Music: A Coping Mechanism During Bereavement


Many of us know that experiencing the loss of someone in our life can be devastating.  Each one of us processes death differently and in our own time.  Finding tools to assist us in this process can be a miraculous thing.  Music can be an amazing catalyst to assist us in processing challenging emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt and anxiety that may occur in the bereavement process.  Songs can be amazing messengers in these challenging times that provide comfort and allow us to bring our feelings to the surface. As we begin to deal with our emotions, the healing process can begin.  Here are a few suggestions to utilize music as a coping mechanism during bereavement.

1- Honoring Your Self

        Before my mom died she requested that we play Chopin’s Nocturne number nine during her funeral.  To be honest, I never knew my mom liked that composition.  I realized that after she passed, I was having a hard time releasing grief.  There were many details to handle and I felt I needed to be strong for my family.  A few weeks later it caught up to me.  Unexpectedly, I heard Chopin’s Nocturne number nine.  The floodgates opened and the emotions began to come through.  The song acted as a vehicle for my own healing process.  I began to understand that the bereavement process takes time and did not have to be done all at once.  I began to create small bereavement sessions using Chopin’s Nocturne nine as a vehicle to assist me in bringing my emotions to the surface.  I began to recognize and honor my own process. Each time I played the music, it provided a connection with my mother. Knowing that music was still a vehicle that wove my mother and I together brought me great comfort.

Is there a song or composition that helps you to connect with your loved one? Allow it to assist you!

2- Honoring Your Loved One

Once you begin to move through your own healing process, music can also be used to celebrate a person’s life.  My mom LOVED Tom Jones, Harry Belafonte, Itzhak Perlman and Andre Riu.   I decided to create a playlist with her favorite songs from them.  I created my own celebration ceremony to honor my mom.  I lit some candles and began to go inward as I played the songs.  While they played, I thanked my mom for all she had given, her wisdom, her support and also for passing on her love of music to me.  I knew this would always be our connection. 

What songs celebrate your loved ones life? Can you create a playlist to honor them?

3- Honoring the Healing Process

There can be many layers we move through on our healing journey.   Be gentle and kind with yourself during the process.  Think of music as a friend that is always there for you during bereavement.  A good friend can provide emotional support, be a shoulder to cry on and give you what you need in different situations…. Music can do the same!  Each day, ask yourself what song or piece of music will honor your healing process.  Maybe you need an up beat song to allow your soul to take a break.  Maybe you need a gentle piece of music to help you get to sleep at night or maybe a piece of music from another part of the world that allows you to take a five-minute vacation.

Each song or piece of music that you utilize during the bereavement process is a uniquely orchestrated miracle.  A string in a beautiful tapestry that weaves us together with our loved ones forever

If you have lost a loved one my thoughts and prayers are with you…and so is music!

Barry Goldstein has been a composer, producer, and researcher on the vibrational effects of music for more than twenty-five years. He brings his knowledge of frequency, resonance, entrainment, and harmonics into his healing with music series Ambiology, which is being used in hospitals, hospices, medical offices, and in individuals’ homes worldwide. He is a Billboard Top Ten recording artist and has composed music for film and television. His work spans many styles and genres, from coproducing the Grammy Award–winning track “69 Freedom Special” with Les Paul to providing original ambient music for Shirley MacLaine, Neale Donald Walsch, Gregg Braden, Dr. Joe Dispenza, and Dr. Daniel Amen. In addition, in his new book The Secret Language of the Heart, Barry shares how every one of us—the musical and nonmusical alike—can harness the power of music to alleviate specific illnesses, reverse negative mindsets and attitudes, dissolve creative blocks and improve overall health. Backed up by the latest scientific research on the benefits of sound, music, and vibration, this book offers practical, concrete instructions for healing that can be tailored to suit your individual preferences and needs. Available at  More about Barry at