If you search the web; you’ll find countless lists of songs for the grieving heart. My list is no different. But still, read on! You might discover songs in this article that’ll calm your turbulent emotions more than the songs contained in the many others across the World Wide Web.
Music has a way of reaching the soul’s deepest recesses when no words can. That is why for most people, like me, I turn to music when emotions are too much to bear – depression, restlessness and, oh, even during joyful times. The notes speak a language that only my soul understands and listens to. Music, in itself, is a form of therapy. According to Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D, “Many people listen to music because they identify with the song’s words and the strong emotions felt. Often people describe that listening to music has a therapeutic effect that impacts their overall mood.”
“As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.” Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP once said. I’m no stranger to grief. I’ve experienced the death of loved ones a few times already. Aside from that, heartbreaks, job losses, and mistakes are a source of that intense feeling of loss, too. In these times, when my eyes are in a tunnel vision without a ray of light at the end, I turn to music, and it never fails to soothe me. So, I’m going to share the top ten songs on my grief playlist – the kind that resurrects the hope in me when everything seems to look dreary.
- Homesick (MercyMe)
Unforgettable Lines: Lord, won’t You give me (the) strength to make it through somehow; I’ve never been more homesick than now.
This song is apt for those grieving the loss of a loved one. It has been my anthem since the deaths of my grandfather and a beloved uncle whose passing was mourned by many.
- Blessings (Laura Story)
Unforgettable Lines: What if you’re blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears?
Laura Story’s experiences with tremendous success and pain make this song very opulent and meaningful. There are times when I think living makes no sense anymore because of the struggles and sufferings I continuously come in contact with, but Blessings remind me that one can glean treasures from pain.
- (I Will) Praise You In This Storm (Casting Crowns)
Unforgettable Lines: You are who You are, no matter where I am.
A pastor once shared how quick people are to praise and thank God when life’s ocean allows for smooth sailing. On the contrary, when trials or events that cause grief to happen, how quick we also are to question His will.
- Trust His Heart (Babbie Mason)
Unforgettable Lines: When don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His Heart.
It is an excellent song to listen to at times when tragedies you have no explanation for seem to strike out of somewhere.
- You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban)
Unforgettable Lines: You raise me up to walk on stormy seas; I am strong when I am on Your shoulders, You raise me up to more than I can be.
Aside from the message of the song, listening to Groban’s voice in itself is soothing. I also love how simple its melody and its arrangement are to my ears.
- What Faith Can Do (Kutless)
Unforgettable Lines: I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered (and) broken hearts become brand new – that’s what faith can do.
Kutless isn’t on my list of faves when it comes to Christian bands, but this song is a permanent resident in my playlist. The group tends to lean on the heavy metal side when it comes to song arrangements (which I find too dense for my music palate), but What faith Can Do is far removed from their usual style. There are no resonating guitar beats or drums throughout the song; just one soothing melody that never fails to uplift my soul and my faith when it’s on the rocks.
- Still (Hillsong)
Unforgettable Lines: When the oceans rise and thunder roar, I will soar with You above the storm.
Still became the anthem of many Christians in Central Visayas, in the Philippines after super-typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) ravaged the whole region leaving a lot of wrecked infrastructures, claimed thousands of lives, and desolated what were once thriving lands.
- It Is Well With My Soul (Traditional Hymn/Cassidy Claire Version)
Unforgettable Lines: Whatever my lot, Thou hast caused me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.
I love how inspiring the story behind the writing of this hymn is. The one who penned its words was a successful lawyer and businessman who experienced soul-wrenching losses one after the other within a short span of time. But with all the heaviness that was in his heart, he was still able to say that everything was well with his soul as long as he is with his Creator.
- Learning To Breathe (Switchfoot)
Unforgettable Lines: I’m learning to breathe, I’m learning to crawl, (and) I’m finding that you and you alone can break my fall.
This song might not shout out “Christian” right in front of your face (but Switchfoot members profess they are Christians). Nevertheless, its lyrics speak of hope, of coming right up again after the devastation, of starting to live again after a fall. The song made me survive a lot of heartbreaks during my teenage and college years. And heartbreaks do qualify as grief, right?
- Cares Chorus (Originally A Children’s Song/Kelly Willard Version)
Unforgettable Lines: And every time I don’t know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon You.
There are times when we want to end the pain, but we don’t know how to let go of it. I’ve gone through this quite a lot (even when I’m not grieving death but more on remembering a mistake or a depression-inducing event), and this simple children’s chorus is the tune I sing whenever these happen.
“Individuals may avoid discussing the loss as well as avoid people or places that are associated with their grief. This experience can put an individual in a vulnerable position with regard to their mental health.” –Tali Yuz Berliner, Psy.D.