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Music is a powerful medium to help us cope with grief.
The experience of losing someone dear to us can be difficult to express through words alone.
Music transcends this limitation, providing an outlet through which we can remember and honor the memory of our departed loved ones.
It is a tool that connects us to others who have also experienced grief.
In addition, music has the ability to soothe and calm us. It relieves our agitated hearts during a time of loss.
Finally, music opens the gateway of acceptance, which allows us to piece together our own powerful stories based on our experiences with grief.
Today, we’re sharing with you a collection of songs about grief. We hope that these tracks will pave the way for you to find acceptance and healing.
via Pearl Jam
“I lifted her head, she looked at me and said, “Hold me, darling, just a little while.” I held her close, I kissed her our last kiss. I found the love that I knew I had missed. And now she's gone even though I hold her tight. I lost my love, my life that night.”
In this song, we are introduced to a man who lost his loved one in a tragic car accident. He recalls the final moments he had with her before she passed.
Now, he wants to make sure to do good deeds in order to get to heaven so that he can see his beloved in the afterlife.
via Eric Clapton
“Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would you feel the same if I saw you in heaven?”
Many people, especially those who are Christians, believe that heaven is the place where loved ones go when they die.
In this song, a man contemplates if someone he loves would still recognize him and have the same feelings for him when they meet again in heaven.
via Carrie Underwood
“Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking. But I stay strong and hold on 'cause I know I will see you again, oh. This is not where it ends. I will carry you with me, yeah, yeah.”
In this song, we meet someone who is in pain because of the death of a loved one. However, they find the strength to go on living through the belief that they will eventually be reunited with the one they love.
via Michael Jackson
“Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight. Here one day, gone one night. Like a sunset, dying with the rising of the moon. Gone too soon.”
This pop ballad was Michael Jackson’s tribute to Ryan White, a teenager who made the news in the mid-1980s and early 1990s after his school refused to readmit him after his diagnosis of HIV/AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion.
Jackson compared White’s life to spectacular yet brief celestial wonders such as a rainbow and a comet. This song was also performed by Usher during Jackson’s own funeral in 2009.
via Kenny Chesney
“Sunny days seem to hurt the most. I wear the pain like a heavy coat. The only thing that gives me hope is I know I'll see you again someday.”
We tend to lament those who die young. We regret that they will not have the chance to reach their full potential.
In this song, Kenny Chesney contemplates the way life could have been for those who have passed if they hadn’t died early.
“Where would I be without you now? I have to make it through this life somehow. Only time will tell me so. After all these years I still miss you somehow.”
We can’t help but feel lost when a person very close to us passes away. This song illustrates this feeling of being lost but doing our best to make it even though the person who helped us navigate the complexities of life is gone.
There’s a part in the song where the narrator wishes there was a line to heaven so they could call the person who passed.
via Chris Young
“So, I'm gonna pull out pictures, ones with you in 'em. Laugh and cry a little while reminiscing by myself. I can't help that all I think about is how you were taken way too soon. It ain't the same here with you. I gotta say, missing you comes in waves and tonight I'm drowning.”
This song is about honoring the memories of those who are dear to us and have died. Even if they’ve been gone for years, there will be moments when we miss them so badly we feel that we can’t go on.
via Miley Cyrus
“I miss you, I miss your smile. And I still shed a tear every once in a while. And even though it's different now, you're still here somehow.”
Here’s another song expressing the longing for someone close to us to be there, even after they’ve passed. The song is a promise we make to those we love that we will always remember even as we move on with life.
via Mariah Carey
“So young to die. How could you let life pass you by? And now you'll never know I loved you. And now you'll never know I cared.”
Sometimes we take it for granted that those we care about will always be around. This can result in many things being left unsaid.
One of the most common things we neglect to say to people who matter while they are still alive is, “I love you.”
This song expresses the feeling of regret that comes when we can no longer tell the departed our true feelings for them.
via Michael Schulte
“Thought we had the time, had our lives. Now you'll never get older, older. Didn't say goodbye. Now I'm frozen in time getting colder, colder. One last word. One last moment to ask you why you left me here behind. You said you'd grow old with me.”
In this song, the narrator recalls the wonderful times shared with a loved one who has passed away. It was very sudden, and no goodbyes were said. Now he feels lost and alone. All he can do is painfully recall that the departed promised to grow old with him.
“This grief has gravity, it pulls me down. But a tiny voice whispers in my mind. You are lost, hope is gone. But you must go on and do the next right thing.”
Anna sings this song after losing two of her most beloved family members. Despite her grief, she still chooses to do what it takes to correct a great wrong one of her ancestors did.
via Lady Gaga
“Take my hand. Stay, Joanne. Heaven's not ready for you. Every part of my aching heart needs you more than the angels do.”
This song is Lady Gaga’s tribute to her aunt who died of lupus. Although she didn’t meet her aunt, Lady Gaga must have felt the collective grief of the family over her aunt’s death while she was growing up.
via Lorrie Morgan
“Can you picture heaven with no angels singing? Or a quiet Sunday morning with no church bells ringing? If you've watched as the heart of a child breaks in two, then you've seen a picture of me without you.”
Losing someone we love can cause many of us to spiral into depression.
Nothing makes sense.
There is nothing that can console us.
This is the way grief presses down on us, at times making us feel incapacitated and hopeless.
via Tim McGraw
“So lay me down in that open field out on the edge of town. And know my soul is where my momma always prayed that it would go. And if you're reading this, I'm already home.”
This song is an open letter from a soldier who died in the line of duty to his wife. It is a balm for the heart that longs for one last word from the one they love.
It tries to reassure those who are left behind that the deceased is now in a better place and at peace, having died for what they believed was right.
“One more day, one more time. One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied. But then again I know what it would do. Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.”
Here’s another song expressing a longing to spend more time with loved ones who have passed away.
When we have not yet moved on to acceptance, we often bargain for another day spent with the one we love.
But, as the song reveals, if that wish were granted, we’d just end up wishing for more days to spend with them.
via Reba McEntire
“Oh, he was good at business, but there was business left to do. He never said he loved me. Guess he thought I knew.”
Here’s another song about the pain and regret of not being able to hear or say crucial words to someone we care for who has died.
Reba McEntire sings about a father who provided well for his family’s needs but never said the words “I love you” to his daughter when he was still alive.
via Celine Dion
“Near, far, wherever you are. I believe that the heart does go on. Once more you open the door, and you're here in my heart. And my heart will go on and on.”
This song is about a bond of love between two people that is so strong not even distance can separate them. It is a love that endures even if one of them has already passed away.
via Peter Gabriel
“It was only one hour ago. It was all so different then. Nothing yet has sunk in. Looks like it always did. This flesh and bone is just the way that we are tied in. But there's no one home. I grieve for you. You leave me. So hard to move on. Still loving what's gone. They say life carries on. Carries on and on and on and on.”
Losing someone we love can put us in shock.
We try to live life as if the one we love is still with us. Others may think that we are moving on, but we are still desperately missing the person we shared our life with.
via Faith Hill
“In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky. In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life. I'll keep part of you with me. And everywhere I am, there you'll be.”
When we lose someone, we want to believe that they are in a better place. If they passed away after suffering from a prolonged illness, it is a consolation for us to say that at least there’s no more pain because they are in a better place.
This is a song about someone who sees their loved one in their dreams, soaring above the sky. Faith Hill vows to keep the memories of her loved ones close to her heart.
“I can pretend I am the wind. And I don't know if I will pass this way again. All things must end. Goodbye, my friend. Think of me when you see the sun or feel the wind.”
When it’s your time to go, how do you want to be remembered?
In this song, a warrior contemplates all things he has done and bids farewell to his friends. He asks them to remember him each time they see the sun or feel the wind.
via Ed Sheeran
“Oh, I'm in pieces. It's tearing me up. But I know a heart that's broke is a heart that's been loved.”
This song is Ed Sheeran’s tribute to his departed grandmother. It was written from the point of view of Sheeran’s mother.
It tells of the experience of losing a loved one. It also reminds us that we grieve more deeply if we have been loved just as deeply by the one who passed away.
via Steve Wariner
“Cause there's holes in the floor of heaven and her tears are pouring down. That's how you know she's watching, wishing she could be here now. An' sometimes if you're lonely, just remember she can see. There's holes in the floor of heaven and she's watching over you and me.”
This song is both heartbreaking and uplifting.
It walks us through the tragedy of losing a spouse who will no longer be able to take part in the milestones in their children’s lives.
The song is also filled with wistfulness that, somehow, the ones we love who have passed have a way of witnessing what’s going on in our lives through the “holes in the floor of heaven.”
via Avril Lavigne
“I miss you, I miss you so bad. I don't forget you. Oh, it's so sad. I hope you can hear me. I remember it clearly. The day you slipped away was the day I found it won't be the same.”
This song is dedicated to Avril Lavigne’s grandfather, who passed away while she was on tour. There were no goodbyes and Avril was devastated, as the two of them were close.
This song expresses the realization that life has to go on without the person we love. But we can continue to hold their memories in our hearts.
“I'm here without you, baby, but you're still on my lonely mind. I think about you, baby, and I dream about you all the time. I'm here without you, baby, but you're still with me in my dreams. And tonight it's only you and me.”
This song is about the loss of a great love that results in deep-seated grief. This doesn’t necessarily mean that that person has passed away. Having shared so many memories with a partner can often mean it is hard to let go once the relationship is over. [Check out 9 Steps for Finding Peace after a Toxic Relationship.]
via Danny Gokey
“I don't wanna feel better. I don't wanna not remember. I will always see your face in the shadows of this haunted place. I will laugh. I will cry. Shake my fist at the sky. But I will not say goodbye.”
There is no right way to grieve. Some will grieve for a year and a day, while it could be shorter or longer for others.
Also, it does not mean we’re forgetting about the person once we’ve finished grieving. It’s also alright if, as this song declares, you don’t want to say goodbye.
via Josh Groban
“Who can say for certain? Maybe you're still here. I feel you all around me. Your memories so clear. Deep in the stillness, I can hear you speak. You're still an inspiration.”
This song is full of gratitude for the love shared with another person. While this person has passed away, the strong bond remains and it’s as if they’re still around, supporting, guiding, and inspiring those they’ve left behind.
via Linkin Park
“Is there sunshine where you are, the way there was when you were here? ‘Cause I'm just sitting in the dark, in disbelief that this is real. Disbelief that this is real.”
This unreleased single from Mike Shinoda was supposed to be a Linkin Park song. It was performed as a tribute to Chester Bennington, the group’s lead vocalist, who passed away in 2017.
The song was only ever performed at the Celebration of Life concert for Chester Bennington in late 2017. It is a raw, emotional song describing the disbelief, confusion, and grief that all surviving members of Linkin Park and Chester’s family had to go through after the musician’s death.
via The Offspring
“And it feels, and it feels like heaven's so far away. And it feels, yeah, it feels like the world has grown cold now that you've gone away.”
Here’s a song about mourning for a loved one. It describes the things one tends to do after losing someone, such as leaving flowers on a grave or shouting up at the sky.
It aptly describes the loneliness and desperation one feels while in the throes of grief.
via James Taylor
“I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought that I'd see you again.”
This song was first released in 1970. It was dedicated to Taylor’s friend Suzanne. The song is about our vulnerability when we’re grieving the death of a loved one.
“I never thought a hero would ever come my way. But more than that, I never thought you'd be taken away. Now it's cold without you here. It's like winter lasts all year. But your star's still in the sky so I won't say goodbye. I don't have to say goodbye.”
This song contains heart-wrenching lyrics. It tells of someone meeting a person who makes life better and worth living. However, this person dies, while the other is left to mourn. They again feel lost, but in the end they hold on to hope that somehow that special person who has now passed away still watches over them.
“If someone said three years from now you'd be long gone, I'd stand up and punch them out 'cause they're all wrong and that last kiss I'll cherish until we meet again. And time makes it harder. I wish I could remember. But I keep your memory. You visit me in my sleep. My darling. Who knew.”
Death is inevitable, but it is also often unexpected.
In this song, P!nk contemplates the sudden death of someone she knew. She vows to keep that person’s memory alive and holds on to the thought that there is a chance for them to meet again.
There you have it—a collection of songs about grief.
It is our hope that these tracks can help express the turmoil and pain we all go through when we lose someone we care about very much.
We also hope that these songs will help carry you forward to acceptance and healing.
If you are looking for other song collections about specific topics, here are some resources worth checking out:
Finally, if you want to use these songs to make a lasting change to your life, then check out these 100 LIFE GOALS that can help you wake up each morning with a sense of enthusiasm about making progress toward what's important..