A Words Look: “What Sarah Said”

On November 13th each year, DJ John Richards from KEXP radio in Seattle (www.kexp,org) does a tribute show to celebrate his mother’s life on the anniversary of the day she died. The 2014 show was the 10-year anniversary of her passing. It is an emotional four hour show celebrating, love, death, family, and, most importantly, life, as only the combination of words and music can accomplish. It is a beautiful radio show.

This “A Words Look” post will be dedicated to John Richards and KEXP radio for producing such an amazing piece of work to honor those we loved who are no longer with us.

“What Sarah Said”
From Death Cab for Cutie off the Plans album.

And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU that reeked of piss and 409
And I rationed my breaths as I said to myself that I’d already taken too much today
As each descending peak on the LCD took you a little farther away from me
Away from me

Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines in a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds
But I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose than to have never lain beside at all
And I looked around at all the eyes on the ground as the TV entertained itself

‘Cause there’s no comfort in the waiting room
Just nervous pacers bracing for bad news
And then the nurse comes round and everyone will lift their heads
But I’m thinking of what Sarah said that “Love is watching someone die”

So who’s going to watch you die?..

  • From SongFacts.com:
    Sarah is an acquaintance of lead singer Ben Gibbard. The narrator is the one that is dying. His wife is standing with him waiting for his inevitable death and he is saying that he knew death would come for one of them at some point. She shows her love by standing with him, and he asks her, “who’s gonna watch you die?” because he will already be gone.
  • Gibbard (from his record label’s website): “The song was inspired by a friend. She was walking with her husband one day and just burst into hysterical tears because she realized that one day one of the two of them would have to watch the other die.”
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