MUSIC AS A HEALING TOOL: THE SOUNDS OF COMFORT

"Where words fail, music speaks." -- Hans Christian Andersen

Why is it when I hear a song about loss I am reduced to nonstop crying? If I hear James Taylor's song Fire and Rain, I hit the floor in a mess of tissues and heaving sobs. If I hear a song from A Chorus Line, which was Peter's favorite show, I instantly dissolve into a wet noodle. His favorite song was Dance Ten, Looks Three, aka Tits and Ass. I hear that, and I am in a puddle. It's weird how even tits can make me sad?

Maybe listening to the music of my choosing will take me to a new place of healing? Those who have had a significant loss keep a grief playlist in their head. Each is personal and can be ignited by a memory of a song they heard with their loved one. We know that the pain of grief comes from feeling isolated and separated from those we have lost. Creating a grief playlist of songs might dissolve that sense of isolation and help us find a way to heal.

If I were to find a grief playlist that would keep me calm, it would be a mixed bag of music. I would start with Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, which makes my blood pressure instantly plummet. If I am in a particularly down mood, I go to Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk. Sometimes, I just need a bit of pepping up. Peter hated rock music and pretty much anything the grandkids played. Some of these songs are on my safe playlists including Avici's Wake Me Up, (my current ring tone, denoting my nightmare I guess), Queen's We Will Rock You, and from Wicked, Defying Gravity. I told you it was eclectic! By the way, Peter worked out to Yackety Yack, Roll Over Beethoven, Love Potion Number Nine, and Rock Around the Clock. Fifties rock and roll are now on the endangered list, so I avoid these tunes in favor of Spamalot's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

Before Peter died I couldn't listen to Sarah McLachlan's I will Remember You, without tearing up. Now, you would have to call the paramedics! Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah puts me into griefbursts as does the Beatles Let it Be. Rodgers and Hammerstein's You'll Never Walk Alone, is a killer as is John Lennon's Imagine. I can't listen to these evocative tunes but I am working on finding my own music to help me heal.

The field of music therapy may seem new but people have been using music to soothe since biblical times. I need your help. I would love to know what music comforts or helps you to cope with loss. I would love to hear your grief playlists, or please send me a list of songs that help you feel restored.

"Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
but I always thought that I'd see you baby, one more time again, now.
Thought I'd see you one more time again.
There's just a few things coming my way this time around, now.
Thought I'd see you, thought I'd see you, fire and rain, now."

-Fire and Rain by James Taylor

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