Bono says his mother was ‘never spoken of again’ after her death when he was 14

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Bono has admitted that his family “never spoke” about his mother following her death when he was 14.

In an extract of his forthcoming memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story published in The New Yorker, the U2 frontman recalled his mother Iris Hewson collapsing at her father’s funeral in Dublin in 1974.

“I spot my father carrying my mother in his arms through a crowd, like a white snooker ball scattering a triangle of colour. He’s rushing to get her to the hospital,” Bono wrote.

“‘Iris has fainted. Iris has fainted.’ The voices of my aunts and cousins blow around like a breeze through leaves. ‘She’ll be OK. She’s just fainted.’... Until Ruth, my mother’s younger sister, bursts through the door. ‘Iris is dying. She’s had a stroke.’”

He continued: “Everybody crowds around… Someone realises I’m here, too. I’m 14 and strangely calm. I tell my mother’s sisters and brothers that everything is going to be OK.

“Three days later [my brother] Norman and I are brought into the hospital to say goodbye. She’s alive but barely… Ruth is outside the hospital room, wailing, with my father, whose eyes have less life in them than my mother’s. I enter the room at war with the universe, but Iris looks peaceful. It’s hard to figure that a large part of her has already left. We hold her hand. There’s a clicking sound, but we don’t hear it.”

Bono said that “she was never spoken of again” by his father Bob and brother Norman.

“I fear it was worse than that. That we rarely thought of her again,” he wrote. “We were three Irish men, and we avoided the pain that we knew would come from thinking and speaking about her.

“Three men used to shouting at the television, now shouting at one another. We live in rage and melancholy, in mystery and melodrama. The subject of the opera is the absence of a woman called Iris, and the music swells to stay the silence that envelops the house and the three men – one of whom is just a boy.”

Earlier this year, Bono revealed he has a half-brother whose existence he was unaware of until the year 2000.

Speaking on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, Bono said that he had a “complicated” relationship with his late father, who conceived a child in an extramarital affair.