By Tony Falzano —
This is the 3rd in a series of four articles on music and how it acts as a healing agent for those grieving a loss. In previous articles, we discussed the health benefits of listening to music. We also examined how music can direct our attention from our uneasy surroundings as well as divert us away from pain. This month, we’ll look at another way music accompanies us through the grief process.
It’s no secret that many therapists, clergy and medical professionals believe one of the best things we can do while grieving a loss is to have contact with loving, supportive people who will keep us active and provide company.
But in the times when we either want to, or need to, be alone, there is something that can give us privacy and yet take the empty stillness out of a room. This element is music and it can be a quiet, supportive companion as we travel the road with grief.
Using music to keep us company is not far fetched or anything new. Throughout our lives we have played favorite songs that gave us companionship when we were alone. We have counted on music to make our surroundings lighter, brighter and more hopeful.
So when you play it, music is similar to a friend or relative who has stopped by to pay a visit. It fills the room with sound and activity. While it plays, you are not entirely alone. You can talk to it, cry with it and even shout at it. Having music play in this situation feels comfortable; like putting on a warm sweater on a cold day. You feel better when you are around it. While it plays you can do what you want.
And it will stay with you as long as you wish. However, unlike with a friend or family member, you don’t have to worry about its feelings when you don’t want to visit with it any longer. You can just shut it off and move onto something else with no explanations.
I’m not suggesting that music is all you need or that it should ever take the place of human interaction when you are upset, under stress, unsure and feeling alone. What I am saying is that music can be an important ally as you integrate it in your total care and well being.
Music can be a strong presence as we grieve. Music is like water that seeps into the soil of our souls so our emotions can come to the surface. What usually follows is crying, even sobbing. This should be welcomed. It’s therapeutic to cry. It’s one of the best things we can do. We release stress and toxins when we release tears. We also let go of pain which helps us return to a calm state. That is why many of us feel better after a good cry.
We don’t need music to cry. But similar to the addition of music in a movie to augment the action or drama on the screen, music has a way to enhance the emotions we are feeling from loss. There is something about it that heightens what we are experiencing.
Listening to songs is one way to keep us company when we are alone. But there are other ways that music can embrace, stabilize and support us.
I realized this several years ago after my dad passed away. I was responsible for settling my mother and father’s affairs. I knew going through their last possessions was going to be the most difficult. I procrastinated for months. Then one day on the spur of the moment, I put on some music and proceeded to go through the many boxes still left.
I realized that I could only keep a few special tokens and that most things would need to be discarded. Consequently, I held in my hands old photographs, letters and memorabilia for the last time. These were objects and expressions that were not only my mother and father’s but they were things that represented earlier periods of my own life.
It was an emotionally charged afternoon. But on that day when I was physically alone, I did not feel alone. Those songs filled the silence that would have been present had they not been filling the room with beautiful sounds. The best way I can describe it is that the music was like a friend working quietly on the other side of the room helping me with the difficult task at hand.
Notice I said music and not the television or radio. A number of television programs that enter our homes are loud and contain violent graphics that come to us at a rapid-fire rate. The radio is more subtle but still can have someone shouting to draw attention to their product. If you think about it you probably would not want anyone to come over to your house and scream at you to buy something. Consequently, music is the better choice in these situations.
Next month, we’ll examine several popular styles of music that are available to listen to as you move through the grief process. I’ll also have a few suggestions on how to listen to music to get the most benefit.
Many people believe music is the highest of all the art forms. It’s hard to argue the point when we see all that it can do for us including offering us health benefits, distracting us from our troubles while extending companionship to us. Music is an aural thrill. It is an incredible gift and one we can count on to surround us with warm, tender, comforting sounds.
Along with family and friends, think of music as another partner on your journey through grief. The songs you listen to are true, reliable friends. And they prove what The Beatles sang to us all those years ago; we do get by, “With a Little Help from our Friends.”
Tony Falzano is an award winning songwriter who has written hundreds of songs in a variety of musical genres. Over a 35 year career, he has written pop, country and R&B tunes. He has penned jingles for radio and TV and composed music for the musical stage. In addition, he has produced a cabaret of his own work. His music has also been associated with a number of special projects. Today, he composes music to help people feel calm, centered and relaxed. His music CD titled, In Abba’s Arms, contains 12 melodic, instrumental compositions that are an ?inspirational companion? to those searching for healing and hope. To hear Tony?s CD go to: www.cdbaby.com/cd/FalzanoTags: grief, hope