The second stanza of Anathema's "One Last Goodbye" goes as follows:

I know you didn't want to leave
Your heart yearned to stay
But the strength I always loved in you
Finally gave way

See full lyrics e.g. here

What does "strength" mean here? Does it mean some sort of inner strength, e.g. will or resolve? The way this line sounds to me is a bit accusing, or let down and disappointed.

The song is also apparently dedicated to the writers' late mother (or so some websites claim), but it doesn't feel it like it's talking about motherly love.

2 Answers 2


"The only thing that I can say to give them a clue is when you hear the word you in one of our songs; it’s not about a relationship. We don’t write love songs or relationship songs. There’s none of that. So when you think a song is about a breakup, it’s not. People thought that about ‘One Last Goodbye’, that I could have written that about me and my girlfriend breaking up. Alright well fair enough, that’s cool for you, but that’s not what it’s about.”

In truth that song is about a relationship, but not a romantic one. It was made for their mother after she passed away.

That is a quote from Vincent Cavanaugh followed by an elaboration by the interviewer. I have no proof and therefore cannot confirm, but I have heard that their mother passed away from cancer. So I think the word "strength" is a reference to their mother losing that battle.

  • 1
    Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. Could you please add the source of the interview, i.e. where you found it?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 2, 2021 at 10:32

It was dedicated to his mother. And as a motherless daughter, I can relate to every word in this song. My mom passed away in 30-3-2017 and I used to listen to "One Last Goodbye" on repeat.

I believe his relationship with his mother was strong like mine, many people will think "it doesn't feel like it's talking about motherly love" but take it from someone who lost her mother, it does talk about motherly love. I can feel every word and relate to it.

  • 1
    I see what you're getting at here, and I'm sorry for your loss, but your answer would benefit greatly from putting more emphasis on your analysis of the lines, and a little less emphasis on your story. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 12:09

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