How Making A Playlist Has Helped My Grief


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Aubrie Sandoval, Writer

I used to say that I didn’t have a favorite song. That I listened to everything and there wasn’t anything I didn’t love. I was wrong, naturally. When I’m depressed or in more recent times, grieving, I find a song that I relate to most and will lay down in the dark and listen, and listen, and listen. Until there isn’t an emotional reaction. Until it doesn’t hurt. Then I’ll put it away until I need it again. I have a playlist of songs that I’ll put at the end of this article, in list form and a link attachment just in case you don’t want to search and make a playlist of your own. However, I do encourage you to find your own songs, the tune that speaks to your grief, and add it, whether it be an already existing playlist or not, so that you can listen when you feel you won’t make it through. Because it could be that song that keeps you on the ground for just another second. And if you don’t have a song, I hope you find peace in the music I will share here with you today. 

There’s a song called “If I Go, I’m Goin” by Gregory Alan Isakov, that reminds me of a moment before my grandpa passed. He was already in a coma, or asleep if that makes you more comfortable, and my grandma was sitting with him, holding his hand. The quiet in the room felt incredibly loud despite it being intentional and my grandmother’s voice felt piercing. Knifelike her words entered my brain and stayed there. She told him to go, that it was okay if he died and that we’d all be okay. You know when you’re half asleep so you aren’t particularly aware of the place you have in the world, but you know you have one? That’s what it felt like when he woke up just enough to shake his head and make a sound that sounded outstandingly like “no.” Sometimes, when I remember him, it still feels a little bit like I’m sleeping. Like I’ll wake up and he’ll be there. I listened to Mr. Isakov’s song a lot after he was gone, it felt like he was still around when I did. I stopped listening a few months ago, but when it does come on, there is a brief moment where I feel both a sense of peace and irrevocable pain settle over me. I miss him, and I love him, but I am also glad that wherever he is, he at least doesn’t have cancer anymore. 

Moving on from that bit of highly painful information, despite there being a lot of songs that remind me of him, there are also songs that remind me of myself or make me feel just a little bit stronger when I feel weak. I’ll try and keep this list to one song because I’m putting the playlist at the end of the article anyways so there’s that. Anyways, a song that has carried me through one of the hardest times of my life is “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis. Before we continue on with why it makes me feel so much stronger, I should probably tell you that I found this song through a show called Cold Case and it took like 3 different searches to find it, so enjoy it because it was way more difficult than it should have been. Anyways, the reason this song is so important and emotionally uplifting for me is because I’ve carried around a lot of anger in my short life. I’m almost 18 years old and it reminds me that I don’t have to hurt myself by carrying other people’s stuff. It doesn’t have to kill me if I don’t let it. 

I used to believe that the way I felt on the inside wasn’t normal or the way thousands or maybe even millions or billions of other people were feeling. And it was through music, which I use to express myself that I found an outlet to grieve in a constructive way that wouldn’t hurt other people or myself. Which is so strange to think about now, because I was so sad. With COVID, and deaths in the family, moving, starting senior year and going back to in person school. And that’s not even counting the fact that in December I will be an adult and I am currently still looking for a job so I can pay for college. Making a playlist to make me feel better was a hassle, because it actually took a lot of searching to find the songs I wanted to put the way I felt in words that I couldn’t find. 

I will keep this last part brief because I am positive that this ending doesn’t mean much, just a short summary type thing that people put down as a way to put a pretty bow on the rest of their thoughts. I believe that putting music to my emotions helped me heal at least a little bit. I had to look at my feelings and think them over when I listened to it, so if you have things to move forward from, make something. Whether it be a playlist, or your own music, or a painting, or a dance or a book. Create something that makes you feel better than you did before you started it. 


List of songs: Please listen in this order, at least the first time, after that you can arrange it however you like 🙂

Cancer- My Chemical Romance

Waste a Moment- Kings of Leon

Drive- Incubus

One headlight- The Wallflowers

Writer in the dark- Lorde 

If I go, I’m goin- Gregory Alan Isakov 

Cough Syrup- Young the Giant

Hear you me- Jimmy Eat World 

I’ll Be- Edwin McCain

Iris- The Goo Goo Dolls

Look after you- The Fray

July- Noah Cyrus (feat. Leon Bridges)

It’s not the same anymore- Rex Orange County

False Confidence- Noah Kahan

Work song- Hozier

Hurt somebody- Noah Kahan 

The middle- Jimmy Eat World 

Someone new- Hozier

Don’t look back in anger- Oasis

Float On- Modest Mouse 

Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros


Article Playlist Official- Aubrie Sandoval