Geddy Lee Reveals Two Big Traumas Made Him Unhappy: ‘I Was Kind Of Stuck’

Rush’s Geddy Lee released his new autobiography, ‘My Effin’ Life,’ on November 14. In a chat about his book with Rock ‘n’ Radio, he opened up about two traumas that motivated him to write the memoir.

The singer mentioned the loss of his bandmate, Neil Peart, saying:

“Being locked down in the pandemic alone with the aftermath of Neil’s passing, all that had transpired in the last few years of his life had left me quite unhappy. I was kind of stuck, needed to find a way to move forward.”

He also explained how his mother’s health issues and death affected him:

“So, part of that was trying therapy, and the other part of that was trying to look back into my own life. Plus, the fact that my mother was suffering from dementia, and I was watching her lose her memory. Those things drove me to write this book.”

Neil Peart’s Passing

Peart passed away from brain cancer on January 7, 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 breakout. Nobody, except for the people in his close circle, knew about the late drummer’s disease until his death.

Having to keep Peart’s condition a secret also had an impact on Lee, as he recently told the Los Angeles Times:

“I’d gone through 3½ difficult years of hiding Neil’s illness and lying to my friends. It was a secret that Alex [Lifeson] and I couldn’t talk about. When Neil passed, there was an outpouring, like a dam burst. My wife and I went to New Zealand on a walking trip. When you walk, you can try to make sense of something. But making sense of death is a fruitless task.”

Mother’s Dementia And Death

In the months following the drummer’s death, Lee’s mother, Mary Weinrib, also lost her life a few weeks shy of her 96th birthday. According to the singer, she started to forget everything, including who her son was, shortly before her passing on July 2, 2021.

Lee used his autobiography as a way ‘to process his mother’s decline,’ as he told Toronto Life:

“I always knew there would be a section about my parents. They came to Canada in 1946 after surviving the Holocaust. I wouldn’t be who I am without hearing about how they overcame their trauma. I wanted to know exactly what happened in those years, and writing this memoir forced me to do the research. I got to learn about Wierzbnik, in Poland, where my mom was raised, by cross-referencing her stories with interviews some of my relatives had done with the Shoah Foundation.”

The Effect Lee’s Mother Had On Him

Weinrib’s obit revealed that she grew up in a Jewish shtetl in Poland and survived Auschwitz concentration camps during World War II. She met Lee’s father during that period, and the couple got married in 1946.

After her husband died in 1965, Weinrib managed the variety store he left behind and took care of their three kids on her own. That’s why, speaking about how his mother inspired him throughout his life in an episode of ‘From Cradle To Stage,’ Lee said:

“I saw how hard my mother worked to keep my family together.”

You can find Geddy Lee’s interview about ‘My Effin’ Life’ below.