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Music Helps With Grieving One Song At A Time

February 28, 2018

It was a week after I had laid my sweet boy to rest. There I sat in the parking lot of a local antique flea market with tears streaming down my face. The sound of my tears drumming on my lap seemed so loud, but in the background was a melody, a song that struck a chord with me. Although it wasn’t my first time to hear it, that was the first time I understood it. Music has always been my soft place to land, and there it was again.

Music can work in unexplainable ways. Songs can trigger a memory or two. There is usually an epic story associated with the song. In music, you can celebrate. When you are confused, there is always a song that pops up on the radio or your playlist that provides clarity. In sadness, music can heal. It is bizarre to think how one song can do and say so much to so many different people. Every chapter in our lives has its own soundtrack. Life with grief is a unique chapter. The songs that help us get through it are as unique as the journey. Just as we take the journey one step at a time, music helps us grieve one song at a time.

Related: The Healing Power of Music

There is no individual genre of music that speaks only to grief. There have been many times that it isn’t even a song about loss or death that moves me and reminds me of Wyatt. I remember when “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten came out. The song instantly captivated me. It isn’t about loss. It is about believing in yourself and realizing that who you are is enough. The overall message is truly about never giving up on yourself. The more that I listened to it, the more it became an anthem for me. I was lost. I was drowning. Fear of failing again consumed me. I was pregnant with Wyatt’s younger brother when the song first came out. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another pregnancy. Was I enough?

I was preparing for our second Wyatt’s Day. We don’t call it his birthday or anniversary. Neither of those ideas has ever sat well with his dad and me. I went out to the cemetery a couple of days before his day to put out new flowers, toys, and decorations. After I cleaned up his area and changed everything out, I sang to him, as I always do. His song is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Yip Harburg. I have always loved that song, and it seems fitting for him. Surely, he is just on the other side of rainbow watching everything. When our visit ended, I got in my car. The song that was playing was “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. Ironically enough, I didn’t cry;  I sat there smiling and just thinking about him. A calm had come over me.

Related: Music and Grief

Anytime I need a reset button on this grief journey, I have my go-to songs. These songs center and refocus me. The first song I heard following his death that provided a bizarre clarity to me was “Blessings” by Laura Story. It was difficult to see any good coming from something so tragic. I still cry every time I hear the song. It isn’t because I’m sad, but rather, because of what Wyatt has given to me.


Photo:Daniel von Appen/Unsplash

  • Heather Welch

    I am a mother of 3 boys, a wife, and a teacher. Anytime I get to talk about my sweet Wyatt, I know he is smiling. I want the conversation about child loss to not be one that we are scared of. We can learn so much from each other by talking, writing, or simply just being with one another.

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