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McLachlan wrote this from the point of view of an obsessed fan who wrote letters to her over a period of a few years. Following the album's release, the fan, Uwe Vandrei, sued McLachlan for songwriting credit, claiming she used parts of his letters in the lyrics. Vandrei asked for $250,000 and a televised meeting with McLachlan where they would discuss the song. He committed suicide on September 28, 1994 before the case went to trial.
As reported in the Ottawa X Press, Vandrei was a computer engineer from Vanier, Ontario who kept to himself - so much so that he was only reported missing after neighbors noticed his mail piling up. He was clearly obsessed with McLachlan, keeping journals dedicated to the singer and telling anyone who would listen about his overwhelming admiration for her. For about two years, he sent letters to McLachlan, but never contacted her in person or sent any other items. The letters, however, were pretty intense. When he launched his lawsuit against McLachlan, he sent copies of his letters to the radio station CKCU, providing a look into his troubles. Here are some excerpts from his letters:
Will I ever hold you on that shore?
Or only live it in a dream?
Will I ever tell you of my fears?
Will you ever collect my tear?
Let me repeat the lessons that you may not have learned well. Time and distance are IRRELEVANT! I am absorbed by, bound to you and I can wait a year, a decade, a lifetime. I will still be there, cherishing, contemplating, waiting.
Many have misunderstood this to be about a romantic relationship. McLachlan commented on a Reddit AMA: "You wouldn't believe how many people use that song for their wedding. And I just smile quietly to myself. Like 'oh, that's nice.'"
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