I am still grappling the loss of Eddie Van Halen… this legendary guitarist made a monumental mark on my life. I was named after his brother, Alex Van Halen and grew up in a home with a father who worked in the music industry. Our decoration in our living room was a wall, corner to corner of vinyl records. From Warner Brothers to Virgin Records my childhood was smack dab in the middle of rock n’ roll music.
The memories that have started to flow in start with flying down the 2222 hill in Austin tucked in my dad’s 911 Porsche with the speakers blaring “Why Can’t This Be Love?” to creating our own family music video when I was in 2nd grade visiting Disney World to their song “Jump!” (I was on keys, my brother Chase was Eddie on guitar). When I was in 5th grade I was able to invite one of my best friends, Nikki, to the Van Halen concert and we were able to go on the tour bus and it was one of the best concerts I had ever been to. I remember stopping before we left, because mom expected us home at a decent time, watching the stage and just feeling that elation you feel when you find that connection with music. These memories are weaved into my heart and life forever.
Through the years, I would put on Van Halen because I just loved their music, I loved their lyrics, I loved the guitar and the drums. And it had such a nostalgic connection for me. When I would come home with great news, I would play "Standing On Top of the World" and dance around the kitchen, to listening to "Panama" when we started our vacation roadtrip, so many of their songs were my go tos no matter what I faced in life.
Van Halen is an immediate connection to my dad, of all the things my dad has taught me and showed me in this life it would start with music. My dad was able to teach me life lessons through music and lyrics. Certain songs and certain bands, such as Van Halen are like a reminder of what all my dad has done for me. My dad fought against the factory push in the 60s to live out his dream, as a pretty talented drummer himself he pushed his way into the music industry and taught me if you put your mind to it you can do anything.
I taught for 5 years, and one of the annual writing assignments I would give was to watch the “Right Now” music video by Van Halen, with lyrics and answer questions. I felt like this video was so impactful for young adolescents and important to keep them in touch with legendary music.
When I met my husband, we realized we had a common love for Van Halen, as we planned our wedding Evan decided he wanted to walk down the aisle to the instrumental version of “Right Now” which was so perfect. Then when we became pregnant, we quickly decided on the name of Halen for our girl. I loved the idea of keeping the name in the family (my middle name is Alex after Alex Van Halen, as I mentioned above) and I just thought it had a beautiful, unique ring to it.
I found myself brought to tears this morning, listening to some of these nostalgic songs and the memory lane reel playing through my mind.
What has Van Halen taught me?
The lyrics from “Right Now” would be my answer:
Don’t wanna wait til tomorrow,
Why put it off another day?
One more walk through problems,
Built up, and stand in our way.
One step ahead, one step behind me.
Now you gotta run to get even.
Make future plans, don’t dream about yesterday.
C’mon turn, turn this thing around.
It’s your tomorrow.
C’mon it’s everything.
Catch your magic moment, do it right here and now.
It means everything.
You miss a beat, you lose the rhythm,
And nothing falls into place.
Only missed by a fraction, slipped a little of your pace.
The more things you get, the more you want…. Just trade in one for the other, workin so hard to make it easier whoa. Got to turn, c’mon turn this thing around. Right now.
It’s your tomorrow.
It means everything.
What are you waitin for?
Life is fleeting. I have learned that life altering perspective through my cancer journey and we get reminders daily with the loss of special people. These lyrics, this band, my dad has taught me how important it is to love each other despite our differences.
As a 36 year old, looking at these lyrics now, I firmly believe I took these words to heart and reached out for that tomorrow. I found my magic moment and changed the way I lived my life. I realized that just as life is short, all the things I had made so important were not what I needed to focus on. Jesus needed to be my main focus and loving people as He loves us. And when I do that the magic moment turns into unspeakable joy. And that is available to anyone, anytime.
I pray that Eddie Van Halen is resting in peace, I pray for his family for Wolfgang and Valerie, I pray for all the fans who were so dedicated to him and this renowned band.
Thank you Eddie.