im a 47 year old married man with two boys. I read the whole thing. Now, theres something in my eye. :-) When my dad passed, first song i listened to when i went home was Stay. I cant even listen to it anymore. Years later when Sometimes you cant make it on your own came out, that tore me up too. Glad you had your moment with the boys. Dont think for one second that your mom wasnt watching from above. God Bless. 

Bless you and thank you for reading. Sometime you can't make it on your own was a hard one for me when I lost one of my favorite aunts. U2 has some songs that really twist your heart up, but they also help mend it. I can imagine my mom looking on at me during that dance and while I'm seeing them on this tour, going "Ooooo". gives me a little laugh. 

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Thank you for sharing your incredible story; what a beautiful piece of writing.  Anyone who thinks music doesn't help people or affect people's lives should read this amazing piece.  And now "Kite" is playing in my head, so thank you for that as well!

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