Monday, October 15, 2012

Does Music Affect You Differently In Grief?

On Saturday I shared a music video of a song my daughter sang at her dad's funeral. I've been thinking a lot lately about God's gift of music. I wonder if familiar songs and hymns affect you the same way they affected me in the early days of grief? Are you able to sing and listen to music in the same way you did before your husband died?

In my book, Postcards from the Widows' Path, I wrote about music along these lines:

"In the early weeks of widowhood, music was especially painful for me. I literally choked on the words. Songs like “Great is Thy Faithfulness” meant far more than I could physically express. But the songs of surrender and sacrifice were the hardest. As I listened to the singing in church on Sunday mornings I wondered—how could anyone turn such hard truths into pretty tunes and sing them without a care in the world?

You people have no idea what you’re singing about, I thought. They were too young, too na├»ve, and they knew little of loss or suffering. They were mouthing the words, just playing a chorus, oblivious of the day they would need to make those very words their own. When the psalms and hymns are not our experience, the repetition, memorization, and mouthing of them in music are our primer. They prepare us for days to come, hard days when we’ll need to put them into practice. Spiritual songs suspend God’s doctrine of personal surrender like medicine in an intravenous solution. They inject healing truth into the soul and help begin to fill our emptiness."
Has music had a healing and helpful effect upon you? Does it sometimes catch you unaware, and send a storm of emotion rushing upon you? What is it about music that affects us so much? Let's talk about it this week. Share your thoughts, mention favorite song titles and anything else you'd like to say about music's affect this week.


  1. There is something about praise music and hymns that have always touched my heart. This is so much more so since my husband's death. Sometimes the song's words have been difficult, but they are also such a comfort and blessing. Spiritual music has a way of connecting us with God which I think is something we all so desire.

  2. For me the hymns I grew up with and "mumbled" through in my younger days became salve to my wounded heart and touched my soul deeply. I so appreciate them now, more than I ever did before. I do enjoy praise songs, but the hymns bring peace and depth to my soul.

  3. At first, after my husband "moved to heaven" I couldn't bring myself to listen to any music; however, as the weeks turned into months, I find peace, comfort and solace in listening to hymns, music he loved and songs of hope.

  4. I find these accounts fascinating. I wonder if any musicians out there have insight into the affects of music? Thanks everyone, and adding where you're from is a nice touch!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am not always able to reply but your remarks mean a lot to me and will appear as soon as possible.

Here are some tips for commenting:
Remember to click the Publish button when you are done.
Choosing the anonymous identity is easiest if you do not have your own blog.
Using a computer rather than a cell phone seems to work better. Thanks again!