Updated: Jun 20, 2022
💜The Love Button symbolizes the power of love to ignite a global conversation in healing our world.
We went to a Coldplay concert. Chris Martin performed "Yellow" for Ian. We had a conversation with Chris about Ian and losing a child, sitting in a room that felt like a Buddhist sanctuary, bathed in golden light. We were given hugs by Chris afterward. One would think that's the story - meeting Chris Martin and having him perform a song in Ian's memory! But the real story is how it came to be - the impact of Love and an unlikely little button.
In 2017, Bill and I went to see Coldplay in Cleveland with our friends, Julie and Casey. It was the best show we had ever experienced - full of energy and light. We received Love buttons when we scanned our tickets to get in. I've had that button holding up Ian's picture on the passenger side visor in my car for the last three-plus years.
Over Memorial Day weekend 2022, the four of us went once again to see Coldplay, this time in Chicago at Soldier Field with 53,004 other people. We bought the concert tickets on Christmas Eve and had the choice of Saturday or Sunday night. We chose Sunday. The last time Bill and I were in Chicago was with Ian in 2016 when we took our Belgian exchange student son, Kevin, to visit.
Ian respected the talent of Coldplay and knew all about my love for them, but Coldplay is not music he would normally listen to. We once had a discussion about their music and he said he really liked the song "Yellow." I think it was Jonny Buckland's guitar skills :)
From the start of the trip, things started happening. At first, I just thought "that was cool" but as the weekend progressed, Ian started making himself known in stronger ways. He was showing us that he was with us and not off in his spirit world learning new things. I was a little slow on the uptake that this was happening.
On Friday, we pulled into an airport Park and Ride in Cleveland and the attendant said to "park in row K as in Kelly." We all "whoo-hoo'd" at that. I thought, "Yesssss! This is my weekend."
At the airport, we walked down a concourse and passed an empty gate on the way. Empty except for one person, Ian's band brother, Ben. He was also going to Chicago on a different flight. Ian, Ben and Nick Batton's band was called Chil. We said, "Hi, Ben!" He looked at us, shocked. Ben said he had just been having a sad moment, thinking about Ian and the last time they were at the airport.
The three of them had been on their way to Liverpool, England and had gotten a blueberry hot chocolate at the Dunkin Donuts kiosk. I said, "That sounds horrible," and Ben agreed that it was a terrible drink. Ben had just texted his mother about his sadness and thinking about Ian when we appeared. We hugged, said goodbye and went along our way.
In Chicago on Saturday, Julie and I went into a high-end store to check out what we would not be buying. After exiting, we joined Bill and Casey who had stood outside people watching. Bill said they had been talking with the security guard whose name happened to be...Chill.
That evening, we went to Lou Malnati's for dinner. Bill and I had been there a few times over the years with Austin and Ian to get deep-dish pizza. We headed out later than planned as Casey took a two-hour unexpected nap. I mean, he usually naps, just not that long!
While Bill, Casey and Julie checked in with the hostess, I hung back on the sidewalk. A man who was also waiting for his friends to check-in turned and I saw on his patterned shirt a little Love button. Casey and Julie had gone into the restaurant and Bill stood by the door waiting for me.
Anyone who has seen these buttons and loves Coldplay knows they go hand and hand. I asked the man if he was going to see the show the next night. He looked at me questioningly and I pointed to his button and asked if he was going to see Coldplay.
He said yes and that his friend was the "Love button guy" who created the button, Dr. Habib Sadeghi. He said that if we were going to the show I needed to talk to Dr. Habib because he is friends with Chris Martin. Dr. Habib and his son, Hafez, joined us. We introduced ourselves and shook hands. The first gentleman I had spoken to is also named Habib. We talked about the Love Button Foundation and a few other topics briefly before I joined Bill and we went in to find our table.
When I told Bill, Casey and Julie about my conversation, they all just stared at me. I said, "Yes, I know I should have asked more questions." But honestly, I found it interesting and a little unreal that I was talking to the Love Button creator.
During dinner, the four of us talked about the Love Button and how it would be a great non-profit to highlight through our Ian's Legacy Foundation. As we left the restaurant, our new friends were leaving too and Bill asked if we could get a picture with them. I was already outside and they looked at him and asked "And who are you?" Bill then realized I was no longer with him and said, "You met my wife, Kelly, earlier." To which he said they all exclaimed, "oh, Kelly!" And that's how we got our picture taken with the founder of the Love Button Global Movement.
I thought that was cool enough. But no - that wasn't cool enough. We talked more on the sidewalk, telling them a bit about our Foundation and mission of giving scholarships and supporting other non-profits. Before we left, Dr. Habib asked for my phone number, email and full name before we parted ways and told me to check my email for a seat upgrade for the following night's concert.
We texted back and forth that night. I shared more about the Foundation and Ian with him and he shared a beautiful poem about Grief with me. He asked if Ian had a favorite Coldplay song. I happily had an answer and he said he'd make an ask to Chris Martin to dedicate "Yellow" to Ian's memory, but no promises.
There are other little details mixed into those days:
💜 Our disbelief that this was all happening.
💜 A call from Dr. Habib reassuring us that we would be okay. When he said that, I had a calm come over me.
💜 Paying it forward in blind trust that it was happening and transferring our original great tickets to a complete stranger named Kristine (more on her story later).
💜 Kevin sharing that he had an "Ian dream" Saturday night.
💜 The Coldplay Friends + Family suite with a great view of behind the stage and watching Soldier Field fill up. Meeting many new people throughout the night. Great new seats.
💜 The insane ride through the streets of Chicago by a very aggressive limo driver to the after-party.
💜 Being able to thank Chris Martin in person for having an open heart and mind by doing an "ask" for a friend who had just met a complete stranger less than 24 hours prior.
Ian knows how much I love Coldplay.
So many different details had to have occurred for me to have met Habib, Dr. Habib and Hafez on that sidewalk at that moment:
💜 Dr. Habib and Hafez's flight from California to Chicago was canceled last minute. They then received a call that there were only two seats available on an earlier flight, putting them in Chicago earlier than they had planned.
💜 Casey took a two-hour nap.
💜 We all picked Lou Malnati's for dinner.
💜 Habib's shirt was white with a pattern and the button blended in, but he turned to me at the right second and in the right direction for me to see the button.
When we were almost home, "Welcome to the Black Parade" came on the radio to finish out the weekend. It's a song many people associate with Ian, as it was a favorite of his. This was a last sign from Ian - telling us that he had wrapped up his visit for now.
During the "Yellow" dedication to Ian, Chris Martin said that the song was also for anyone who was thinking about people who they wish were here and aren't - and trusting that in some way they really still are - through the power of memory and love and all that magic. I couldn't have said it better, Chris.
Peace and love,
The Love Button Global Movement fosters loving acts of kindness, collaborating with organizations and individuals who transform and uplift the lives of our human family. We support initiatives ranging from intimate local efforts to global programs that promote physical and mental health, nurture education and cultivate loving action through our “Love Is” Dandelion Initiative.