U2 front man Bono has given an emotional insight into the last moments of his dying father in a new book released today.
He said the pair were frequently at odds since his mother died when he was a child.
In the book, Sons+Fathers, he said his father’s last words were: “F*** off. I want to go home, I need to go home.”
The book, which will raise funds for the Irish Hospice Foundation, features a number of high-profile figures detailing their own relationship with their dads, the Irish Mirror reports.
It was inspired by a number of tender drawings Bono had done of his father, Robert Hewson, which he submitted to the charity.
In it he reveals: “We danced until his death, the ancient ritual of son versus father. His last words were absolutely fitting.
“I was lying on a mattress in Beaumont Hospital beside his bed, having flown home after a U2 show in London.
“My father woke up in the middle of the night, anxious and whispering. His Parkinson’s disease had taken some of his beautiful tenor away.
“The whispers were percussive, animated. I called the nurse and we both leaned in to try and make out what he was saying.
“Through the strained rasping, loud and clear, burst ‘F**k off!’ Then, ‘I want to go home. I need to go home.’ And he did. I’m looking forward to seeing him there.”
Reflecting on his dad’s last moments after a battle with cancer, the With or Without You hitmaker credited him as the source of his creativity.
He said: “My father had spent his last few weeks conserving energy for his next adventure, largely by sleeping, where the grace of the angels, aka the nursing staff, made the incomprehensible (for any of us) as bearable as it could ever be.
“I had taken to drawing him as he slept to try and stay awake, but also to meditate on what a special, talented man I had been given for a father. All my creativity comes from him.
“He read Shakespeare, he painted, he sang, he danced. And when he wasn’t arguing with men, he made women laugh.”
The book Sons+Fathers. Bono’s writing about his father’s last words.
Bono also reflected on how his relationship with his dad had become strained after his mother Iris passed away when he was a teenager.
He said: “When she was gone, taken by a blood clot that turned like a switch in her head, 10 Cedarwood Road was no longer a home.
“It was a house of three males: my brother Norman (Nobby), me, and my grief-stricken father, who had now, to our sulking teenage eyes, become an unwanted figure of authority – a sergeant major, dishing out to my brother and me the tasks that my mother used to perform.
“My brother did good. I did bad. I was unaware of the hormonal drag that was going to pit me against this great man and turn me into a little b*****.”
Robert, or Bob as he was affectionately known, was a devout Catholic, while Iris had raised her two sons as Protestant.
Bono said his father’s take on religion taught him one of the most important lessons of his life.
He revealed: “Christmas morning was always the argument of the year. Religion. I didn’t realize then that he was teaching me a great lesson: question everything.
“While he didn’t like me to question his authority, he encouraged us to question every other authority.
“Here in the 1960s was a Catholic, who drove his Protestant wife and two kids to a little Church of Ireland chapel in Finglas every Sunday, attended mass in the Catholic church, then returned to pick them up.
“He understood that God and religion were two separate concepts, and that one could keep you away from the other. Wise is another word for his no-nonsense-Dub view of the world.”
Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley paid tribute to the singer for inspiring the collection of stories.
She said: “Bono planted the seed for this book with his generous gift of the drawing he made of his father when he was dying.
“He asked if they could be used to raise money for The Irish Hospice Foundation, so we decided on a book, and the net was cast wide and far.
“We were blown away by the response and generosity of the participants, all who are very busy, well-known people.”
Sons+Fathers also features contributions from the likes of Bill Clinton, Daniel Day Lewis and Paul McCartney.
In it the former US President recounts his lifelong struggle to keep hold of the memory of a father tragically lost before he was born.
He writes: “When I became a father myself, I tried to remember that it was my most important job, one I wanted to do well for the daughter I adore and a lost father who was denied life’s greatest gift.”
Other contributors include Mick Heaney, son of the late poet Seamus, who passed away in 2013.
He said: “One of the things I miss about Dad is having those conversations, where nothing of consequence was said because there was no need to, and I could just bask in his company.”