Music and Grief

Originally published May 10, 2010.

Teens at Comfort Zone Camp never cease to amaze me with the ways music and song saturate their lives;  how they use it to express their feelings, hopes and fears related to the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent, or close friend. CDs and i-pods are almost always in their backpacks.

They have taught me the power of music and song in navigating the grief journey. I confess, old fogy that I am, some of the music I cannot relate to. But it speaks to them, and I honor that.

If you are the parent of a grieving teen, be courageous and listen to what they are listening to. Do it without judgment. When you have a song or music that relates to your own grief journey, share it with them and tell them why. If a conversation develops, that’s great and if it doesn’t, that’s OK too. They will know you paused to enter their world.

Here are just a few songs that teens chose to play in my Healing Circle at camp a few years back when our theme was Music. I wrote the titles down so I could recall them and listen to them later. They have a playlist all their own on my i-pod along with a couple of my favorites; three of which are on this list. Note: this list was made a few years ago.

  • “Grave Digger” –Dave Matthews
  • “Time of Your Life” –Green Day
  • “Six Feet from the Edge” –Creed
  • “Broken” –Seether and Amy Lee
  • “Holes in the Floor of Heaven” –Steve Wariner
  • “I Can Only Imagine” –Mercy Me
  • “Hear You Me: What Would You Think of Me Now?” –Jimmy Eat World
  • “Butterfly Kisses” –Collin Raye
  • “Dance with My Father Again” –Luther Vandross
  • “Only Time” –Enya
  • “Why” –Rascal Flats
  • “You Raise Me Up” –Josh Groban
  • “Something More” –Switchfoot
  • “Welcome to My Life” –Simple Plan
  • “Amazing Grace” –Judy Collins
  • “Give Yourself to Love” –Kate Wolf
  • “Suggestions for the Tailor” –Scott Pryor
  • “You Listened to Me” –Steve Beta

Take time to listen. Some will make you cry, some will make you think, some will lift you up.

I also invite you to add to the list. What songs have you used to help in your grief journey? Maybe they remind you of your loved one, or have lyrics that give you hope. Please share in the comments below.

Photo Credit.


  1. Sabreena said on April 4, 2015 at 9:41 pm ... #

    See You On The Other Side by Ozzy Osbourne
    My brother showed me this song after our father passed when I was 12. I’m 17 now and the song still comforts me.
    I’m gunna see you when it comes to glory, when I see you, I’ll see you on the other side..

  2. Renata said on April 16, 2015 at 7:58 am ... #

    Hi everyone, my hubby died 3 months ago, our anniversary is on Monday, I wanted to compile a playlist and share it with him at his gravesite. Thank you for all the music, really helps. To the people who lost parents at a young age approx. 6 years old, my daughter lost her daddy and she pretends everything is fine, what can I do to help her, what helped you?

  3. Jason said on April 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm ... #

    There are a few songs I hear that remind me of my mom. I lost her two years ago in a car accident in which I was the driver of the vehicle. When we had her services, we had a CD made of pictures and songs each of the kids chose. I chose So Far Away by Avenged Sevenfold. I know the song isn’t about losing a loved one, but the song hit me like a ton of bricks and made me think of her and miss her that much more. Then recently, I saw the latest fast and furious movie, the song they played at the end for Paul Walker, that one had me bawling like a baby missing my mom. That song was See You Again by Wiz Khalifa. Those two songs help me tremendously when I’m missing my mom. They bring back so many happy memories and of course I cry like a baby each time I hear them.

  4. Anonymous said on May 2, 2015 at 6:49 pm ... #

    “Time” by the Alan Parsons Project
    “Loving Arms” by the Dixie Chicks
    “A Question of Balance” by the Moody Blues

  5. Abby said on May 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm ... #

    My dad died when I was eleven and two songs I always listened to was Save a Place for Me by Matthew West and Homesick by MercyMe

  6. Emily said on June 7, 2015 at 11:43 pm ... #

    Im 15 and this year a friend who was in band with me killed himself. He was a senior had been accepted to michigan tech university,and was about to have his ceremony for becoming an eagke scout. Ive really been struggling with his death and I Ive loved listening to “why” by rascal flatts,”seasins of love”glee version of course,”let it be” again glee, and “fire and rain” by james taylor

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