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Dear Listener, 

 

I first met Sarah at a rock and roll store in NYC a few years back. She had that personality with a bit of mystique- something that instantly attracted you. Cool and confident, she was wrapped in an air of nonchalance - all leather, rock and roll, and an "I can do whatever the hell I want" sort of attitude that I've always wanted the courage to have. 

We got on well, and she asked me to go to bar with her in the middle of the day. I had to say yes. - and over the course of a few hours, getting loaded on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I realized that even through all this confidence, she carried this sense of sadness, or experience… this intrigue that I couldn't quite put my finger on- but knew she was carrying quite a weight.

  

That day was the beginning of our friendship; one marked by memories of drinking whiskey on fire escapes, rock and roll halls, and late nights with far too many cigarettes. The drinking, the parties, the wild stories - she was so alluring. She was never afraid to get into trouble or speak her mind, and I loved it all. 

 

The more I got to know her, I realized she didn't love parties, drugs, people, or booze- she just didn't love herself. The drinking and drug use was a mask for the sadness and pain she felt. I think she felt things deeply, and that she was constantly on the run from these thoughts and feelings. Or she was scared she didn't feel anything. Who knows.

 

Over time we shared less rock and roll clubs, whiskey, or cigarettes. She drifted away and we drifted apart. Life became busy for both of us. One night, I was home, asleep, and I remember waking up to a missed call from her on my phone at like 3 am.

 

A while later,  I ran into a mutual friend. I asked if she'd seen Sarah around lately, because I hadn't, and she told me the news. When I heard it, I remember feeling that I wasn't shocked. Nor surprised. And that was scary. It was like I didn't feel anything. But why wasn’t I shocked that a friend took their own life? 

 

I don't know for sure if the night I missed her call was when it happened, but it still haunts me to this day.

 

I realized we are all a little desensitized to sadness. Or heartbreaks. Or death. And that’s wrong. 

Mental health is important, and sadness is real. Depression is real. I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I could have done something.

 

Maybe not. 

 

All I know is that when I met her I was in a bad place. She talked me through a lot of my darkness. Her sadness made me feel like I wasn't alone. Unfortunately, I never knew how much pain she was in until it was too late. 

 

This song isn’t meant to be a statement on suicide or take any political stance. I felt moved to write a song that shares Sarah’s story and acknowledges depression, mental health, and suicide as real issues that people deal with daily. I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t know someone who isn't going through or has gone through a terrible experience like the one I lived. I wrote this song to share Sarah’s story and some memories of the time we spent together... and to say that it sucks that she’s gone. 

 

Hopefully by me sharing this story someone feels less alone. That in some way you can relate, or are now remembering a lost someone, or reach out to someone who’s struggling.

I hope you enjoy the song Sarah. 

 

Love,

Russell

SARAH

music & lyrics by Russell Johnson

Well she slid into my breast pocket, right behind my heart 

Behind a pack of cigarettes that she left 

Well, she always flipped a lucky before she forgot 

And she'd smoke all of it. 

 

She seemed to need all of the luck that she could get 

She had an affliction for bad boys, tattoos, and a coke habit 

And I never got to tell her before she left 

That I loved all of it

I loved all of it. 

 

And I missed her call on the night that she jumped 

And I'll never forgive myself for that 

People say that there's nothing I could have done anyway

And I hate all of them

I hate all of them 

She used to slide into the front seat of my car 

Put her boots up on the dash then hang her head down to her heart.

She said, "If hopes and dreams weren't anything, we could all be who we are"

And I think she's right

Well she slid out of my life, faster than she came

And I still keep that lucky cigarette to this day

Maybe for luck, but most certainly for love 

And I miss her everyday 

 

I missed your call on the night that you jumped 

And I'll never forgive myself for that 

People say that there's nothing I could have done anyway 

But knew you better than that 

 

I missed your call on the night that you jumped 

And I'll never forgive myself for that 

People say that there's nothing I could have done anyway

And I hate all of them

And I still miss you, babe

 

© 2020 RUSSELL JOHNSON 

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RUSSELL JOHNSON IS A PROUD MEMBER OF

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