The Soundtrack of Grief, Part 1

Music is a powerful mover of our emotions. A song on the radio can produce a wry smile or a stream of tears at the memories it evokes.

We might discover new songs while we’re grieving; a playlist of comfort and also uplift. Songs like “To Where You Are” (see link below)

Other songs remind us of the journey of life with our lost loved ones. Songs they enjoyed, and those we listened to together.

Listening to instrumental music can be just as emotive. It is not the words but the harmony of sounds that embrace and hold us.

And some music we avoid. It stirs up too many painful emotions. Maybe another time, but at this moment, it is a soundtrack we want to avoid.

And then there are the songs and music we listen to simply for enjoyment. Being kind to ourselves can include any of our senses; hearing is definitely one of them.

Then there are the sounds of nature, which we will need to pause to truly enjoy. Try this: Step outside in a garden or park or the countryside, – or sit by an open window. Close your eyes. Listen. Just be still and only listen for 3-5 minutes. What do you hear? Birds? Wind? Leaves rustling?

There is the sound of silence, of quiet, which may be welcome but may also emphasise the loneliness we feel at our loved one’s absence. Or simply that we are alone.

There is background noise – the hubbub of life. The washing machine. The traffic. The photocopier. Plates clattering.

There are the sounds we seek out. Our loved one’s voice, now only available as a recording, if that.

There are the sounds of voices, friends and family, talking, talking… Sometimes it might feel that their words are swimming around us but never going in, especially if we are at a time in our grief when meaningless chatter is more annoying than comforting. There are also the sounds of kind words of condolence, of care.

And there is music.

What are your favourites? Do you have songs or instrumental tracks that move you, comfort you, encourage you? Is there a song that is particularly special because of its association with your loved one?

I would very much like to add more songs to this playlist and it would be great to get your recommendations. Please share in comments, or visit this link to take a quick anonymous survey. Thank you so much. I’m sure we can grow this list! Quick survey (external link)

“Grief Soundtrack” – playlist (Spotify)

Grief Soundtrack

Here’s what is there already and why:
To Where You Are: It is one of the most moving songs – sad but yet hopeful. It is a favourite amongst many grieving people, I believe.
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables: A sad song from Les Miserables that depicts the reality of loss. It speaks to that emptiness, that absence, of our loved ones from our daily living.
Tears in Heaven: A song written following the sudden tragic death of Eric Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, in 1991. (You can watch this & find the lyrics on YouTube here)
Pax: An instrumental track I came across. It means something special to me as it is called by my son’s name – Pax – and composed/played by someone named Catherine – like my daughter.
Comfort Ye: A version of the famous track from Handel’s Messiah. It is based on a scripture (Isaiah 40:1). To me, it says that God understands the pain of our loss and wants us to be comforted.
You’ll Never Walk Alone: Such a well-known song! It is part of my “grief soundtrack” because of the encouragement that despite the length of our valleys, we are never truly alone. ( More about this song here)

Part 2 of this post will contain an updated playlist and hopefully some of your stories about your favourite songs and music.

Listening to music that reminds us of our loved ones can be a form of ‘continuing bonds’. Read more here: Memories and Continuing Bonds

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