Songs About Losing a Loved One

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Originally published in May 2018. Updated August 10, 2021 and July 11, 2022.

There are many different situations when you need songs about losing a loved one. This collection of 100 songs about the death of a loved one has the best songs for this darkest hour, including songs about the celebration of life and songs about losing someone.

Whether you need a song for a funeral service or one to help you in your grieving process, there are songs about losing someone from every genre and era here that will help.

white lily with purple and pink flowers with title Songs About Losing a Loved One.

Several years ago the grief of losing my parents hit me hard and listening to songs about losing a loved one helped me express the feelings that I couldn’t put into words myself. I have always been very close to my parents. Although I knew intellectually that they’d pass at some point, like a small child, I just never imagined that day would ever really come.  

In a beautiful, providential way, several very meaningful songs about loss, grief, and love came onto my radar just as I needed them and these 88 songs about missing someone helped me move through the grieving process. 

I lost my mom somewhat unexpectedly and then lost my dad unexpectedly six months later. Lost is the word that best describes how it is for me. It’s as though I glanced away for a moment and they’re suddenly, inexplicably gone – lost to me. Losing them was a double whammy that was rough for this momma’s and daddy’s girl.

Finding ways to express my grief to myself was a big part of getting through the grief. I’d felt stuck in it and didn’t know how to move through it (fast enough to suit my practical, let’s-get-‘er-done personality).  Finding songs about losing someone that expressed my feelings better than I could myself, helped me understand, deal with and move through my grief.

My mom was my biggest fan and supporter. Whenever anything happened, good or bad, she was the first person I wanted to talk to about it. She was also the first person I ran to when I was hurt. I inherited my creativity from her.

1960's image of blonde child on mom's lap looking at child's arm.
father in military uniform with young daughter.

My dad was the one who told me that I could do anything I put my mind to and be anyone I wanted to if I worked hard enough. He supported my career in the Air Force, in the traditionally male career field of transportation (I wore steel-toed boots and leather work gloves), as much as he did my blogging career. 

In my grief, I still feel like this young child, simply wanting my parents with me. I’d even settle for being able to talk to them on the phone. And I be satisfied if we could write letters back and forth. I simply miss them. 

A couple of these songs about grief got me through the earliest, rawest times of my grief. Some of these songs about dying are speaking to me now in a new way about loss as I’m entering a new phase of grief. Although I can’t choose any as favorites, I will say that these four songs have particular meaning to me:

  • Dancing in the Sky – Dani & Lizzy – I heard this song about 10 months after losing my mom and 5 months after losing my dad. It’s a song about missing someone who died and beautifully expresses my feelings and hopes. 
  • Over the Rainbow – Israel “Braddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole – Growing up in Hawai’i, this has always been a favorite. It was one the one song my brother and I both wanted to play at my parents’ memorial service.
  • Even If – Mercy Me – This song was on the radio all the time right after I lost my dad. It helped me stay anchored to my faith at a time when I was buffeted by waves of grief.
  • When I’m Gone – Joey+Rory – I’ve just recently discovered this country song. I hear my mom’s voice through the lyrics.  It’s exactly the message she’d have left me with. 

Songs About Losing Someone

I’ve listed these songs in no particular order. Don’t discount a song because you don’t like the singer or the genre of music. These are all amazing songs that really touch the heart and express an aspect of loss, love, grief and hope. Be open to each one and see which ones speak to your heart and experience.

Simply click on the videos below to listen to each song. 

Dancing in the Sky – Dani & Lizzy

A beautiful song written after the loss of a friend.

Download a copy for your music collection.

Angel – Sarah McLachlan 

A reflective song written after a friend’s death from a drug overdose.

You can grab the MP3 version.

graphic for LegacyBox with box holding photography equipment.

Beam Me Up – Pink

An emotional song written after the loss of a child.

Brand New Star – Oak Ridge Boys

A country song about a loved one now in a better place.

Get the MP3 version for yourself.

Even If – Mercy Me

Written about going through tough times.

You can download the song or get the album.

Gone Too Soon – Daughtry

A powerful ballad about losing someone too soon. It’s especially meaningful for loss due to a miscarriage.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven – Steve Wariner

This country song won song of the year in 1998.

You can get the song or the entire album.

I Will Not Say Goodbye – Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey sang this song in loving memory of his wife.

You can download the song to your music collection.

I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan

A great song about keep the precious memories alive.

Grab the song or the entire album.

In Loving Memory – Alter Bridge

Written for the loss of a mother, but good song for any loss.

Download the song or the entire album.

When I’m Gone – Joey+Rory

A beautiful song for the healing broken heart.

Add the song to your music collection or the entire album

Over the Rainbow – Israel “Braddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole

One of my favorite songs that perfectly blends hope and grief.

You can download the song or purchase the album. 

Save a Place for Me – Matthew West

Perfectly expresses the feelings of loss and grief.

Grab the song or the entire album

Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

A song written from a broken heart after losing a young child. One of the most beautiful songs about a loved one in heaven.

Download the song or the entire album.  

One Sweet Day – Mariah Carey & Boys II Men

Close friends wrote this song about the loss of a friend and coworker.

Add the song to your music collection or the entire album

When I Get Where I’m Going – Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton

A popular country music song about losing a loved one.

Get your copy of the song or the entire album

What a Wonderful World – Israel “Braddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole

A good song to uplift your heart when you’re grieving.

Grab the MP3 version of the song or the entire album. 

Scars in Heaven – Casting Crown

A song about heaven from a Christian faith foundation.

Songs about Loss Listed by Artist

Each of these songs are linked to YouTube so you can listen to them yourself.

Alabama – Angels Among Us is an encouraging and uplifting song written after miraculously surviving a car crash.

The Beatles – Yesterday was written by Paul McCartney inspired by the loss of his mother at a young age.

Beyoncé – Heaven was written about her mother’s best friend’s death.

Andrea Bocelli – Time to Say Goodbye is the the second most chosen funeral song in Great Brittain.

Boys II Men – It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday expresses the emotions when you have to say goodbye.

Lee Brice – I Drive Your Truck is a song about driving an older brother’s truck in an effort to be close to your love one again.

Garth Brooks

  • The Dance – Country music about people who are gone and those who gave their life for what they believed.
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes – A country song from 1988 that is used for funerals and often when people are nearing the end of their time.

Jackson Browne

Luke Bryan – Drink a Beer explores the overwhelming feelings experienced after losing a loved one. Luke Bryan has personally experienced the loss of several loved ones and understands the emotions himself.

Johnny Cash

Kenny Chesney

Patsy Cline

Sean P. Diddy Combs (Puff Daddy) and Faith Evans – I’ll Be Missing You was written in memory of Biggie Smalls, The Notorious B.I.G

Chris Cornell – I Promise It’s Not Goodbye was written after the loss of a young daughter and reminds us that our loved ones remain with us as we remember them.

Counting Crows – A Long December is about holding onto memories and remembering how life has changed and how it all felt.

Diamond Rio – One More Day is about having one more day together with a loved one.

Faith Hill – There’ll Be You is often used as funeral music or as a dedication to a lost loved one. It shares the idea of keeping the person will you. It’s from the soundtrack of the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor.

Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends is written about a child losing his father.

Elton John

  • Funeral Song for a Friend was written by Elton John as he thought about the kind of music he would want played at his own funeral. It was selected by Billboard magazine as the number two best Elton John song.
  • Candle in the Wind – Originally written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s too short life and later rewritten for Princess Dianna.
  • Empty Garden was written for the memory of his lost friend, John Lennon.

George Jones – Picture of Me (Without You) explains what life is like without a loved one.

  • Temporary Home was nominated for a Grammy for this hopeful song.
  • See You Again is written about the loss of a friend.
  • Just a Dream is written about a woman who was about get married but instead attends her fiancé’s funeral.

Rascal Flatts – Why explores the feelings of friends and family left behind after a suicide.

Vince Gill – Go Rest High on that Mountain – Written about the loss of a loved one that struggled with demons.

The Goo Goo Dolls have two meaningful songs about death and the loss of a loved one.

  • Amigone – Shares feelings of guilt about a the loss of a loved one.
  • Black Balloon – Written about a loved one struggling with heroin addiction and a loved one trying to save them.

Josh Groban has many popular funeral songs

  • You Raise Me Up – A powerful song for difficult times and loss
  • To Where You Are – A song about the loss of a loved one sung by Josh Groban in an episode of Ally McBeale
  • Brave – A classical crossover pop song about the loss of a relationship
  • Remember When It Rained – A sad song to help you release your grief
  • Granted – an uplifting and hopeful song
  • The Prayer – A duet with Celine Dion from 2008. Celine Dion originally released the song with Andrea Bocelli in 1998.
  • Alejate – Sung in Spanish and you can find the lyrics translated into many languages
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone – Originally from the musical Carousel, this version by Josh Groban is often selected for memorial services
  • More of You – Written as a love song, but also describes feelings during the last days and once a loved one is gone

Alan Jackson

  • In the Garden – A reminder when we’re lonely and feeling isolated that we are not alone.
  • Sissy’s Song – Written after a friend was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Michael Jackson – Gone Too Soon was written to memorialize the death of Ryan White

Billy Joel – Only the Good Die Young is not a song about losing a loved one, but is often a song people turn to in loss.

Wiz Khalifa – See You Again is about friendship and saying goodbye. It was written in memory of the Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker 

Avril Lavigne – When You’re Gone describes the pain of being separated from a loved one.

Linkin Park – Leave Out All the Rest is a song about remembering the good things and letting the bad ones go.

Reba McEntire – If I Had Only Known is about the grief of losing a friend.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Brendan’s Death Song was written as tribute to a best friend.

Tim McGraw

Bette Midler – Wing Beneath My Wings

Mumford & Sons – Beloved was written about being at the bedside of a grandmother as she passes away.

Willie Nelson

Sinead O’Connor sings a hauntingly beautiful song about grief and a broken heart in the song, Tiny Grief Song.

Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss – Whiskey Lullaby was the 2005 CMA Song of the Year.

Dolly Parton

  • Letter to Heaven – A poignant song about a daughter writing a letter to her mother in heaven, dies as she’s mailing the letter and is now in heaven with her mother.
  • I Will Always Love You – A song that is often played at weddings, but is also appropriate for a funeral. Many are more familiar with the version by Whitney Houston.

Pearl Jam

  • Last Kiss – The singer loses his girlfriend in a car crash and vows to be good so he can see her again in heaven.
  • Just Breathe – A song that explores deep love and treasuring that love. Interestingly, it’s used both for weddings and funerals.

Pink – Who Knew is written about the loss of a close friend to a drug overdose.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here – A rock song that is often chosen for funeral music.

Grace Potter – Daylight is a song about regrets and seeking the daylight in life.

Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa’s song, See You Again, is a tribute to the actor Paul Walker who died in a car accident and is featured in the movie Furious 7.

Ed Sheeran

Bruce Springsteen – The Last Carnival was written in memory of a band member that passed away.

Taylor Swift – Ronan is about a mother losing her young son

James Taylor – Fire and Rain was written for the death of a childhood friend.

Conway Twitty has several well-known country funeral songs:

Carrie Underwood – See You Again – Is about reuniting with loved ones again.

Warren Zevon – Keep Me In Your Heart – One of the more requested funeral songs about missing someone who died.

How songs and music can help you grieve

One of the difficulties with grief is that often we don’t have the words to express our grief. The song can give you the words you need to express your emotions.

It can help you process your grief. In giving you the words to think about and express your feelings, these meaningful songs can help you process your grief and move forward.

Knowing that there is at least one other person out there feeling what you are helps you feel connected during such an isolating time.

Songs can help you remember the good times and celebrate your loved one’s life.

Sad songs can help you cry and process your emotions. Often during the grieving process, we get stuck and need help getting our tears and pain out. A beautiful song can be the conduit to help you.

Help you contemplate your thoughts and emotions as they change during different stage of your grief process.

More Resources for When You Lose a Loved One

I created the downloadable 77-page My Legacy, My Story workbook to help you record your life story now so your loved ones will have it in the future. It also makes a great gift for your parents or grandparents.

collage of green and navy pages of My Story workbook.

Do you have a song that helped you when you were grieving a loss? I’d like to share as many songs about losing a loved one here because different songs speak to different people’s hearts and experiences. 

Pin these Songs About Losing a Loved One so you can find this comprehensive resources if you ever need it.

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  1. Music touches us in a unique way. It can really help us “feel” our emotions. Losing your parents so close is just a tremendous amount of loss. I know that feeling of wanting to run and tell my Mother things, and I think my girls feel that way with me, which I treasure. So many great songs. Eric Clapton takes me back to my youth (I remember the story behind the song), and I just love that song by Mercy Me. May you be overwhelmed by peace and God’s presence as you continue the grieving process.

    1. Thank you, Seana. Without my faith and my Lord, this would have been a much more difficult journey.

  2. Thank you for such an honest post! I think it will definitely help people who are hurting. I like Eric Clapton’s song, it’s beautiful. I think it had to do with the loss of his child, if I remember right.

    1. I believe you’re right about the Eric Clapton song, Brenda. I’ve found that these creative people can put my jumbled thoughts and feelings so beautifully in a song. And that has been such a help for me.

  3. This helps me every time I get into my depression state of mind when I think about my father leaving me when I was only 7 years old and when my aunt and uncle died 1year apart from the other. It still hurts and I cry every night and want them back ???????? I just don’t know what to do about it

    1. Maria, you’ve had a lot to deal with. In some ways, I don’t know if I’ll ever “get over” the losses. I’ve just found ways to go on. I find that songs and journaling help me process my thoughts and feelings. Please be sure to reach out to someone if you find you need help because we all do sometimes.

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