by Whitney Asher

When that first wave of grief hit me, I remember feeling numb. In hindsight, I think it was a mix of shock, total disbelief & devastation over the news I didn’t want to hear: my Mom had cancer. 

As someone who wasn’t familiar with grief at first, I wasn’t sure what was “normal” or what to expect. To help me navigate it, I sought grief counseling and explored different ways to cope. 

Among the ways I’ve learned to cope with grief over the years, I’ve found music to be especially helpful. Below are just a few of the ways music has provided light throughout my grief journey.

Music has helped me process my experiences. 

There have been a number of times throughout my life when a song has helped articulate what I haven’t been able to put into words. Relating song lyrics to my feelings can offer some relief.

Music has helped me embrace stillness. 

If I’m overwhelmed, instrumental music without lyrics can be comforting. My favorite playlists are usually a collection of piano or guitar songs, some of which include nature sounds.

Music has helped me express my emotions. 

On my toughest days, grief has felt messy and uncontrollable. Songwriting has offered me an unfiltered way to channel my emotions & validate what I’m feeling, very similar to journaling.

Music has helped me find a sense of community. 

Behind every song about grief is at least one person who understands what it’s like to lose a loved one. Uncovering relatable songs can serve as a good reminder that none of us are alone. 

Music has helped me remember. 

When I hear a song my Mother loved or used to sing, I’m instantly reminded of her. While this can spark both joy and sorrow, I’ve discovered it’s possible for me to feel both at the same time. 

Whether grief is new or familiar to you, I hope you find solace in a really good song, or two. If you’d like to hear songs inspired by grief, here is a Spotify playlist called “Coping With Loss.”