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10 Cathartic Songs About Loss

Loss is something every human must experience at some point in their lives. As much as we wish it, humans and animals cannot live forever. That is why it is so important to cherish the time you have with those that you love. While people cannot live forever, grief can affect us all our lives. It could be years since you’ve lost someone, and a memory will pop up that makes you miss that person in such a deep, emotional way, feeling like you’ve lost them all over again.  

Look, I’m not here to depress readers. I think grief, while painful, can be cathartic as well. Our memories of those we lost can also bring us joy, change how we live our lives going forward. When you need catharsis, something to help you feel you aren’t alone, music can be a great outlet to work through dark moments of grief. Music is a universal language, but so are the many emotions we feel as humans, including loss. For those who are looking for songs that will make them feel understood after losing someone, or maybe you just want to sit in your feelings and allow yourself space to cry, I’ve put together a list of songs about loss. I wanted to create a different list than what might already be out there, beyond the popular tracks, so I hope in hearing these songs, you may also find a new artist to check out. 


“3.17.16” – Secrets 

This emotional song from Secrets has a date as the title – the date the singer Richard Rogers lost his sister. To add insult to injury, it’s also his birthday. The opening line, “I need some assistance, but you’re a graveyard away so you can’t help me fix this” immediately punches you in the gut. This song would be especially cathartic if you’re looking for a song about missing a chance to say goodbye to someone you loved before they passed away.  

Other standout lyrics... 

  • “You left this life too fast. I never said goodbye. Now I’m stuck with your ghost.” 

  • “Wish I could tell you how much I miss you but I guess God’s receptionist lost my messages.” 


“Song for Isabelle” – Pierce the Veil 

Pierce the Veil is a band that has never shied away from difficult topics, one of them being suicide. A lot of fans of their music have cited the band’s songs as something that “saved them.” Mental health struggles are not something that can willed away, but there are ways to help from getting to those low points. Unfortunately, some people reach those low points and see no other way out. “Song for Isabelle” was written about a person the band knew and hung out with on tour. The band’s singer Vic Fuentes said about the girl, “She told me she wouldn’t be here in a year. She thought she would end her life because she couldn’t take what was going on out there. It blew my mind. Here was this pretty girl who seemed to be fine, but she had all of these internal struggles going on that she just couldn’t handle” (Source). Thankfully, at the time of writing the song, the girl who inspired the track seems to be alive, but her struggles are something a lot of people can relate to. This song may not be about a permanent loss, but it will resonate with anyone who has lost someone to suicide.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “She looks up to me and whispers, ‘I won’t be here in a year.’” 

  • “The envy of the dead, the sound of scissors and sleep.” 


“Brother” – Falling in Reverse 

This devastating track is about the singer Ronnie Radke’s brother who died in a motorcycle crash. A few minutes before the crash, his brother called him, but he missed it. It’s clear from the lyrics that Radke had a lot of regrets of how his relationship was with his brother, and with him gone, he can never change those things. If you’re looking for a song that will encapsulate your complicated feelings of losing a family member, “Brother” is for you. This is also guaranteed to get to make you cry, so if you need a good cry, look no further than “Brother.” The pain in Radke’s voice will cut you to the core. 

Notable lyrics... 

  • “I asked the Lord for us to swap. I beg and plead ‘cause you have kids to feed.” 

  • “I took for granted family. And once they’re gone, you’ll never get that back.” 


“Chlorine” – Trophy Eyes 

I still remember the first time I heard “Chlorine” – the way it made me stop everything and soak inside the lyrics. It’s a compelling but devastating story of the singer realizing that the man who saved him from drowning as a kid has committed suicide in the present. In learning the news, he looks back on that moment and is grateful for the time he knew this man, even if they were just friends of friends. If you’ve lost someone to suicide and the Pierce the Veil song didn’t quite resonate, “Chlorine” definitely will. Every lyric in this is so beautifully devastating. 

Notable lyrics... 

  • “Tell me why I didn’t die in that swimming pool? When you saved my life, did you know that you would take your own?” 

  • “Every breath in was something I owed you.” 

  • “You didn’t fix it, you just ended it.” 

“K.F.” – The Word Alive 

Any fellow metalcore fans reading this? Anyone who’s been a fan of metalcore for the last 10 years will have heard of We Came as Romans. In 2018, their singer Kyle Pavone died of an accidental overdose at the age of 28. His death rocked the scene, especially other bands who had befriend and toured with Pavone over the years. One of those bands was The Word Alive, so singer Telle Smith wrote a song dedicated to Kyle Pavone, with the title “K.F.” standing for Kyle Forever. Addiction is a nasty beast that many have been affected by in some way. If you’ve lost someone to addiction, this track focuses on how much the person who died is missed instead on the addiction itself.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “We’re trying our hardest, but the saddest part is how much you are loved.” 

  • “There’re things that death can’t touch. You’re alive in us.” 


“Slipped Away” – Avril Lavigne 

This Avril Lavigne track will hit close to home if you’ve ever lost a grandparent you’re close with. Lavigne wrote this song after the passing of her grandfather. “Slipped Away” is about not getting closure or a chance to say goodbye to someone. Death is a permanent thing that cannot be taken back, and this song is all about coming to terms with that hard truth. As someone who has lost a grandparent just a year ago, this song is a nice comfort to throw on when I miss them.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “I’ve had my wake up, won’t you wake up? I keep asking why.” 

  • “The day you slipped away was the day I found out it won’t be the same.” 


“Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day 

Because of how much this song has been turned into a meme – to wake up Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong at the end of September, the song’s true meaning got lost. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is actually a song about Armstrong losing his father. The song’s title is a reference to the grief Armstrong feels every September, knowing the anniversary of his father’s death is coming. This is something anyone who has experienced loss can relate to. If you need some catharsis during the month of your loved one’s passing, let this Green Day song wash over you. 

Notable lyrics... 

  • “Like my father’s come to pass, seven years have gone so fast. Wake me up when September ends.” 

  • “As my memory rests but never forgets what I lost” 


“Ashes” – Celine Dion 

A heart-wrenching track about loss, “Ashes” is about accepting that you can hope and pray for someone to be okay and still lose them in the end. It can be frustrating when nothing helps someone you love who’s sick. How do you move on when the loss of someone throws your world up in flames? Can you rebuild from the ashes? While this is a sad song, it’s also hopeful with Dion hoping beauty can come out of the ashes.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “Can you use these tears to put out the fires in my soul?” 

  • “What’s left to say? These prayers ain’t working anymore.” 


“Move Along” – All American Rejects 

This is one of the more positive songs on this list. “Move Along” was written as an “anti-suicide” message according to the band. So it’s both encouraging people who are going through a hard time to keep going and reminding those who are struggling with grief to keep moving forward even when it’s hard to stand. When all you have is yourself, you have to dig into that strength and keep going. I think this is a powerful cathartic lesson if you need some positivity after a loss.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along.” 

  • “Even when your hope is gone, move along.” 


“R.I.P. Bon” – The Amity Affliction 

“RIP Bon” captures the devastation of feeling left behind by someone who has died. The Amity Affliction write songs about the struggles of depression, and “RIP Bon” talks about the guilt felt not knowing a friend was suffering to the point of taking their life. The lyrics tell a story of a person who was suffering in silence despite having a friendship with the band’s singer where they “used to meet, to share in our pain and decry misery.” Yet, they didn’t share how bad it was for them. This is something a lot of people can relate to, that feeling of guilt that there was something they could have done had they known. This is a cathartic one if you’ve ever felt helpless after losing someone close to you.  

Notable lyrics... 

  • “I just wish that you spoke up, and held out your hand. Because you know I was there, man, you know that I cared” 

  • “To know you were grieving with each passing day... And I know most of all you did not want to stay.” 



Loss may be something we all have to go through, but we can take comfort in knowing that we don’t have to endure it alone. Someone out there will understand. There are support groups, friends, and family who can help us live with our grief. If you need support right now, consider visiting . They offer in-person, online support, and resources to find help locally. Music can bring catharsis, but so can talking to someone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Thank you for reading. 


Special thanks to the following source for helping me gather select information for this post. 

Written by Kristen Petronio

1 comment


lekor adams
lekor adams

As someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction, these songs resonated deeply, especially during my recovery. I remember feeling hopeful when I saw signs your liver is healing from alcohol it was a physical testament to my progress. Music became a companion on my journey, helping me process emotions and stay motivated. It’s incredible how these songs can offer solace and strength when navigating the tough path of recovery and healing.

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