Musical Emotions

It’s been over 11 years since I’ve heard this song for the first time.  It was about a year after losing my daughter Katie.  It was also 8 months prior to losing my son Noah.  I remember my wife and I sitting in the living room watching TV and this song came on in a video.  The opening lyrics are:

“Sunny days seem to hurt the most.  I wear my pain like a heavy coat.”

Although we didn’t know what the song was about, we both looked at each other with tears flowing down our cheeks.  Although it had been a year since our loss, I was still trying to avoid the pain by not dealing with it.  If you read my book Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Music lyrics have a way of speaking to me in ways that often trigger emotions from happiness to sadness and everything in between.  I often listen to music when I work at the office or just around the house.  It’s not uncommon for my wife and I to turn on music at home and just enjoy a couple of cocktails while talking about life.

Today was one of those days were I was sitting at my desk and Spotify was playing random music and this song came on.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and just listened.  It took me back to the moment I first heard this song and the emotions it triggered.

The song is called “Who You’d Be Today” by Kenny Chesney.  I often wonder who Katie and Noah would have been.  What their personalities would have been like.  The type of people they would have become.  Questions that are to difficult to answer because its impossible to know.  However, I believe they are kind loving souls that will live with me until I die.  Providing me guidance and perspective.

If you do not know this song or are interested in hearing it, click here to watch a video.

Let me know your thoughts on the song and how music impacts you.




Photo Credit: ugo.ciliberto Flickr via Compfight cc

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User Comments ( 18 )

  • Jojo Rodil

    I’ve heard this song sometime ago, too. And every time I hear this, I cry.


  • John O'Malley

    Thanks for sharing all these songs guys. All beautiful yetall sohainting. Many of them mean something completely different than they perhaps did before we lost our precious kids.

  • Matthew Miller

    What a beautiful song. We lost our son Aiden this past February at 6 years old. I really needed to hear this song tonight. Halloween was one of his favorite days.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Ray

      I feel for you Matt. You’re not alone. Many of us walking this path. A book called “Streams in the Desert” helps me every day in making sense of my loss. Hoping your son and mine are having a nice Halloween wherever they are. The pain is the measure of how much we love them. Very best to you and yours.

    • As terrible as it sounds, we didn’t even do Halloween this year, I find it hard to see all of the cute kids coming to the door. Kids that would have been my kids ages 10 and 11. Since our children were so young, I don’t even have memories of taking them out or helping them pick out a costume. Its hard. However, I did take our little dog for a walk before it got dark so I can see all the cute little rascals running around have a blast.

  • Kirby white

    Music makes TREMENDOUS impact on my thoughts of our daughter’s life. She actually burned a cd for each me and my wife, with specific songs for us, but BOTH CDS open with “YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND” by Queen.

    • Love it. What a great gift she gave you. A wonderful way to escape and spend time with her. They meant something to her, a connection in someway.



  • John O'Malley

    Have listened to this one before, and cried like a baby. All we can do is wonder now…..

    • John – There are several triggers for me. Music can certainly be one of them. It can bring me up or down depending on the song. Its more the lyrics that get me. The one below is from another song but I think it captures me today as a survivor. There are times now where I’ll grab a beer and sit on my patio and look back at my life that’s gone sideways. The guy in the mirror is me, but it doesn’t look like the old me, there is a crack. The song is called Confession and I believe what I did with my book was just that, a confession of my thoughts, fears and experiences that I had been keeping to myself. I finally had to confess to those secrets I was keeping bottled up. Peace.

      I light up the night and let it burn
      Lean back and watch the sundown fade
      Do what I do when life’s a little sideways
      I take a sip and say a prayer
      Wait for a shooting star and stare
      Off at the headlights on the highway
      That guy in the windshield looking back looks just like me
      But there’s a crack in the reflection
      This is just a moonlight soaked, ring of smoke
      Right hand on a cold one confession

  • Kirk Lee

    I will be performing this song at our Compassionate Friends candle light service in December. I’ve also done Gone too soon by Daughtry and and Homesick by Mercy Me. Funny thing is once I do the song I don’t seem to want to do it again. I think it’s an emotional release for losing Ashlyn. Music is very powerful

    • Kirk – Homesick was one that really stuck to me as well. Another song that really takes me back to that deep dark despair is the one below. It was a really popular song back in 2006/2007. It paints a picture of me and my wife laying together and holding hands afraid one of us would let go. I don’t like to listen to it because it doesn’t remind me of my children, but it does takes me back to the darkness of the aftermath.

      “Chasing Cars”

      We’ll do it all
      On our own

      We don’t need
      Or anyone

      If I lay here
      If I just lay here
      Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

      I don’t quite know
      How to say
      How I feel

      Those three words
      Are said too much
      They’re not enough

      If I lay here
      If I just lay here
      Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

      Forget what we’re told
      Before we get too old
      Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

      Let’s waste time
      Chasing cars
      Around our heads

      I need your grace
      To remind me
      To find my own

      If I lay here
      If I just lay here
      Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

      Forget what we’re told
      Before we get too old
      Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

      All that I am
      All that I ever was
      Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

      I don’t know where
      Confused about how as well
      Just know that these things will never change for us at all

      If I lay here
      If I just lay here
      Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

  • I wrote a long post about this very topic several months ago. Music has always been a huge part of my life, I play several instruments, and when Jake was a child, would play for him every night as part of our bedtime ritual. Since his death, I haven’t been able to pick up an instrument. I can barely sing without bursting into tears, and there are several songs that bring all those emotions right to the surface. Music is one of the things Jake took with him, and I am waiting for the time when It will return. One of the unexpected tragedies.

    • edcol52 – It will return and it will be something that will always connect you to your son. When you do, you’ll cry like a baby but in time, it will be your way of spending time with Jake. I am confident he will return it to you in time.



  • Ray

    My 26-year-old son Max would have turned 30 this year. He died in Nashville and for the first 3 years I could not bear the sound of country music, which I had always enjoyed. Recently I broke out some old favorites — most notably George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, which has a special meaning for me on many levels. One of them is that George died the same weekend as my son, who was a journalist and tweeted news of George’s death that Friday night. I wrote back telling Max, “Good work on the scoop. You’re a great journalist.” He wrote back, “Thanks. Have a good night.” Those were his last words to me; on Sunday I got news he was gone. I’ll listen to your song, Kelly, but it will have to be — in the words of another old country song — “When I Can Gain Control Again.” Thanks.

    • Ray – Thanks for sharing your story. I can see why it would be hard for your to listen to this song given the strong connection to your son. Don’t push yourself, its not that important to listen to it. It just stopped me in my tracks yesterday when it came on because it took me right back to a moment in time. Wishing you peace my friend!


  • Joe Gadomski

    Hi Kelly

    I have heard that song, as well, and gave saved it. The other song that I have is “A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri. I will look at s picture of my daughter, Caitrin, and will cry and yell.

    I would look at a picture of her with her hair starting to grow and wearing a black outfit. I called her Joan of Arc.

    I lost my job in February 2015, and returned my work phone. I added them fit the pictures on the phone, and they said there was nothing. The picture I would look at was on the phone. A year later, and after hiking a law suit, I reviewed most of the pictures of my kids.

    Joe Sent from my iPhone


  • Chris

    “Who You’d Be Today” was one of the songs we chose for our 2015 Candle Lighting. It’s a beautiful song and I recognized where the words came from as soon as I read them. We all wonder who our kids would be today, don’t we? My son Zack died in 2006 at age 22. It’s hard to believe he would be 32 now. As I think about where his friends are in life, I’m sure he’d be married to a lovely girl, they’d be raising a family, and he’d have begun his successful career. Like my other 3 kids, I’m sure he’d be actively involved in his church and community… and sports for the kids. His future is mine to create and cherish.

    • Hi Chris – Sounds like you know this song well. I struggle with imagining who they would be today, but in a weird sort of way, when I do picture them today, it makes me smile. I see myself giving them a hug or guiding them in life and it gives me this sense of peace and loneliness.