George and Olivia Harrison in 1979 (Photo: Vinnie Zovant/Getty Images)

“He’d always say, ‘I gave my nervous system to the Beatles. “

George and Olivia Harrison in 1979 (Photo: Vinnie Zovant/Getty Images)

“I remember, when George died, he wanted the clock to stop right then and there, because I thought, ‘One day I’ll turn back, and it will take five years. “Now it is 20 years,” reflects Olivia Harrison, while speaking to Yahoo Entertainment via Zoom from England.

George Harrison’s widow is now looking back at the hair collection The Lightning Came: Twenty Poems by Georgeabout her life with the legendary guitarist of the Beatles, who died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001. She explains, “I think this is more private and intimate than any autobiography I could have written in the traditional format.”

The poetic love story of Olivia Trinidad Arias and George Harrison began in 1974, when they met when Olivia was working as a marketing executive at A&M Records. At the time, George was splitting from his first wife, model Patti Boyd, and, as Olivia says, “he was having a little fun.” She admits she “definitely had some concerns” about being romantically involved with the Beatles — “I thought, ‘Wait, wait. am I truly Want to get into this? “—and even remember George’s good friend Eric Clapton warning her.” Eric said, “If you’re going to stay with George, you’d better put your socks up.” Which means, get ready for the trip,” he chuckles. “I don’t think he meant it in a negative way. He just meant that there’s a lot going on in this world, you know? And he was right about that. …but George was just a real person.”

On paper, Olivia and George probably don’t look alike. She was the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and the daughter of a dry cleaner and tailor who grew up in “Hawthorne That Nobody Knows” in a Los Angeles suburb. He was a famous British rock star. But the two share an almost instant spiritual connection. And on the paper pages of The lightning came, it all makes sense. Two specific poems, “He” and “She”, detail their childhood and particularly George’s “humble beginnings” in post-war Liverpool.

“I tried to tell how I grew up and how it grew up–although they were miles away, they weren’t who – which Olivia explains. Olivia remembers being embarrassed at first to take George to his house in Hawthorne, to her parents’ little home in a small neighborhood, but she chuckles, “He came over there and said, ‘Oh, you’re kidding!'” This is like a file big house Compare where I From! At least you had a bathroom inside! So, my fear was somewhat suppressed by knowing we had the same values, the same upbringing.” (Impressively, during one of the couple’s early visits to the Arias family home, I took Olivia George, a huge Beach Boys fan, on a sightseeing trip. to her old high school, Hawthorne School, which she attended with Dennis Wilson.)

Olivia and George Harrison, shortly after their 1978 wedding. (Image: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Olivia and George Harrison, shortly after their 1978 wedding. (Image: Bettmann/Getty Images)

I always say I wasn’t ‘The Beatles’ wife. “You might say Previous— the wife of defeat,” notes Olivia. “The thing is, when I met George, we kind of changed lanes. We set off and had a normal, quiet life. It wasn’t very Quiet – we had fun! – But we were very special, and the family really made him happy. … he would always say, “I gave my nervous system to the Beatles.” I suppose anyone would have been a little tired of all this yelling in their ears and their stuff. He had a great time, no doubt about it, but then, you know, with [the murder of] john [Lennon]… Enough is enough.”

The lightning came It tells the story of Al Harrison’s international romance in a non-linear fashion, and opens eerily with the poem that “kinda ignited” the project, “Another Spring,” which dates from December 2001. (“All I wanted was another spring/Was that it? So much to ask.” Is this the opening entry for a gut-punch.) There’s my ‘arrival’, about Olivia’s move to George’s famous, disliked Hawthorne home, Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, as he rolls into John and Yoko’s long white car. . The twentieth and final poem from the book, “Tree Time (Ode to Friar Park)” imagines the day Olivia “left the Aquarius” (“What if you were taking your last trip out of your garden?”), i.e. Olivia admits with a laugh, “It sounds a little depressing! ” But The lightning cameThe most harrowing poem is “The Heroic Couple,” which revisits that terrifying night when—nearly 19 years after John Lennon was murdered outside his home by an insane “fan”—a knife-wielding intruder stormed Friar Park through a window and attacked a sleeping Harrison, leaving George He had five stab wounds and a perforated lung.

“It was hard to get it out no matter how many words, because it’s a big story. I could write an essay about it and every move that happened,” says Olivia reflectively. “The stats for this type of attack, at 4:30 in the morning, when your body, adrenaline and everything are at their lowest… the stats are on your side. Not Good. Usually you don’t survive unless you shoot someone. But I won’t do that.”

Instead, Olivia instinctively set off in warrior mode and battled striker Poker Fireplace that night. “This is a test you don’t want. I don’t think you ever know what kind of person you are until you are in this situation.” “But I’m kind of an action person. And that was a moment when he grabbed something. I couldn’t leave George alone in there. And believe me, he fought for me too. There was a moment when I was attacked and poor George was so badly injured… and he jumped on his back.” And the guy was on top of me and we all fell in a big pile. Then I came out from the bottom because I’m fast and cunning. I got out and then I started again! It was so exciting! The unfortunate things of a very troubled person.”

George and Olivia Harrison in 1999 (Image: PA Images via Getty Images)

George and Olivia Harrison in 1999 (Image: PA Images via Getty Images)

This wasn’t the first time Harrison had experienced this kind of horror. In 1989, Olivia was the target of hate mail and death threats in their home. But even then, she had sympathy. “Some people used to write crazy things, and some were really upset. On two occasions, I called people who were really obsessed with George and just spoke to them,” she reveals. “I would just say, ‘You know, life is really powerful, and it’s very easy to get confused. Maybe you should talk to someone, because these fantasies that you have, they’re not real. You’re not in touch with them. But it’s OK.” And they were like, “Oh, thank you.” You just think, ‘Oh, man, someone’s helping that person! Don’t they have any friends or anyone helping them?’

As for George—whom Olivia always describes as “very cute, very cute” and “not into drama”—he maintained his sense of humor even after his horrific near-death experience in 1999.” Right after [the Friar Park attack] It happened, he looked at me – I think we were in the ambulance – and said:BikinbahOlivia chuckles, remembering that her husband was understandably touched by her action-movie-worthy fencing skills that night. “That’s how we communicated, even in those times, you know? …and he said, “Where was my camcorder when I needed it?” Oh my God, we should have filmed it! “George died two years after the stabbing incident, under more peaceful circumstances… and this is the basic story of the “heroic couple.”

“The point of writing that poem, I didn’t really do it I know The point was until I got to the end, that not long after that death Appropriate – Not a charlatan – it happened,” Olivia explains. “You know, so [the home invasion] It could have been his actual death, it could have been the worst thing. The truth is that when George died he did so on his own terms. He was pretty much in control and responsible that day. He felt that John Lennon was really cheated. I mean, it’s one thing to have your life stolen from you, but to also steal the opportunity to leave your body in a beneficial way? If you think the way you die matters – and so do George, and so does George – then denying you the opportunity to leave the way you want to leave is just worst. Which is why he was almost like George happened death that he had. If he died that night [during the knife attack]I don’t know how I’m going to recover from that. It would have been awful. approached. But the point of writing that poem is to say that, George he did not do die this way.”

Olivia, George and Danny Harrison in Paris, 1988 (Photo: GARCIA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Olivia, George and Danny Harrison in Paris, 1988 (Photo: GARCIA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

This leads us to the importance of the title of the book came lightenwhich refers to George’s quiet last moments when he died at the age of 58. “In the Buddhist sense, there is a process that might happen, if we’re lucky, that allows you to let go of everything. I saw George in [the end]And it was so beautiful and so light, because lightning is really lightening — worry, desire, past, future, everything — and being in the present,” Olivia recalls. “And it was like, Whoa. Fabulous. oh, Fabulous“.

“Then our son Danny walked into the room, and George went,”mutton! As if he had not seen him in a hundred years. It was the most beautiful moment, just pure and absolute joy:mutton! I thought, ‘Well, there’s nothing holding him back. There is nothing in the way of this essence of who it is anymore. All attachment is gone,” Olivia continues. “It was something almost like childbirth, so pure and so beautiful. And it was really something that taught me a big lesson. He really showed me an amazing potential. I hope we all get to this point and not panic when we die.”

George died just two months after 9/11 – Olivia and her mother were actually flying to the UK that day, landing at Heathrow amid a flurry of panicked phone calls from George and Danny – and one has to wonder what spirituality is. And an energetic-minded man like George would think if he were to witness the greatest political, social, and environmental chaos that has emerged in the past two decades. “He’ll be scared. Diane and I have talked about it a lot: ‘Oh, boy, if Dad were here, he’d be mad!”’ says Olivia. ‘But I think now he might have just decided, ‘You know what?’ Let’s just try and be the positive energy. He was writing songs about it – just trying to be part of the solution by being his higher self, instead of going down the hole.”

And as to whether Olivia speculates that she and George will meet in peace one day, in some kind of afterlife, when “tree time” finally comes, she ponders: “I don’t know. I think in the Buddhist way: your elements melt, but you’re fine. It’s like this. [body] It will fade, but the energy does not die; It just changes the look. So, whatever happens, it would be nice to think that you could bump into someone somewhere along the line. “

George Harrison with Olivia at his 50th birthday party, 1993 (Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

George Harrison with Olivia at his 50th birthday party, 1993 (Photo: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

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