Music touches my soul. When I am not singing, dancing or playing an instrument, I am writing articles about the songs that I hold dear.
Although we all know it will happen one day, losing a father can be shocking and devastating. This experience can leave us feeling emotions that we have never felt before, feelings which may be hard to express and share with loved ones because each of us experiences loss differently. Each of us travels along a unique journey of grieving. Those around us might not completely understand or be able to console us. Our unique path of grieving helps us to accept the empty space where our father used to be. The healing process is a deeply emotional one and music can assist us and be a great comfort. Music offers us a kinship, a kind of bond with the song and its writer, while music has universal and shared healing properties, it's especially therapeutic when songs are written from a father’s point of view.
An empty space appears in your life when you lose a father, someone you may have counted on, someone you knew so well, someone that was always part of your life, now gone forever. You are left to stand without him, on your own two feet; this is scary, no matter what age you are at the time. Who knows you better than your father? Even if the relationship was rocky at times, he will always be your father, he is irreplaceable. You are now left feeling like there is an empty space; as if not only your father, but a part of yourself is now missing.
Now you are left to grieve, yet hopefully you have support along the way. While each of us grieve in the same order, typically we will go through five stages of grief. The five stages of grieving include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately, acceptance. Moving through these processes relies heavily on acknowledging your feelings in order to reach the next stage. Losing a close family member such as your father registers high on the stress scale, so this type of grieving can be more impactful than other losses.
Music can be a great solace through the process. Music can allow feelings to arise that may be blocked or repressed. Songs written from a father to a child may help you remember your dad; remember the love he had for you, and how it felt to be loved by him. Though these are examples of the songs that have helped me along my own journey towards healing, and each song offers a different perspective on a dad's love. If you have lost a father as well, it is my hope that this collection of songs might help you heal. Maybe it'll even help you to conjure some fond memories, bringing a smile to your face when you need it most.
“I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.”
— Maya Angelou
Please take the time to explore these song choices as they may be helpful, not only for those grieving, but for those looking to explore the loving relationship between a father and his child.
Songs From a Father to His Children
- "You are Not Alone"—Michael Jackson
- "I’m Already There"—Lonestar
- "Fields of Gold"—Sting
- "Your Song"—Elton John
- "Yellow"—Cold Play
- "Always on Your Mind"—Willie Nelson
- "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"—Billy Joel
- "Somewhere Out There"—Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
"You are Not Alone"—Michael Jackson
Album: HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
Release Date: August 15, 1995
If you are missing your Dad or a loved one, this melody is sure to hit a nerve and maybe trigger some tears. When we lose a loved one, at first there is a shock and feeling of loss, but this is often followed by the feeling that they still exist, that they are still with us. Written by R. Kelly and sung by Michael Jackson, this slow tempo song along with its lyrics is touching, soothing and consoling.
You never said goodbye
Someone tell me why
Did you have to go
And leave my world so cold
— Michael Jackson, "You are Not Alone"
"The power of music to integrate and cure. . . is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest nonchemical medication."
— Oliver Sacks
"I’m Already There"—Lonestar
Album: I'm Already There
Release Date: March 26, 2001
Written by Lonestar lead singer, McDonald, I’m Already There was inspired by a phone call with his four year old son during a long separation. The lyrics of this song can also relate to missing a father who has passed. Although they are physically gone, their spirit lives on and they are always “there.”
I'm already there
Take a look around
I'm the sunshine in your hair
I'm the shadow on the ground
I'm the whisper in the wind
— Lonestar, "I’m Already There"
"Fields of Gold"—Sting
Album: Ten Summoner's Tales
Release Date: May, 1993
“Fields of Gold” is about those beautiful times that loved ones share together, the occasions that turn even sweeter and more golden in our memories. Although written and made famous by Sting, “Fields of Gold” has been covered by many famous artists, most notably by Eva Cassidy. This is a haunting song. Its lyrical imagery brings you to a reflective and emotional place.
Many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley
— Sting, "Fields of Gold"
"Fields of Gold"—Eva Cassidy
"Your Song"—Elton John
Album: Elton John
Release Date: October 26, 1970
"Your Song" is a very well known and beloved ballad. Written in 1967, this is one of the first times that Elton John put music to Bernie Taupin's lyrics. This musical duo went on to write a seemingly infinite number of hit songs and albums. The music of “Your Song” has a melancholy undertone ,but a message of undying love and a request to be accepted for who we are. This song could have easily been written by a father to his beloved child.
My gift is my song
And this one's for you
And you can tell everybody this is your song
— Elton John, "Your Song"
Release Date: June 26, 2000
“Yellow” is a song about loving someone and the willingness to do anything for them. Your father could have composed this for you because it is through their love that they want so much for their children. Chris Martin sings, “Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you, and everything you do.” It's easy to see these lyrics having been written by a loving father.
Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow…
— Cold Play, "Yellow"
"Always on My Mind"—Willie Nelson
Album: Always on My Mind
Release Year: 1982
If your Dad was not around often, this song could very well apply to you. Some fathers find it hard to be close to their children, but this does not mean they didn’t feel love towards them. This song talks to this sentiment of love from a distance.
Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
Maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have…
But you were always on my mind
— Willie Nelson, "Always on Your Mind"
"Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"—Billy Joel
Album: River of Dreams
Release Year: 1994
Genre: Adult contemporary
When singer songwriter Billy Joel’s daughter asked him about death he answered her question with a song, a spiritually moving musical masterpiece called “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel).” When discussing the song, Joel explained his view that although we die, we live on in the hearts of those we’ve loved.
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That's how you and I will be
— Billy Joel, "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)"
“Someday I will be gone, but lullabies go on and on, that’s how you and I will be.”
— Billy Joel, "Lullaby"
"Somewhere Out There"—Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
Album: An American Tail: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Release Year: November 21, 1986
This captivating song from the Disney movie An American Tale, takes its inspiration from Beethoven’s well-known Pathetique no. 8 2nd movement. This version of the duet, sung by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville, is a moving interpretation. Although the song is more about love surviving time and distance, this enchanting song imparts the message that we can feel loved no matter where we are, because love transcends both time and space.
Somewhere out there, if love can see us through (love can see us through)
Then we'll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true
— Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville, "Somewhere Out There"
© 2015 Tracy Lynn Conway
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 06, 2015:
I treated this subject, too. Not with music, just with words. Good topic.