Music + Grief

When an important person in our life dies, there are songs that can hit us like a ton of bricks. Songs that can make us weep openly, and songs that can make us smile fondly. Music has a funny way of bringing us back to a particular time and place, sparking a memory stronger than almost anything else. It can also be a powerful tool for us in our grief, if it is harnessed.

Listening to songs that remind you of your loved one can be a beautiful way to feel close to them. When you need an emotional release or are longing for a moment of closeness, try listening to a playlist of songs that are connected to your loved one. Get in a comfortable spot to listen – maybe grab a cozy blanket or even a family member to sit with you. Whatever emotions these songs bring, and whatever memories they evoke, happy or sad, let them come without judgment. Let yourself feel sad. Let yourself feel happy. Know that you will be okay for the duration of the song. This is something you can do for 3 minutes – the length of one song – or as long as you need. Making a playlist of these songs can be a helpful resource in times of grief.

Maybe instead you need a boost or a break from feelings of grief. Try playing songs that are guaranteed to bring up your spirits. These may have nothing to do with your loved one. They may be tied to happy memories or no memories at all. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated; try listening to music without words to give yourself space. Music can be an excellent way to reconnect to your body. You can turn these mood-boosting songs up loud and have a dance party.

You can also put on a playlist of songs associated with all different moods and write, paint, draw, or scribble however the song makes you feel. The key here is engaging without judgment and allowing yourself the freedom to just be in your body.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and music allows you to engage wherever you are in your grief. Sometimes finding the right song to fit that moment or your mood is just what you need.