Music | The meaning behind the song “Lucy” by Skillet

by nc on November 22, 2010 · 136 comments

If you’ve been a fan of Skillet within the last few years, you’ve probably heard their song Lucy from their album Awake. The song is extremely emotional, and it seems that it immediately resonates with many, many people (I know that it sure did for me.) At previous concerts, and interviews, John Cooper (who is the lead singer and bassist of Skillet, and the author of this song) declined to detail what the song was about.

He said that it was about regret, and that people have adopted it for themselves, and he didn’t want to ruin it for them with the real story. However, during Skillet’s recent tour, he has told the story of Lucy before singing it. Here is what he said at their sold-out double-headliner show with TobyMac at the Target Center on November 13, 2010..

John L. Cooper talking about "Lucy"

“..this week is the very first time that I’ve ever told what this song is about, because, uh, it’s very special to me, but I feel like it’s time to talk about it a little bit, so.. listen up while I tell you a story about a young girl and a young guy who found themselves in a hard situation. They didn’t know what to do when they found out that she was pregnant; they were young, they didn’t have any money, they were scared, they didn’t want to tell anybody, they didn’t know what to do, and the only option that they could see was to terminate the pregnancy. So that’s what they decided to do… they went to a clinic, they had the procedure done, and at first they felt relieved that all their problems had gone away. But then something happened that they did not expect… and that’s over the next few weeks, which turned into a few months, they began to feel an intense sadness… and a pain and an agony and a guilt that wouldn’t go away. They didn’t know what to do, so they finally went to see a counselor; they said look — tell us what to do, we just don’t know, and the counselor made a suggestion. The counselor said here’s what you need to do — stop acting like you had a procedure, and act like you had a death in the family. So the couple went home and they made three decisions; number one, they decided to have a funeral service for the baby; number two, they bought a tiny little headstone; and they last decision to make was what to name the baby. After a couple weeks they finally decided they would call her… Lucy.”

John L. Cooper in concert, November 13, 2010; transcribed by Nate Carlson,

Many people had their theories about what the song was about.. my wife was right, I was wrong. “Lucy” is about the pain that can follow an abortion.. it’s kind of ironic to me, as “Lucy” is one of the songs that I often sing to Kai when he is really upset, and it really helps calm him down.. so Lucy, whoever you were, you live on in the hearts of your parents and in all the people your song has helped, and as the song says, you’ll one day meet your parents again:

Here we are, now you’re in my arms
Here we are for a brand new start
Got to live with the choices I’ve made
And I can’t live with myself today

Me and Lucy walking hand in hand
Me and Lucy never wanna end
Got to live with the choices I’ve made
And I can’t live with myself today

— Lyrics from “Lucy” by John L. Cooper, as performed by Skillet

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather June 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I love how even though this song does have a specific situation behind it it can still relate to so many people. Also, how the song means something different for everyone. Truly beautiful.


Noelle September 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

People go through this every day of their lives, you have the choise to let it eat you alive or go with it live life and pray that one day you will see the merical you have made IN HEAVEN IS WHERE YOU ALL WI SATY


Ruth November 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

This song has always been my song to the child I adopted out. I had a baby boy at the age sixteen, a product of rape and the other half made him my brother. I couldn’t raise him because I was an emotional reck and it wouldn’t be fair to the boy I would grow to hate. Because of the open adoption I got to see his first five years. I grew to love that boy, and at times wanted him back. I would sing this song anytime I thought of him, it would help me remember he’s better off with the family who adopted him. Without judgment of who his parents were, they would be able to love him as the child they couldn’t have had any other way.

Skillet, you have been my life line, my tears soaked pillow for the first few years of Foster care and adoption. I don’t have to say this, but keep doing what you’re doing, you are the life line for so many young people.

One of your fans of five years,


Seacopac September 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Ruth…you are SO STRONG!! Praises to the LORD and all glory to HIM for your strength to do such a brave act. May GOD bless you for ever and ever amen. Love, Love…


Seacopac September 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

By the way…did any of you happen to read everything Ruth said? I’ve never in my entire life known someone who actually followed through with carrying and giving birth to a child from rape and incest. Ruth…I’ve seriously never heard of such bravery in the modern world. I give thanks for you!! I pray GOD has a special place for you in heaven. I love you!!!


Adam February 27, 2015 at 7:48 pm

God bless you, Ruth. God bless you.


arsenicCatnip April 8, 2015 at 10:20 am

Stay strong Ruth. I know your boy loves you and god does too. god bless u. <3


Sarah December 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Ruth– my 2 sons looked up the meaning of this song with me. Afterwards they prayed for their birth moms and gave thanks that they had the strength it took to choose life for them. You may never know how your strength touches many, but birth moms and dads are the reason I am so blessed to be a mommy and I thank you for being you!


Nicole January 19, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Okay so this is really personal for me. Before reading this article I believed this song was about a girl who committed suicide because she thought her boyfriend forgot her birthday since he was late coming home. The boyfriend then feels bad about not coming home earlier knowing she was suicidal, and he knew it was her birthday. Listening to this song makes me think about the people I’d hurt if I ever left this world, which have considered doing.

–I just wanted to get that off my chest :)


Ben January 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Hey Nichole, I looked up the meaning of “Lucy” tonight because I thought maybe it was related to Skillet’s other song “last night”. I guess I was wrong though… Anyway, that’s a little off topic but I saw how recent your post was and I felt like I should reply because I normally never look up stuff like this. You are right though about how hurt people are when someone close to them takes their own life. I also feel like it may not be fair to the one who created an individual who commits suicide, as it might not allow the creator to use that person for their intended purpose in this life.

It’s interesting how God works sometimes:)


Cristina January 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm

This song reminds me when I lost my baby boy at a month old I was young and dumb I knew I should of stayed away from situations that we’re going to lead me to losing him but I ignored it. Now I can’t wAit to see him in heaven sometimes I wish he would still be here right next to me


Julian February 8, 2014 at 6:40 am

Well I need to get this off my chest.. I’m a guy, today is actually my 19th birthday and I decided to look up the meaning of Lucy for some reason.. I burst out in tears! A few years ago I was dating a girl and she also ended up pregnant, I was so scared and neither of us knew what to do, I wanted her to get the baby aborted, but the oneday she just piped up and said “I lost it”.. She was young, 15 actually, and I was 16.. Till this day I’m not really sure what happened to my child.. But because of Skillet, I’ve decided to name her Lucy! <3

-P.S! Thank you Skillet! Keep doing what you do!


Lisa May 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I lost my daughter Eden on her fathers birthday do to a cord accident when I was 34 weeks. I gave birth the following day without my husband by my side due to the fact he was out to sea. Unfortunately my husband never got to meet her. The song reminds me of the pain that I go through each moment of the day. Thank you!


Danny August 22, 2014 at 11:31 am

My wife and I, before we were married were very active christians and served in our church faithfully. However, we like so many people do when they love each other and spend lots of time together, we started having sex. We kept trying to stay faithful to God. We kept trying to serve in our church. We were so filled with shame and guilt and were too embarrassed to go to our ministry leaders. She got pregnant and we paniced and aborted. Finally after many months, we talked w one of our ministers and confessed. We had asked Gods forgiveness many times of these sins we felt to be unforgivable. Sins too big for His love. Fast forward a few years and we got married. We have two children now. A boy and a girl. Two beautiful gifts we still feel so unworthy of. But yet we are so thankful for them and godly council, for Skillet, and our saving God who gives us His love and undeserved mercy. Dont make the same mistakes we made. Try and trust others when you do seemingly unforgivable sins. And trust God is there for you even if u cant find some person to help u. If u do need help, my wife and I are here to help in any way we can. God bless


Ronald Oetken August 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I think we are assuming a lot by saying John Cooper is the father of Lucy. Skillet has made many songs that have nothing to do with themselves and are based of other peoples painful stories. The song the last night was made for a friend of John’s, and it is about a girl on the edge of suicide, and there is no way he would ever tell a concerts who’s abortion he is referring to. besides if you look at his other interviews he talks about his and Korry’s thoughts on having kids and a family, and they were nothing close to a story that would lead to an abortion. Maybe he did have an abortion, i don’t know it just isn’t consistent with everything else he has done with his life.


Jonathan October 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I love you guys.. your songs touch me honestly.. im not a fan of many years but a friend introduced me to your skillet music.. but the subject.. is lucy before i read this today.. i thought it was all just about.. a man who had the woman he loved.. who died.. and he misses her.. but now i see.. parents do things that are very stupid and im not judging.. just because one makes mistakes doesnt mean the child has to pay.. i would know.. i had to pay for a lot.. that i didnt even do.. apparently my mother says my dad was the worst that he abused her and apparently molested.. her.. i was treated different and really bad so it makes me angry that other children have to be aborted or have to pay for something they didnt.. ask.. they didnt ask to be here .. i sure didnt and now im 21..

But this song really makes me tear.. it makes me imagine if i had someone i really loved with all of my heart.. just one day pass away.. and this meaning a female partner if God ever blesses me with a good woman.. I would loose it honestly.. id feel like the song.. it makes you feel like you messed up and then she passed and you couldnt fix it.. so have to live with it.. it sucks cause ive been alone since i could remember here in my heart.. and if i finally found her and she passed away.. i could see me at her grave crying telling her how much i love her.. and that im sorry for it all.. idk i guess i could feel it..

you guys continue to play your christian touching music.. you dont know how much they help.. specially lucy.. and im sorry to hear that in all honesty.. losing someone you love.. in general hurts like nothing ever hurt.. ty skillet.. and i hope to see you guys in heaven.. if not i guess i failed somewhere.. remember God first.. before anything else.. no matter who says what..


bethany November 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

This song makes me cry every time I listen to it. I always thought it was an old girlfriend, not a baby. I know someone who had an abortion and it really does change your life and how you act. I think it’s a very emotional sad thing to do.


Kennidy senkbeil January 28, 2015 at 3:38 pm

My question is, in the song it says how he remembered her birthday. If Lucy was never actually born how is their a birthday? Would the birthday just be the day they had the abortion done?


Samuel February 10, 2015 at 5:54 am

Im a fan of skillet and i heard of this song ‘Lucy’ many young boys and girl went throught like this, im just 15 year old but i think i understand what they been through even my sister also went through this but my sis suffer through and the baby is with us, lets get to the story this two young guys made a wrong desicion but it was great that they found out that what they do is wrong, after all i wish they were happy and God blessed them and get baptism.


Staber Dearth March 22, 2015 at 9:59 am

My wife and I have been married for almost 40 years. We met in high school. We were not Christians then (me a lapsed Catholic, you of similar background know the reasons, and she a fallen away from the UCC church due to nagging questioning of why the name of Jesus Christ was never mentioned but man always seemed to be exalted, it was as if the UCC had fallen into unitarianism).

A female friend of hers and a male friend of mine had a child out of wedlock. He disappeared never to return, she held on, did not have an abortion and was chastised for it. Her pain was the greatest. My wife stood by her and was the only one to do so. This was high school where the pain of being outcast and judged can be very vicious. My wife was chastised as well. Our friend tried to give her daughter up for adoption, did it, but had second thoughts after a week and took her back. Her daughter is now over 40 years old and still has cerebral palsy. Her mom tirelessly worked with her for all of these years to get her the rehab and assistance she needed.

We have both been anti abortion for the years from that time on. There is additional background here. You see, my wife was born very shortly after her parents got married. The math did not add up. It has always been on her mind that she could have been one of the aborted had it not been the 1950’s, although the possibility was still plausible then.

My forever nagging ponderance in life has been the hypocritical stance that allows the murder of the unborn innocent but the hesitency to kill the pronounced guilty.

The sixth commandment is mistranslated – More accurately and true to translation it is “Thou Shalt not Murder” NOT “Thou Shalt not Kill”. There is no “choice” in that clarity.


Mari April 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm

For me, the song reminds me of my best friend.. She took suicidelast year. And this song make me cry every single time..


bailey Thompson April 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Hey skillet i just wanted to say that you saved me with your music there were days when i got bullied so bad that i didnt want to talk to anyone so i would lock myself in my room and put your album titled awake in and would just sit on my bed and cry and let all the tears and the sadness out because it hurt so bad but listening to you music made me realize by letting the kids bully me and me crying i was letting them get to me so that was the day that i finally put my foot down and started standing up for myself also my brother and i would play with legos and put you cd in and listen to it a gazzilion times i know all these songs by heart i would love to see you guys in concert but i highly doubt you would come to the dump of a town called casper wy i have been a fan of 6-10 years keep making great music
Bailey Thompson


dalton June 26, 2015 at 10:59 am

hello everyone my name is Dalton denton im 17 years old and my girlfriend is 19 her name is Annika and we lost are baby and im so upset were throwing A funeral for her and me and Annika we both called her lucy we both love this song and thanks skillet we been big fans for years so thank you


Elizabeth July 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

My brother introduced me to this song and we’ve both wondered what it was about. I had all the usual ideas (friend who killed herself, girl-friend/wife, daughter) and I guess that last one was right. But I didn’t think it was…quite like this. I guess I should’ve.
I have always known abortion was wrong, though I wasn’t really angry with the majority of the people who did it (for one thing, it’s not my place), because the majority, if not all, of the these people torment themselves afterwards. More recently, since I have some experience with guilt, that stance has been more…real? But hearing this song, I feel nothing but pity and compassion and grief for them. The baby’s in Heaven. It’s my job to tell the parents. I get it now. So thank you, Skillet. You’re doing exactly what God wants you to.


Jeffrey August 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

I knew what this song was about before I read this. It was obvious to me.


Human B. Ing September 14, 2015 at 8:13 am

This song hurts my heart. Me and my mother guessed that the song was about child abuse or drunk driving with a child in the back seat. This song is so sad, but it helps people’s hearts sometimes. God Bless


eddie October 7, 2015 at 7:21 am

i thoght this song had been about a man losing his wife and visiting her and remembering hoe she was and how they loved each other


Brandie Severson October 13, 2015 at 4:42 am

This song hits close to home for me. I have crohn’s disease and complications from gastric bypass. So life is every hard. My husband and i have not been getting along and we need to fix the problem bc i never know when my illness is gonna kill me. Like its tried several times. Lost 200 lbs in less than a yr. Hair fell out, tonails fall off, ended up with a feeding tube for a year and half. I have an iv central line port, had several normal illnesses that landed me in the hospital bc i have the immune system of a cancer patient. Have dentures now bc the vomiting ruined my teeth(at 33 yrs old) i had an ulcer i didnt know about that perforted and had to be airlifted and had emergency surgery. Had one other helicopter ride before that. I throw up a lot and i have severe diarrhea, severe abdominal and lower back pain constantly, weakness and body aches, no energy. Ive had pancreatitis, double kidney inf uti, severe malnurishment and dehydration with out of wak electrolye balance. Spent a month in the hosp. Durin that time i spent 5 days in icu, had emergent surgery to replace feeding tube bc it dislodged its self which cause all that nutrition stuff to leak in my body and cause severe infection. Its const ambulance rides trips to the er, numerous hospital stays. If i had one or the other it wouldnt be so bad but now it can kill me. I cant eat drink or take med very easily. Back in 2010 i started nursing school and grad in 2014 with my bachelors. Now I have my associates of applied science degree and am due to grad in december in medical assisting. Nursing got to be too much. I have this huge guilt cloud saying if i would have never had the surgery i would be fine. I had it done to save my life not kill it. I now have ptsd and for other reasons. But my husband learned not to take things personally bw us bc someday we may regret splitting. So the video hits close to home big time.
I know she had an abortion but i thought at first she was sick and when she collapsed i thought she was going for meds and he found her and she dies later. Now hes regretting rejecting that phone call and what ever was going was pety compared to her illness and now he regrets not being there ect…..anybody else got that impression. With the abortion theory why was she holding her stomach going for meds collapes and dies later…..explain plz


Tyler D. November 5, 2015 at 9:30 am

this song reminds me of my baby sister who oddly enough was named Lucy. when she was born the cord got rapped around her neck and she choked to death, and every time i listen to this song, i think of her. So Thank You Skillet, and Rest In Peace Lucy.


Chali December 31, 2015 at 10:36 am

I have a story for you. It’s a true story, and makes me emotional every time I think of it, but I would like to share. Thus happened 20ish years ago. I was 17 and pregnant, not married, single. Abortion wasn’t an option, and I was going through a ton of stress because my mother died suddenly out of the blue, in a 3 month span upon me finding out. My mothers name was Charlotte and I loved her dearly. I was scared because I didnt have any money. So I was going to put my baby up for adoption. I had one who would like to take care of her, an older couple, so, they would take her about a week after, which is very early for me. When I was in labor, the baby, and I were both having heart problems, it was either me to live, or the baby, without the correct procedure. The couple who wanted to adopt, they had a 16 year old daughter, and they said they would pay for the procedure so both of us could live. The baby, in whome I named Charlotte, she had to have surgery 3 days later for her heart. They paid for half and I made a down payment. They promised to keep her name Charlotte because they were in love with her and her name. After charlottes surgery, I gave her a kiss. I had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks because of my heart problems and I could not get surgery. She never saw my home, in which I lived with my sister who was 23 at the time. They took her across the country. I lived in Cali they were moving to Maine. She would grow up by the ocean. I felt so sad, and I got depression, and I could barely walk. Years later, my sister was in a car accident on a bridge, a drunk driver hit her car, and she fell into a lake. She couldn’t get out, and she drowned. She died at 33 years old. She left me with her two children, Mia and Melissa, aged 1 and 4. At this point, I was 27, and I had been married. We were back on our feet, and I could adopt. (My husband was unable to have children) we decided not to for a while, with two growing children, we needed time. Mia and Melissa were now 6 and 10. 8 years later, Melissa moved out. We had a teenager that would move out soon, so we decided to adopt. When I was 41, we started signing papers for an adoption in Augusta. They came to us, and we were going to adopt two 6 year olds. Twins, boy and girl. There mom was beautiful and had lush hair just like me. I asked her name. “Char. Short for Charlotte. That was the name my biological mother gave me.” “Charlotte Wase?” I asked her. She said “how did you know?” I don’t know how I missed that on the adoption papers, but it was misspelled as vase. We both realized at the same time what was going on. We started to cry simultaneously. I haven’t seen my baby girl in 20 years! This was truly a gift! She was going to college in Cali, and her sister had children, and couldn’t take care of the twins, but the collage is close to where I live. I can’t believe this, and it is beautiful. Thank you for your time.


Elendorra December 31, 2015 at 10:39 am

Beautiful story. I cannot fathom after 20 years, from the last kiss you gave your baby, you finally see her!


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