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How Music Helps Us Grieve

Written by Sarah Kennedy, Certified Music Therapist

When someone dies, there is a brief time where others are sensitive to the loss. Friends temporarily make attempts to ease the pain, some more helpful than others. But very soon, others go back to their regular daily lives while the grieving person finds themselves in a forever altered and painful reality. After the funeral, there is no space in day-to-day life for grief. Grief tends to make others uncomfortable, causing awkward silences and puzzled faces. Often, it becomes easier to hide the grief than to express it. It becomes silent and invisible.

But I know of something that proves you are not alone in your grief: the vast and ever-expanding array of songs about grief. No matter what you have been through or what emotions you are feeling, someone has written a song about it. Music gives voice to grief. And more than that, it reminds us that grief is a universal experience.

It is sometimes hard for me to explain how a music-based grief support group can be such a healing experience. It happens in those moments when we are listening to something, and the whole group instantly feels and understands what someone’s deceased spouse meant to them. We miss their spouse WITH them. We don’t just hear or see their grief, we feel it. They are no longer alone. It doesn’t matter if the person died a few months ago, or a few years ago. There is a song that makes it feel like they are in the room. And when a grieving person is fully seen and understood by a group of fellow grievers, it is not just healing, it is beautiful. It gives us hope in humanity. 

It isn’t all about listening to sad songs and taking a deep dive into grief. Music can express our grief in one moment and then help us soothe it and escape from it the next. When the group has cried enough, and everyone needs some reprieve, someone has a cheesy old track and a couple of silly dance moves that put a smile on everyone’s face. We remember that we are still alive and that it is ok to take a break from grief.

We have an upcoming Grief Group starting March 9, 2024 that we would love for you to join. Please visit our event here to register.

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