If you’re still trying to emotionally process the loss of your mother, then hopefully this list of songs about losing your mom will serve as some help. After you get through this list, be sure to add a couple of these songs to your playlist so you can hear back the lyrics whenever you need an emotional and spiritually lift.
My Love, My Life From Mamma Mia 2
My Love, My Life is about a mother’s dedication and absolute love for her daughter. Even when circumstances were less than ideal, the love for her child strengthened her resolve to overcome whatever was thrown her way.
Sweet lyrics such as, “I held you close to me, felt your heart beat and I thought: I am free,” echo this sentiment. If you’ve seen Mamma Mia 2, Donna’s spirit appears to Sophie as a reminder that she’s not alone. It shows that no matter where or how the relationship ends, your mother’s spirit and love is never far away. As they say in the song, “In the now and beyond, nothing and no one can break this bond.”
I was torn between including this or Slipping Through My Fingers, which I played at my own mom’s funeral. Played in the first Mamma Mia movie, Slipping Through My Fingers talks about how quickly life goes by, but when it comes to songs that can help you cry and expel those emotions, My Love, My Life was the top contender. This song was altered to fit into the context of the film. Because of this, I recommend listening to this version as opposed to the original Abba hit.
Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
Did you know that Wind Beneath My Wings was originally written as a love song?
I guess in many ways it still is, especially when referencing the gratitude a child has for their mother after she passes away. Moms play an integral role in shaping us into who we are, and that’s what this song is about.
Whether it’s shaping them into who they are, standing by them when times were tough, or encouraging them to chase their dreams, the subject of this song is no doubt a hero.
Though this song can be universally used and applied to a host of different relationships, it’s a beautiful song to dedicate to your mother, especially if you never got a chance to tell her all the things you wanted to say before she passed.
My mom dedicated this song to her dad when he passed, and I dedicated it to her when I lost her. He was her hero, and she was – and will always remain – mine.
Let it Be by the Beatles
Though many people thought that this Beatles hit was inspired by biblical figure, Mary, Paul McCartney wrote the song about his mom after she passed away while he was a teenager. Or so we think…but more on that later.
If you’ve never heard Let it Be before, it’s a simple song that serves as a reminder that, no matter what is going on in life, sometimes you have to just accept it, or as the song says, let it be. Simply put, while it may be sad, death is a reality that can’t be changed.
Now back to the controversy. According to popular lore, McCartney claims that he was inspired to write Let it Be after his late mom, who died from cancer, came to him in a dream and told him to “let it be.” This is evident in the lyric, “Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be…”
However, Mal Evans, an assistant to the Beatles, claims the original lyrics to the song were supposed to be Brother Malcolm, as opposed to Mother Mary. Either way, it’s a beautiful song to help you make peace with what happened.
Before my mom eventually succumbed to her seven-year battle with breast cancer, I used to listen to this song as a way to help me mentally cope with what I knew would soon be an inevitability. Granted, it didn’t make the pain hurt any less, but it made me feel better about a situation I couldn’t control.
Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran
The first few days after your mother dies are strange, and that’s what this song is about. Supermarket Flowers talks about pouring out the day-old tea from the cup, taking down get well cards, and folding the clothes back into the drawer even though they’ll never be worn again.
After facing the bitter reality of these mundane tasks that now seem insurmountable and surreal, Sheeran breaks the hearts of sons and daughters everywhere when he sings, “You were an angel in the shape of my mum.” I know mine did.
I first heard this song at my bridal fitting and it broke me to pieces. But soon after, it became one of my favorite songs to listen to when I was feeling down.
I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
What’s better than getting much needed advice and words of encouragement from your mom? Once you lose her, you may think it’s over, but there are plenty of songs out there that work as a viable substitute—and this is one of them.
In this song, Lee Ann Womack is telling her children that she hopes that they never stop feeling humble or fearless to tackle anything life throws at them. And, that no matter what, they don’t let their life slip by when the moments present themselves.
She sings words of wisdom with lines such as, “Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’. Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’. Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter.”
It’s a mother’s advice for her children to continue living their life, even when some moments may leave them hopeless. After the loss of a mom, this is a reminder children need to keep going. No matter what, life is worth living. Even if your heart is broken.
Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) by Celine Dion
“It’ll break my heart to hear you say, ‘goodbye.” That’s just one of the powerful lyrics you’ll hear in Celine Dion’s song Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word).
This song is about the Celine’s sadness over one day having to say goodbye to her mother and how much it’ll hurt. Lyrics such as “Someday you’ll say that word, and I will cry,” confirm this.
Throughout the song, Dion acknowledges just how grateful she is to her mother for giving her life and raising her, while also being appreciative of the unconditional love she was fortunate enough to receive. It’s all of these things, though, that make it so hard for her to think about saying goodbye to her mother.
If you’re looking for songs that acknowledge the beautiful bond a mother and daughter (or son) share, this is one you can’t overlook. It’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful, especially at the end when Dion talks about meeting up again with her mom one day.
See You Again by Wiz Khalifa f/Charlie Puth
Though this song talks about brotherhood, it’s fitting for the loss of a mother as well, thanks to lyrics such as, “so let the light guide your way, yeah, hold every memory as you go,” and “…I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again.”
The meaning behind this song is simple: someone died and the loved one left behind is chronicling all the things they’ll tell them when they eventually meet up again in the afterlife. More importantly, it talks about how, even though the person is gone, they’re still guiding the ones they left behind.
Though the song was commissioned for the film Furious 7 as a way to remember former actor Paul Walker, the meaning behind this song is one everyone can understand on a personal level. So whether you lost your mom, another family member or friend, or even suffered the loss of a dog, this song captures what it’s like to continue longing for a loved one—and the continued hope that you’ll see their face agains someday.
Radios in Heaven by Plain White T’s
This is such a simple, beautiful song that talks about what it’s like to miss the opportunity to say goodbye to your loved one before they pass away: “You left before I had a chance to say goodbye, but that’s the way life usually is, it just passes you by.”
The song goes on to describe the singer’s curiosity over whether their loved one can hear them (aka, wishing there were radios in Heaven).
I really related to this song because unlike my dad, I wasn’t present for my mom’s passing. Instead, I found out she died while driving on the highway. Unfortunately, not everyone gets the chance to say their goodbyes, and it can leave you with feelings of regret and worst of all, guilt. But this song serves as a reminder that you don’t have to feel that way. After all, sometimes, that’s just the way life is.
Radios in Heaven is an underrated song, as is the band Plain White T’s, but if you never got a chance to say goodbye to your mom before she passed, this song can offer a lot of catharsis. If anything, it can serve as a reminder that what you experienced is okay.
This Song is for My Mother by Catman Cohen
Like the title of this ballad, this song is for anyone who regrets not doing more or being there for their mother during their battle with an illness. This song is powerful and will make you cry with lyrics such as, “I broke my promises, oh mama, now you’ve gone away. I’m broken, drowning in the pain each day.”
At its core, the song talks about all the ways Cohen wishes things could’ve been done differently and that if they could go back and change things, they would. And, man oh man, if that doesn’t hit the nail on the head for so many of us who have lost our mothers.
While this song can be enjoyed by anyone, those who have estranged relationships with their mom or who took on the role of caretaker can relate to it most, especially because caretaking so often leads to resentment.
I was a caretaker for my dad for three years, and while I wasn’t for my mom, I remember how much resentment and anger I built up while taking care of him. Yet, there I was at his funeral, bowed over the podium reciting his eulogy, all the while thinking about all the ways I could have been better for him. I told him I’d help get him better, but he passed anyway.
That’s why lyrics such as, “songs about old promises made so long ago” hit so hard because it’s like, wow, this was my life. This is how I feel about this. Losing your mom to a long illness often leaves you feeling helpless. After they’ve gone, it’s easy to think about all the things you would have done differently now that you realize what was waiting for you on the other end.
If I Could Be Where You Are by Enya
If there was a way to reach your loved one, would you take it? On this song, Enya absolutely would, as she searches through her lyrics to find out if there’s a sign or road she should know about or follow that can lead her back to the one she lost.
But instead of finding a map to where they are or a simple way to reach them, she instead has to rely on seeing her loved one in her dreams.
Looking for signs that your mom is still around you is common after she passes. My mom died on February 28th, so every time I look at my clock and see that it reads 2:28, I wonder if it’s a sign from her.
I’ve prayed for signs in the form of lights turning on or off, or visits in my dreams the night before my birthday. I’ve interpreted red robins and bluejays and white butterflies as signs of her presence. Even when a song comes on that she liked, I take it as a sign that she’s around, as well.
If I Could Be Where You Are says what we all wish: that Heaven, or whatever you may believe in, isn’t so far away. And that if it were possible, we’d give anything just to see or talk to our moms one last time.
Monsoon by Amber Mark
A lot of times, as fans that love music, we tend to gloss over EPs (Extended Play) made by talented artists. We tend to think, “oh, that’s just a small collection of songs,” or “that’s cool and all—but I’ll wait for the full album.”
But when we do that, we potentially miss out on some very impressive musical gems. And make no mistake—Amber Mark’s 3:33am EP is a gem. If you’re saddened by the death of your mother, and you need some help to process this grief, I almost feel like this EP is required listening.
On the track Monsoon, which references the very wet weather in India where Amber grew up (and certainly serves as a metaphor for her endless crying), Amber sings of being by her mother’s side during her dying days—and how she continues to process the grief of her mom’s passing.
It’s also pretty evident from the lyrics that Amber is not just sad—but mad. Mad at herself. Although not explicitly stated, it can certainly be inferred that Amber’s mother was suffering from some kind of ailment—but perhaps didn’t want to get checked out or examined for it when certain symptoms initially bubbled to the surface. And, as the lyrics indicate, Amber is tormented at the thought that she didn’t force her mother to go to the doctor in order investigate the problem.
Look at you in bed, you’re hardly breathin’
I knew it was gonna end this way
I said it all the time, but you said that you were fine
And now you wonder why, and why you
I tried my best to make you check it out, huh?
I cried so much it burnt my eyes, I begged every day
But all the stubborn things you do
I must’ve gotten that from you
Now there’s nothing they can do, and why you?
I wished that there was somethin’ I’d done more of
Knocked you out and dragged you there myself
Maybe then you’d be here, you’d be here
Amber Mark’s 3:33am is a masterwork production that’s beyond honest in its delivery and storytelling. When you press “play” on this EP, you feel a bit like a therapist that’s hearing a client pour her heart out onto the table.
But for anyone that’s gone through—or is going through—the loss of a mother, this is an EP that not only hits on emotions like sadness, anger, and depression, but eventually emerges incredibly hopeful with its triumphant final song Way Back.
Socrates once said that “death may be the greatest of all human blessings,” and in some ways, I think he’s right. The loss of your mother is probably one of the hardest deaths you’ll ever encounter in your life because they’ve been your constant since the very beginning – and that’s what the blessing is.
Death teaches us to pause and step back and analyze the relationships we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned. It forces us to think back to the good memories even if we’ve been living with the bad ones.
The reason why we fear death so much is that we know nothing about it until we experience it ourselves – and that can make this journey even sadder and more complex for those of us left behind. But the heart of Socrates’s statement, though, is that we shouldn’t be afraid of death. More importantly, we shouldn’t be afraid of what lies next simply because we don’t have all the answers upfront.
So many of the songs about losing your mother listed here and the ones you’ll discover on your own talk about the realities of death and the fear we hold about moving on without them.
But if we take any lesson from these songs and the unconditional love our mothers held for us, it’s a stark reminder that despite the fear, our lives are always worth pursuing because even when it’s dark, she’s the light that makes growing up and moving forward possible.
The article was written by Courtney, with a select addition by Michael (Amber Mark’s Monsoon).
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