Grief Jams, Volume 1
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
"You didn't break me.
Didn't stop me.
You didn't kill me, didn't drop me.
I'm coming back stronger.
I'm gonna fight harder."
– Silverberg and Sarah Reeves, “Coming Back Stronger”
At risk of this introduction sounding like my typical 2001 emo AIM away message, I want to let you in on one thing that’s become integral to how I grieve this year: music. I’ve never been much of a musician (read: I have no rhythm), but I’ve always had a knack for remembering lyrics, and an eclectic love for music across genres. This year, music has helped me grieve– big time. In my 20,000 miles traveled by car this year taking solo road trips, I’ve curated a soundtrack for my grief.
When I wanted to remember my mom this year, I put on the Carole King Tapestry album, Mom’s personal soundtrack as she pushed through cancer treatments when I was a little girl.
This year I also made a Dad playlist, full of Phil Collins and the Rolling Stones and every Motown hit you can imagine. Every time I heard a song that reminded me of my dad this year, whether it was on the radio or at a grocery store or a restaurant, I’d stop and add it to that playlist. That little action gave me something to do with my grief when I found myself unexpectedly tearing up in the ketchup aisle because of the song playing over the intercom.
I’ve also curated another playlist that represents a different side of my grief: divorce, babe, divorce. These are the songs that made me cry all over my steering wheel on my road trips, whether they’re decades old or brand-new, that talk about love and loss in relationships. And as I belted them out to the many (MANY) cows I drove by all across America, I found that so many songs I’ve loved for a while just hit differently now that I’m divorced. From the big, explosive ballads that remind me of my anger and hurt, to the slow, tender ones that make me sit in my sadness, these songs have helped me make sense of it all.
I want to share some of my Grief Jams with all of you, in the hopes that they might help someone else make sense of what they’re feeling, too. So: without further ado, here are my leading ladies, their most poignant songs, and the most powerful lyrics that inspired me to get into my divorce feels this year of Grieve Leave.
The songs that get me through my divorce grief:
Hit play: Sorry, Hold Up, Freedom, Break My Soul
"I ain't sorry"
"What's worse, looking jealous or crazy? Jealous or crazy?/Or like, being walked all over lately, walked all over lately/I'd rather be crazy"
“Ima keep running ‘cuz a winner don’t quit on themselves”
“We go up and down, lost and found/Searching for love/Looking for something that lives inside me”
Hit play: Give a Little, Light on, Alaska
Sing it :
"If I was who I was before/Then I’d be waiting at your door/But I cannot confess I am the same"
"But everything kept moving and the noise got too loud/With everyone around me saying 'you should be so happy now'"
"And I am finding out there's just no other way/And I'm still dancing at the end of the day"
"And I walked off you/And I walked off an old me"
"Leave me be, I'm exhaling"
Hit play: Soulmate
Sing it :
"'Cause I'm my own soulmate/I know how to love me/I know that I'm always gonna hold me down”
Stevie Nicks (also, The Chicks)
Hit play: Landslide
"Well I've been afraid of changing/'Cause I've built my life around you/But times make you bolder, even children get older/And I'm getting older too"
Hit play: GIRL
"I don't like myself right now, gotta find a way out/What you feel is natural/But I don't wanna feel this anymore/Pick yourself up off the kitchen floor"
Hit play: Hold On
"I know that there is pain/But you hold on for one more day/And you break free from the chains"
Florence & The Machine
Hit play: Shake it out
"And I am done with my graceless heart/So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart"
"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back (shake him off)/And given half the chance would I take any of it back? (shake him off)/It's a fine romance, but it's left me so undone (shake him off)/It's always darkest before the dawn (shake him off)"
Silverberg & Sarah Reeves
Hit play: Coming Back Stronger
"You didn't break me/Didn't stop me/You didn't kill me/didn't drop me"
"I'm coming back stronger/I'm gonna fight harder"
Hit play: Break Free
“This is the part when I say I don't want ya/I'm stronger than I've been before/This is the part when I break free”
Hit play: Stronger
All together now: “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger/Stand a little taller/Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone/What doesn't kill you makes a fighter/Footsteps even lighter/Doesn't mean I'm over 'cause you're gone”
And, last but not least, the Divorce Babe, herself:
Hit play: Easy On Me, Cry Your Heart Out, I Drink Wine, Hold On, To Be Loved
"Go easy on me, baby/I was still a child/Didn't get the chance to/Feel the world around me"
"You can't deny how hard I have tried/I changed who I was to put you both first/But now I give up"
"When I walk in a room I'm invisible, I feel like a ghost/All my friends keep on telling me that this feeling won't last"
"How come we've both become a version/Of a person we don't even like?"
“Just hold on, let time be patient/You are still strong, let pain be gracious”
“Sometimes loneliness is the only rest we get”
“It’s about time that I face myself/All I do is bleed into someone else”
Basically, everything and anything that comes out of Adele’s mouth…
Adele made me feel like I wasn’t a failure for getting divorced. She, with her platform and power, recorded an entire album, 30, about her divorce. She reclaimed her identity through her art, while grieving loudly and unapologetically. I love that album.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it turns out that I’m headed to Las Vegas this weekend, with some of my closest girlfriends, to sing at the top of my lungs while we watch Adele in concert…and I celebrate being a Divorced Babe.
👀Follow along on my Instagram stories for more…
Sing on. Grieve on.
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