A message from Jason Becker who shared a letter written by his mother Pat about the day in 1996 Eddie Van Halen visited Jason:
On January 26, 1955, Edward Van Halen came into the world. Then, on February 10, 1978, the guitar world was changed forever with the release of Van Halen’s first album. It is impossible to overstate his importance, from technique to live performance, and also being the eternal tone chaser! Without Eddie, the world of guitar would be a very different place. He pushed the boundaries of everything that was thought to be possible on the instrument, inspiring millions worldwide to do the same, me included!
My family and I are some of those very fortunate people who had the privilege of calling him our friend and who got to see a side of Edward that few will ever know: kindness, compassion, and a heart as big and beautiful as the sound that came screaming out of his amplifiers.
I want to share some beautiful moments of his visit with us in 1996 so that all of you can understand what a beautiful and kind soul he was. The following letter was written by my mom Pat about that day.
I hope you enjoy this brief glimpse of that day, and please join me, my family, and millions of fans around the world in honoring Eddie on his birthday.
Here’s the letter from Jason’s mother, Pat:
“When Eddie Van Halen arrived at our home to be a part of the telethon for ALS with Jason, he came in carrying a guitar. Our home is small, and when he walked into the living room where Jason was, he caught my eye and I could tell he was a bit uncomfortable, so I led him to the back room where he put the guitar down and said, “I brought this guitar to give to Jason; it’s my Wolfgang, but I don’t know if I should give it to him since he can’t play, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings or make him feel bad. What should I do?” He was very emotional and crying a bit. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Jason will be thrilled to receive your gift. You are a hero to him, and you here makes him so happy.” Jason was at a very weak stage, having a hard time swallowing, talking, and even holding his head up. He felt so bad that he couldn’t properly express his love and appreciation to Eddie for coming to his home and honoring him this way. It is a bittersweet memory for him, and much like his life, it was the best thing that could have happened to him, but under the worst circumstances. Shortly after, Jason got his trache and stomach tube.
As the visit continued and we got to know each other, it was clear that this guy had a heart filled with love and wanted to do whatever he could to help Jason and all of us. We all felt wrapped up in the warmth of his love, and it was one of those rare moments when we felt hopeful. His kindness and sensitivity for Jason made me emotional. I wanted to let Eddie know how much his artistry meant to Jason. He always made me think of Jason because I thought they looked like they could be related, and when they played guitar, they reminded me of a couple of young boys delighting in the sheer fun of playing and being on stage doing what they knew they were meant to do. That sense of fun and that carefree joy was so much fun to watch, especially when combined with the astounding talent.
Eddie left us all with such a feeling of hope and happiness, and although we didn’t see him again, we talked to him several times and he was always there for us, gently guiding us back to some kind of hope. So, when I think of Eddie Van Halen, I think of two things he had; the spirit of fun and not taking anything too seriously and the kind, generous, open heart he gave to us in our time of need. We all love him dearly.”