The Music of Grief
Somewhere between Memphis and Chicago, while driving north on the Interstate, I realized that music was going to play a key role in my grieving.
We were just two months past Niecie’s death and still trying to find our new way as a family. I had been asked to attend a meeting in Michigan, and the kids and I decided that a road trip would be good for us.
I journaled about it from the road one night—
Part of the pain of this trip is seeing places that remind me of previous trips when, of course, Niecie was still with us. So many places prompt memories: restaurants where we ate, hotels where we stayed, and even rest stops where we took breaks. Just driving down the highway brings so many memories . . . and tears (which I’m trying to hide from the kids).
At one point today I turned on some music and a Steve Green song came on that I’d never heard before, “Safely Home.” The lyrics, though mournful, are rich with truth . . .
Their pain is past now
They rest at last now
They are strong and free
They are safe with Me
For a few minutes, my thoughts turned away from my pain and to Niecie’s joy. She is home. Her pain is past. She really is at rest.
Oh, the life-giving beauty of good music. It is a gift from God.
There have been other songs along the way that have reached underneath my sadness to lift me. In those early days, it was songs like “Were It Not for Grace,” “Be Strong and Take Courage,” and “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” Later, “I Can Only Imagine” and “No Need to Fear” were added to the mix. Lately I find myself drawn to songs like “Christ Is Mine Forevermore,” “He Will Hold Me Fast,” “Raise a Hallelujah,” “His Mercy is More,” “Is He Worthy?,” and “I Will Wait for You.” (This list could get really long, so I’ll stop now.)
I’m so very grateful for songs that are rich in truth and meaning, songs that draw me forward and upward, songs that remind me of the greater realities of the life that is coming.
It’s not lost on me that many of these songs, and others like them, are written by people who have walked through the valley of shadows themselves. Through their music and their writing, they are doing exactly what 2 Corinthians 1 has asked of them—they are passing along the comfort they have received.
To them all I say, Thank You! You have given words to what I could not say but desperately needed to hear.
In our grief we often need silence, solitude, and stillness.
But sometimes we need a song.
“The world that is whispers of the world to come.”
—Andrew Peterson (Adorning the Dark)
© 2022 by Tim Grissom. All rights reserved.