Music therapy has been around a long time as a healing modality. It sure can be a big help when we need some mood-altering, can’t it?  I’ve leaned on it a lot in the years since Pat has been gone. It even made an entrance in my head as my beloved husband lay in Critical Care during his last few days. Not in the way you might think,  not the soft music that hospice workers suggest.

Nope, almost from the moment, I received that awful phone call, informing me that my husband had a massive stroke, music started playing in my head. Peculiar you say? You should have been the one hearing it!!  Very early on that week, Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” started a loop of music that would not stop. It played in my head very often that first year. I hear it now, sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, or I’m worried about something. You should understand that neither my husband nor I were big fans of Stevie Wonder…before that. I chose to believe that song is my husband’s way of tapping me on the shoulder and saying  “I’m still here, you know, and I’ve still got your back.”

In the early days, in fact, for years, I had a very difficult time getting to sleep. Sleep music and meditative music helped a lot. James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes” from the Mudslide Slim album was a fav. I collected CD’s of sleep music, usually found at the Goodwill or in gift shops.

I found that music was a fairly reliable instrument (pardon the pun) for altering what was going on in my head. It calmed my anxiety or got me revved up for the day and put a smile on my face so that I could go meet the world outside my doorstep. It’s also cheaper than therapy and fairly readily available. I created a couple of playlists on my iPhone of favorite songs that I can have with me anywhere. Want a peek?




  • Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder
  • I’m coming out – Diana Ross
  • Happy – Pharell Williams
  • Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt
  • Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
  • Hold On..I’m Comin’ – Sam and Dave
  • I Can’t Turn You Loose – Otis Redding
  • I Got You (Feel Good) – James Brown
  • Best Day of My Life – American Authors
  • If You Want to Sing Out – Stephen Janetzko
  • Spirit in the Sky – The Kentucky Headliners
  • Waling on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  • Cups ( When I’m Gone Cup Song) – Anna Kendrick
  • Here Comes the Sun – George Harrison
  • Burning Down the House – Bonnie Raitt
  • I Danced in the Morning – Hymn



  • You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor
  • Yesterday – Beatles
  • Amazing Grace, Flute Version – Spa Wind
  • Dreaming of Peaceful Sleep – Deep Sleep Walkers
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
  • Fields of Gold – Eva Cassidy
  • Moonshadow – Cat Stevens
  • Rain Down – Filtered Light
  • The Long and Winding Road – Beatles
  • Blue Cathedral – Symphony by Jennifer Higdon
  • Moon Dance – Van Morrison


  • Come and Go Blues – Gregg Allman
  • Yesterday – Beatles
  • I Believe in You and Me – Levi Stubbs, Four Tops
  • Time to Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman
  • I Know You by Heart – Eva Cassidy
  • In the Arms of an Angel – Sarah MacLaughlin
  • Drowning – Chris Young
  • Crossing Over – Lowen and Navarro
  • Chiseled In Stone – Vern Gosdin
  • Skye Boat Song – Bagpipes
  • The Sounds of Silence – Disturbed



So what’s on your list? What moves you? Country? Opera? Praise Songs? Oldies?  Whatever it is, find a way to keep it close to you. It can turn a bad day around, help you get to sleep or help you release some bottled up feelings. We do have the power to overcome our grief, a little at a time, minute by minute, year by year. And we can use all the tools we can find.

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About the Author

Mary Lee Robinson was widowed suddenly in 2013 and found herself totally unprepared for what was to come. In a new state for a mere 11 months when her husband died, there were few supportive friends or family around. She set about creating some, and started a social club for widows and widowers in her community. Within a year, it had grown to 170 members. That told her quite a lot about an unmet need. She gathered 25 widows and widowers to write a book to share their stories, and the surprises, good and bad, that they all encountered as members of the club nobody wants to join. It is her hope, and that of the other storytellers, that the books help prepare and educate.  Mary Lee lives in the Low Country of South Carolina, caring for her Mom and is a native of Towson, MD, just outside of Baltimore. Her constant companions are her dachshund and rottweiler dogs. Mary Lee Robinson is the author of The Widow or Widower Next Door and 5 of the Grief Diaries series books, all of which are available right here in The Grief Toolbox in her marketplace You can find more of her work on her Widowlution blog, practical tips for healing and living, at and on her Facebook page for widows at The Widow or Widower Next Door.