"It's about the right to begin again. The right to be free of your past. That's grace. So, yes, you can write lyrics about debt relief."
Like A Song: Every Breaking Wave
August 12, 2015
[Ed. note: This is the 93rd in a series of personal essays by the @U2 staff about songs and/or albums that have had great meaning or impact in our lives.]
How does U2 do it? How are they capable of writing the song that perfectly conveys a point in time of my existence? Whether it is a personal triumph, tragedy or turning point, U2 have written songs that could serve as the soundtrack to my life.
“Every Breaking Wave” will go down in history as the track that defines my mid-life years, my 50s, where circumstances have changed and I will change.
I have been divorced for 20 years (wow … really?). As some of you might know, divorce can do a number on you. It tests you. It unleashes an assault on your self-esteem. It crushes your dreams for the future and forever changes you. It took some time, and I survived that loss although not unscathed. I was determined after coming out of the fog that I would never be married again. I would not allow myself to endure that darkness for a second time. I became furiously independent and determined that I could get through life as a single.
Every breaking wave on the shore
Ten years ago I met “Alex.” He was a confirmed bachelor, never married and determined to stay that way. We had several common interests, and he had an adventurous side that was appealing. Perfect, I thought. No worries about commitment. We set out to forge a new path together in Austin. How exciting: a new city with a new partner. For the most part, those first years were exhilarating as we discovered our adopted city together. But there was always an air of impermanence. We flirted with breaking it off again and again because we could. No legal document was holding us back.
Every sailor knows that the sea
Earlier this year, “Alex” and I ended our relationship for good. How easy it was this time around. Find an apartment; divide the furniture. You keep the cats; I’ll take the dog. It was over just that easily. No lawyers and no heartache, or so I thought.
I work as a hospice social worker. I bear witness to the grief that couples experience as they lose their life partners. It can be heart-wrenching, yes, but also joyous to see the bond and deep love that many of these lifelong couples have for each other. They have been steadfast in their commitment and vows to each other. “For better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” How comforting it must be to have your love with you, holding your hand, as you pass from this life.
The sea knows where are the rocks
Over these past few months, I have become aware of how important it is to me to find this true relationship. I do not want my last years of life to be filled with foolish stubbornness. I want that person who will be at my side, wiping my brow and holding my hand as I take that final breath. I will wait for however long it takes. I am hopeful he is out there and we will ride that final wave together, committed until the end.
If you go your way and I go mine
(c) @U2/Austin, 2015