FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.
Grief Is a Heavy Blanket
Fresh grief is especially heavy. Grieving the death of someone close often feels like being swaddled tightly in a weighted blanket.
Missing a lost loved one or friend can be everpresent and all-encompassing. It touches every aspect of existence and signals human vulnerability to others. Accept the warmth they offer. It can be crucial to healing.
Sure, there is often a sad comfort in staying wrapped up in remembrances of a lost loved one, a stagnant cocoon of yesterday's memories and what-ifs. However, know that with time, that blanket of grief softens. It becomes lighter, and letting go without forgetting becomes possible.
As you miss your deceased loved one, I wish you peace in your journey. Make a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs that honor both their cherished memory and your grieving. We have a lot of songs to start you off.
1. "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa (Featuring Charlie Puth)
Death doesn't have to end a friendship. The narrator in this 2015 pop-rap ballad wistfully recalls the happy memories and successes that he shared with a close friend who has passed away. A strong bond unites these two lifelong friends—one that transcends death.
The surviving friend holds dear the memory of his deceased buddy and looks forward to their being reunited one day and catching up. Until then, the narrator wishes his pal well in the afterlife.
The massively popular global hit is a tribute to actor Paul Walker who died in 2013 in a single-vehicle accident. The car he was a passenger in was traveling more than 100 mph in a 45 mph zone when it hit both a light pole and a tree, bursting into flames. "See You Again" appears on the soundtrack of the 2015 major motion picture, Furious 7.
2. "Ghost" by Justin Bieber
While you may be tempted to interpret this bittersweet pop ditty from 2021 as a love song about the Biebs missing ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez, he insists that it is actually about the trauma and hurt of losing a loved one in the pandemic. Globally, almost 6 million people have died as a result of COVID-19.
In the song, the young narrator is haunted by the loss of someone he loves. He misses them dearly, and in retrospect he wishes that they had had more time together on earth. Since this isn't possible, the grieving narrator settles for the happy memories that they made together. Sometimes that's all you can do.
3. "Dancing in the Sky" by Dani and Lizzy
When a cherished friend or loved one dies, the pain of separation can be eased by envisioning that they dance with the angels. This soothing 2016 pop song went viral in part because it paints that picture.
Inspired by the death of a friend and other losses, Canadian twins Dani and Lizzy address a recently deceased loved one to ask a series of questions. They express sorrow and a sense of emptiness that their loved one is not here on earth then inquire whether their loved one's fear and pain has disappeared in heaven. The twins conclude that heaven is an even better place since their loved one arrived.
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4. "You Should Be Here" by Cole Swindell
Six weeks after country star Cole Swindell signed a record deal with Warner, a freak accident claimed the life of his father when a truck that his dad was working on fell on top of him. This 2016 country hit honors his late father by lovingly recounting many of the everyday things that his dad is missing. The singer expresses how he wishes that they could be together now to share everyday events and make new memories.
5. "Wrecked" by Imagine Dragons
Feeling like an emotional wreck, the man in this 2021 alt rock song is grieving the loss of a loved one. He is experiencing difficulty in putting the death behind him. Unable to move on with his life, he feels stuck. There are frequent reminders of his deceased loved one everywhere he turns, and he finds himself wishing he could see them one more time.
The song was inspired by the loss of lead singer Dan Reynolds' sister-in-law who passed away in 2019 after a 9-month battle with lymphoma. The Imagine Dragons frontman called her "the brightest light" and "a beacon of joy and strength for everyone she met."
6. "Give Heaven Some Hell" by Hardy
In this emotionally stirring 2020 country song, a young man sits in the pew at the funeral service of his recently deceased friend. Although he expresses "it ain't right, man, it ain't fair" that his friend has died so young, he finds comfort in recalling memories of mischief that they shared and knowing that his friend is now in a better place.
The narrator gives a nod to his pal's religious values and wishes his friend well in heaven. He knows that one day they will be together again.
7. "Carry On" by Kygo (Featuring Rita Ora)
The woman in this very danceable 2019 pop tune is forcibly separated from her partner who provided a key source of emotional support. Being apart is difficult, but her memories help pull her through in his absence. He aided the narrator in becoming a better person, and she now promises to carry on for her significant other until they can be reunited: "I promise loud to carry on for you."
While the nature of their separation is unclear, the song is consistent with missing someone who has died, particularly the narrator's emphasis on carrying on for her lover. Knowing that your loved one would want you to move forward with your life can be a reason to keep getting up each day. If you can't do it for yourself, do it in your loved one's memory. The song appeared on the soundtrack of the 2019 film, Detective Pikachu.
8. "Visiting Hours" by Ed Sheeran
If only we could communicate with lost loved ones, then coping with their deaths might be more tolerable. In this melancholy pop ballad from 2021, Ed Sheeran imagines that heaven has established visiting hours for people on earth to connect with their deceased friends and relatives.
Addressing a dead friend and mentor, he wishes that he could stop by for advice or a chat or introduce his young daughter to the man he admired. Since there are no visiting hours, the narrator assures his friend that he will not be forgotten and the two will meet again one day. Sheeran wrote the tune as a tribute to Australian music promoter Michael Gudinski who died in 2021 of a lethal cocktail of 12 drugs.
9. "Beloved" by Mumford and Sons
Marcus Mumford sat vigil at the deathbed of his grandmother. He called witnessing her passing "chilling," and it inspired this 2019 alt rock tune.
The narrator is with a dying relative and emphasizes his love for her as she slips from one world to the next. The experience is wild, chaotic, and fear-inducing, but he does not want to hold her back from her journey. Above all, he reassures her that she is beloved.
10. "Dance with My Father" by Luther Vandross
This sentimental 2003 R&B ballad honors Luther Vandross' father who died of complications of diabetes when the singer was only seven. One of the most vivid memories of Vandross' joyful childhood was dancing around the house with his dad. The song describes being lifted high and spun around as his father danced with his mother and him.
At the time of this song's release in 2003, Vandross suffered a massive stroke which permanently impaired his ability to speak and sing and which left him in a wheelchair. Nicknamed "The Velvet Voice," the singer won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Dance with My Father." In 2005, Vandross joined his father in heaven where they've been dancing ever since.
11. "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney
This sorrowful 2006 county tune touches a sore spot in my heart that was laid bare when I lost a teenage friend by suicide many years ago. I sometimes mull over what he would be doing and who he would be if he were still around today.
The anguished narrator in this single addresses a loved one who died too young. He comtemplates who his loved one would now be if death had not taken them too soon, thus robbing them of the rest of their life story:
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
Would you see the world
Would you chase your dreams
Settle down with a family
I wonder what would you name your babies.
The narrator finds solace in knowing that one day they will be together again.
12. "Lay Me Down" by Sam Smith (Featuring John Legend)
In the 2014 pop ballad that launched Sam Smith's career, a dejected, lonely man is rocked by the devastation of loss. He seeks to reunite with a dead lover. Although the death was expected that certainly doesn't make it easier for him to cope with loss. He misses his lover and seeks to take care of him. Smith wrote this track after he was ghosted by a guy whom he tried to chat up on Whatsapp.
13. "One More Day" by Diamond Rio
Those who are left behind often ache to reclaim time cut short by the death of their loved one. If only that were possible. However, there are no redos or extensions,
In this poignant country crossover song from 2001, a man recounts dreaming that he was granted one wish. Rather than ask for money, a Malibu mansion, or other worldly possessions, he sought another day holding his deceased sweetheart, unburdened by the tv or telephone, as they shared exchanged "I love you"s and watched the sun set.
This tune was released in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, helping to bolster the song's popularity on the charts. Fans of professional NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, who died in February 2001, also used it heavily in memorials.
14. "Beam Me Up" by Pink
Losing a child is a special kind of terrible. My great-grandmother lost a young son to a brain tumor, and the poor woman grieved his passing until we put her in the grave. There are some losses you just don't get over.
Pink wrote this 2012 pop ballad for a friend who lost a young child. The singer rarely performs it in concert because of the personal nature. The mother in this tune looks around her for signs that her deceased child is communicating with her. She desperately yearns to hear their voice and hold their face in her hands, if only for a moment. Since this isn't possible, the narrator will settle for being able to convey a signal to her child when she needs them, such as lighting a candle.
15. "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill
Although your loved one is no longer with you physically, their memory will hold an everpresent place in your life. In this 2001 power ballad, a woman expresses gratitude for the time she got to spend on earth with her lost loved one.
While their time together was cut short, her loved one was always there to show her support. Now that they have passed away, there will always be a place in her heart for them. The country mainstream pop crossover hit was part of the soundtrack for the movie Pearl Harbor.
16. "Let It Be" by The Beatles
Sometimes the deceased can provide sage words of advice and have a calming effect on those left behind. This is what Paul McCartney's late mother, Mary, did from the great beyond when he was struggling with anxiety and conflict during the waning days of the Beatles.
Mary McCartney had passed away from cancer when her son was only 14, however she returned to him in a dream to reassure him, "It's gonna be OK. Just let it be... ." These soothing words inspired him to pen this 1970 rock tune. Rolling Stone magazine has recognized "Let It Be" as one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time." Although it was not a religious song, John Lennon resented the track for its Christian overtones.
17. "A Picture of Me (Without You)" by George Jones
In a 1972 ditty written specifically for the legendary country hit maker, George Jones leans into the loss felt by a man who no longer has his better half with him. He's like a jelly sandwich without the peanut butter—missing a key ingredient.
Song lyrics don't specify whether death or relationship trouble is keeping the narrator from his honey, however the tune is appropriate for someone who is missing someone who has died. The man describes how incomplete he feels by drawing a number of comparisons of him without his loved one, including:
- a world with no music playing
- a church with nobody praying
- a sky with no blue
- a river without water and
- a garden with nothing growing.
18. "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
Anyone who has watched the movie Titanic no doubt recognizes this tune, a romantic 1997 power ballad that has become Celine Dion's signature song. Soaring to the top the charts, it became a worldwide sensation, winning two Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award.
The romantic song describes how a couple's love will survive the separation of time and distance, thereby transcending death. At the time, this song became so overexposed in the media that even the film's co-star, Kate Winslet, said that when she heard it she felt like vomiting!
19. "Drowning" by Chris Young
... Missing you comes in waves
And tonight I'm drowning
If you have lost someone important to you, then you understand that with grief, there are good days when you get by and there miserable days when you wonder how you're going to survive another moment. (It eventually gets better if you give yourself time.)
This 2019 county ballad exudes empathy by capturing the emotional heartache of a man in the aftermath of losing a friend. He still has his pal's number on his phone and dials it just to hear their voice. Looking at old photos, he thinks about how they were taken too soon. Someone throw him a lifeline of understanding. Chris Young wrote this touching tune in tribute to his friend, Adam, who died in a motor vehicle accident.
20. "If You Came Back From Heaven" by Lorrie Morgan
The widow in this heartrending 1994 country tune wonders what would happen if her husband returned from heaven. Perhaps she would laugh, cry, or even find herself lost for words. The narrator wonders whether her partner's touch feels the same. Would they simply pick up from where they left off? Whatever the case, she does know that if he returned, she would never send him back to heaven unaccompanied.
Lorrie Morgan has experience with this type of heartache. Her second husband, country star Keith Whitley, died of alcohol poisoning in 1989. Morgan has been married a total of six times.
Even More Songs About Missing Someone Who Died
21. Tears in Heaven
22. Supermarket Flowers
23. See You Again
24. Not a Day Goes By
25. Heaven Was Needing a Hero
26. Fire and Rain
27. I'll Be Missing You
Faith Evans and Sean Combs
29. Love Is Stronger Than Death
30. To Where You Are
31. This Is Your Song
32. Candle in the Wind
33. Angel Flying to Close to the Ground
34. Wake Me Up When September Ends
36. Last Kiss
37. Holes in the Floor of Heaven
38. Only One
Kanye West (Featuring Paul McCartney)
39. Missing You
40. One Sweet Day
Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men
41. Gone Too Soon
42. If You Came Back from Heaven
45. He Stopped Loving Her Today
47. You Are Not Alone
48. I Drive Your Truck
49. The Greatest Man I Never Knew
50. If I Had Only Known
51. Unchained Melody
The Righteous Brothers
52. Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)
53. I'll See You Again
54. Ocean Breathes Salty
56. Together Again
57. Really Gonna Miss You
58. Bye Bye
59. Gone Too Soon
60. I'll Never Love Again
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
61. Gone Away
62. The Message
Dr. Dre (Featuring Mary J. Blige and Rell)
63. How Could You Leave Us
64. Go Rest High on That Mountain
66. Over You
67. Jealous of the Angels
68. Dad's Old Number
69. Here Without You
3 Doors Down
70. Drink a Beer
71. Who Knew
72. You're Not There
73. The Other Side
74. I Will Not Say Goodbye
75. Since I Lost You
76. The Dance
77. Wish You Were Here
78. When I'm Gone
Joey + Rory
79. Temporary Home
80. Gone Away
Five Finger Death Punch
81. 21 Years
82. Bye Mom
83. Dancing With Your Ghost
Sasha Alex Sloan
84. The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost
© 2022 FlourishAnyway