Music can express emotions that we would struggle to voice with pure words. As a result, it is very understandable for people to play music as a way of remembering those who have passed on. Country music excels at expressing these sorts of emotions, thus making it an excellent choice for those grieving.
10. “A Picture of Me (Without You)” – George Jones
Sometimes, metaphor is the best way to communicate the sheer immensity of certain emotions. The very title of this song makes it clear in an instant what the listener can expect from it. After which, it makes excellent use of further metaphors to express exactly how incomplete the viewpoint character is without their loved one. On the whole, this is a simple song, but simple songs can pack the strongest punches.
9. “One More Day” – Diamond Rio
Meanwhile, this song has a stronger feeling of regret to it. After all, it is all about what the viewpoint character would give up to get just one more day with their loved one. That is a very relatable sentiment, to say the least.
8. “Temporary Home” – Carrie Underwood
A lot of people find comfort in the belief in the hereafter. They draw strength from their faith that death is just the end of their temporary stay on Earth. One day, they will go to their true home, where they will eventually be reunited with their loved ones. Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” is a beautiful song expressing exactly this sentiment.
7. “I Hope You Dance” – Lee Ann Womack
Some people choose to embrace life in the face of death. One could call it a smart and sensible decision to make the best use of what has been given to us. Alternatively, one could call it a gesture of joyful defiance against the inevitable. Whatever the case, “I Hope You Dance” encourages the listener to embrace the wonders and opportunities of life.
6. “Drink a Beer” – Luke Bryan
Using alcohol to pay respects to those who have passed on is a time-honored tradition. The ancient Greeks would pour wine onto the earth to honor the deceased. Similarly, a wide range of modern people still practices something similar when drinking either alone or with others. Of course, the idea of drinking a beer is also a succinct but powerful way of communicating the viewpoint character’s shock at hearing the bad news of their friend’s passing.
5. “If I Had Only Known” – Reba McEntire
Regret is a powerful emotion. However, we don’t feel regret unless we care, which makes it very understandable why people feel regret about their last interactions with their loved ones. Oftentimes, they think they should’ve done more to express how they feel, perhaps hoping that their love will burn so warmly and so brightly that their loved ones won’t go cold and lonely into the beyond. There is something of a lesson to this song. We cannot change what has already happened, but we can learn to put more value on our relationships with one another. By doing so, people can ensure that the strength of their love doesn’t need to be said because it is already so well-known.
4. “Go Rest High On That Mountain” – Vince Gill
Personal experience can make for the most powerful songs. In this case, Vince Gill wrote the song “Go Rest High On That Mountain” because of a couple of individuals. First, he wrote about country singer Keith Whitley, who died very young because of his alcoholism. Gill wasn’t satisfied with the initial version of the song, so he decided to sit on it. Second, he wrote about his older brother Bob Coen, who suffered brain damage because of a car accident in his 20s. As a result, his older brother would sometimes slip away before showing up at various missions, which was a source of huge concern for his family.
3. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a song about grief. Even so, it is easy to fit it into such occasions. After all, it is focused on the idea of returning to where the viewpoint character belongs, which works very well with notions of death being a rest and death being the beginning of something new. This isn’t exactly a celebratory song, but this can work as one of the more comforting songs on this list.
2. “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton
Once again, this isn’t quite a song about the passing of a loved one. Despite that, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” works very well for such occasions. There is a strong sense of sorrow running throughout its lyrics. Although that is meant for a parting of ways for former lovers, that emotion can carry over to a different sort of separation.
1. “Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw’s most famous song isn’t based on a single incident. Instead, it took inspiration from several examples of people reevaluating their lives after learning of terminal illnesses. As such, while the song’s subject isn’t quite a real individual, he feels very true to life. Most of the song is concerned with a couple of concepts.
One would be living life to the fullest to make the most use of the limited time available to us. The other is giving serious thought to exactly what kind of person we would like to be, particularly in light of the knowledge that how we act is how we will be judged. As such, while there is a great deal of practicality to this song, there is also a great deal of spirituality to it.