Grief Songs

Grief Songs: Music for a Grieving Heart

© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC

Grief Songs: Music for a Grieving HeartPeople have known for centuries that music touches the human soul. We know intuitively that music affects us in profound and healing ways, both emotionally and physically, and present-day research demonstrates this to be true. In health care settings such as hospitals, clinics and hospices, music therapy is found to be remarkably effective in helping to calm patients, reduce stress, ease muscle tension, promote movement and manage pain.

. . .one of the most beautiful gifts that humans have brought to the earth is music. In great music, the ancient longing of the earth finds a voice . . . Music ministers to the silence and solitude of nature; it is one of the most powerful, immediate, and intimate of sensuous experiences. Music is, perhaps, the art form that brings us closest to the eternal because it changes immediately and irreversibly the way we experience time. When we are listening to beautiful music, we enter into the eternal dimension of time. Transitory, broken linear time fades away, and we come into the circle of belonging within the eternal. The Irish writer Sean O’Faolain said, “In the presence of great music we have no alternative but to live nobly.” [John O’Donohue, in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, pp. 72-73]

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When we are struggling with grief, music can lift us up, take us out of our current mood, and transport us to another time and place. When we cannot find the words, a particular song may express our thoughts and feelings even better than we are able to do.  With lyrics or without, music can be used as an escape or a respite from our pain, or as a form of relaxation or meditation while we confront our sorrow.  Music helps us to remember the one who died, and it can help to bring a sense of balance, peace and harmony back into our lives, even if only for a moment.

The following message was posted recently by one of our members in the Behaviors in Bereavement Forum on our Grief Healing Discussion Groups Web site:

. . . I have been listening to music that makes me both happy and sad, because it reminds me of my dad. Some of the lyrics make me cry, and some make me smile. I should probably only share the happy stuff, but no, this site also acknowledges the sad feelings, I feel. So, I don’t mean to make everyone sad, but I wanted to share a song:

If I Could Be Where You Are – Enya

Since this post first appeared in mid-December of  2008, several other members have added links to a number of beautiful songs  whose lyrics have touched them in some meaningful way. Due to copyright claims,  you may find that, when you click on the links we’ve included below, some of the  videos no longer appear on YouTube.  If that is the case, try typing the title  of the song and the artist into YouTube’s search engine to see if another  rendition of the song comes up for you.

If you’ve found a special song that soothes you or helps you remember your loved one, you are invited to add it to our list by posting it in a comment:

Heaven Was Needing a Hero – Jo Dee Messina
My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel
Smile – Chris Rice
I Know You by Heart – Eva Cassidy
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You – Rod Stewart
Last Time by Moonlight – Enya
You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
To Where You Are – Josh Groban
Remember Me – Josh Groban
You’re Still You – Josh Groban
For Always – Josh Groban and Lara Fabian
Smile – Josh Groban
In the Arms of The Angel – Josh Groban & Sarah McLachlan
Vincent – Josh Groban
When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley
You Can Let Go – Crystal Shawanda
Thank You – Johnny Reid
Until We’re Together Again – Tiffany Coburn
Mama – il Divo
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Leona Lewis
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Version
A Living Prayer – Alison Krauss
At Last – Etta James
I Miss You – Avril Lavigne
So Far Away – Carole King
Yesterday – The Beatles
Time – Alan Parsons Project
I’ll Stand by You – Carrie Underwood
I Believe – Diamond Rio
One More Day – Diamond Rio
I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
Livin’ Without You – TmobileTerrorist
Saying Goodbye to You – Karina Long
I Want You to Live – George Canyon
Without You – Mariah Carey
Memory – Barry Manilow
The Twelfth of Never – Johnny Mathis
All Things Must Pass – George Harrison
If Tomorrow Never Comes – Barry Manilow
If I Should Love Again – Barry Manilow
Together Forever – Rico J. Puno
Answer – Sarah McLachlan
I Will Find You – Theme from The Last of the Mohicans
Holes in the Floor of Heaven – Billy Kirsch and Steve Wariner
The Dance – Garth Brooks
The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics
Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) – Billy Joel
I’ll Be Seeing You – Jimmy Durante
Memory -Barry Manilow
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