As given in his Songfacts interview
, this song is about Hal Ketchum's grandfather, who had just recently passed away. Explaining the line, "Where's the angels sent down to protect him?" Ketchum explains: "I just set up the next line, too. 'Where are the angels sent down to protect him? Am I all that's left of his life?' It's kind of a protective statement, if you think about it, because I'm sure there were angels protecting him the whole way. But it sets up the singular for the other character. 'Am I all that's left of his life?' Sort of a why now, why him? Why, Lord, why? Self pity. It's a self pity line. And it's total bull. We're surrounded by angels."