My favorite grief song

June 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm 35 comments

I never knew I’d have grief songs, but I do. There’s actually a bunch of them, some of them having nothing to do with grief on the surface.

But since music is one of my love languages, it only makes sense that the most visceral experiences and emotions would mingle with music, something that can be so inexplicable and visceral in how it affects us.

Back in October, I went to see Sandra McCracken in concert. I had always loved her, but after this particular night it was cemented. She played a song called “The Tie That Binds,” written for a friend whose daughter had battled multiple infections of her brain after she was diagnosed with leukemia. The infections caused devastating amounts of tissue death and she’ll never fully recover. This all occurred before her 1st birthday.

The strange thing about it was, I knew the family who the song was written for. As soon as she sang the name “Amelia” I knew it was for a gal I knew in college when I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska for a summer. Her daughter is Amelia.

Enjoy the song, and remember your grieving friend. Pray for him or her. Cry tears for their loss. Bind yourself to them through brokenhearted love.

The Tie That Binds by Sandra McCracken

The sorrow of a friend
From a long way we stand
Grief is second hand
But I’ll send my tears in a locket

Amelia smiles under lights & wires
Thorns for every flower
We number every hour
And live the days we are given

Oh, the pain
It makes you feel alive
Oh, the broken heart is the tie that binds
And I pray to God, these things will be made right

When the morning shines
On tear stained eyes
Oh we shall overcome
The Father gave the Son
To break the curse we are under

Oh the pain that no man can escape
Oh the sting of death, the empty grave,
And I pray to God where comfort has no place

When our tired eyes look through the veil
The colors are so pale but we raise high the sail
And call the winds to carry us home
Call the winds to carry us home.


Entry filed under: Grief.

I’m 30… finally. Grief Resources Over at Family Life

35 Comments Add your own

  • 2. Megan  |  June 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I know Amelia too. We went to church together during that time. Sweet sweet family and sweet sweet baby girl.

  • 3. Sarah  |  June 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm


  • 4. MrsMK  |  June 7, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Grief songs. How hard to have them, but they help in ways other words can’t.

  • 5. Tara  |  June 7, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I’m currently reading this from Lincoln, Nebraska…getting ready to move away in a few weeks, actually – it made me happy that you lived here for a summer. 🙂

  • 6. Kathy  |  June 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I too know of the family through mutual friends. I also grew up in Lincoln. I had no idea this song was about that precious one.

    The one that’s been ministering to me lately is by Jill Phillips “Resurrection”

  • 7. Jake Meador  |  June 8, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I’m another Lincolnite reader :). For those interested, Amelia’s dad is now the campus pastor with RUF at the University of Nebraska. He’s a good pastor and a close friend to many of us here and we love having their whole family in Lincoln. (And I had no idea that this song was written for them, thanks for posting Molly!)

  • 8. Dina  |  June 8, 2009 at 11:03 am

    What I thought I wanted by Sara Groves is a song that I listened to frequently after Hannah was born. I would stand in the kitchen crying playing it over and over. It was like a prayer of what I hoped I would be again someday. I still listen to it and it healing for me.–2120116

  • 9. Shannalee  |  June 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I love that you are open in talking about grief; it is very real and genuine, and I find that very comforting. I sent another recent post of yours—I think it was on Mother’s Day?—to my dear friend who lost her son at his birth, and she felt the same comfort. So thanks.

  • 10. jennapants  |  June 8, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    yes, yes, yes. i love this song. i’m grateful for this song.

  • 11. Kim Carolan  |  June 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Totally cool … thanks for sharing!

  • 12. Debby  |  June 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    That is beautiful. Grief with hope. Thank you for sharing it, Molly.

  • 13. Matt  |  June 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    This is really nice. Thanks for posting it.

    With words: (Derek Webb, “This Too Shall Be Made Right”)
    Without: (Gary Remal Malkin, “Settlers’ Waltz”)

  • 14. Kara Chupp  |  June 8, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    When Selah died these were ours…don’t know that they fit the category exactly, but you never know what will help you wring out your soul…..

    “Grace” — Phil Wickham
    “I Will Lift My Eyes” –Bebo Norman

  • 15. Top Posts «  |  June 8, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    […] My favorite grief song I never knew I’d have grief songs, but I do. There’s actually a bunch of them, some of them having nothing […] […]

  • 16. Amanda  |  June 8, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful song. I have several that speak to me as well and most of them come from our worship service at church. I still struggle with some of the words though. This past Sunday I was singing and one of the lines was “you perform miracles so great” and it can sometimes still make me question why my Gavin couldn’t have been one of those miiracles. My faith is still a struggle at times which just makes me feel weak.

    Thank you again for sharing, I am going to add it to my IPod.


  • 17. Amanda  |  June 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I actually had to comment again because Nicol Sponberg’s “Resurrection” has really helped me as I have worked through my grief and tried to find myself again. Just had to share.


  • 18. thepenks  |  June 8, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    btw, your baby is very cute…. what his name?

  • 19. Jan  |  June 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Molly, thanks for writing out the words for those of us currently experiencing very slow internet connections. I am so encouraged that you continue to process and grieve your loss. Don’t stop. I’m sorry I didn’t get to say good-bye.

    Please consider a visit here!

  • 20. It Sneaks Up On You « Motherhood Out Loud  |  June 9, 2009 at 10:32 am

    […] Comments I was just catching up on some blog reading and came across a post from The Pipers called “My Favorite Grief Song”. As I read it and listened to the song by Sandra McCracken, I sat and cried. I have heard the song […]

  • 21. Ebe  |  June 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Beautiful. I love it…
    thanks for sharing.

    I can’t wait. I just can’t wait. Praise God we can go home!!

  • 22. Kelly  |  June 10, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I too love this song…Sandra is so wonderful with the way she puts experience and emotion into words.

    I just wanted to mention that you can download it for free from NoiseTrade right now (it’s on the sampler from her new LIVE album: “Live Under Lights and Wires”)

  • 23. WhiteStone  |  June 11, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Wow! That made me cry!
    Tears. Grief. They are part of this life and it is through tears that we can express the depth of it all. Then, when the tears dry, we pick ourselves up and go forward with life. Along with tears and grief, life brings joy…Joy in Christ and in the life that He promises. Bless you.

  • 24. amandaginn  |  June 11, 2009 at 9:29 am

    This week it’s Jonny Lang’s “Only a Man”.

    Here’s an unofficial video, just so you can get the complete audio:

  • 25. What’s your favorite song for sadness? - 22 Words  |  June 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

    […] Molly writes about her favorite “grief song.” […]

  • 26. lindataway  |  June 15, 2009 at 7:02 am

    In bad feeling.. we get strongly from God to . There God shows his power and love for us…….

    A lovely song….. Greeting from Indonesia.

  • 27. lindataway  |  June 15, 2009 at 7:08 am

    A lovely song……

    In bad feeling…a lovely .song make us strongly dan feel God always give us his power and love

    Greting from Indonesia.

  • 28. lb  |  June 16, 2009 at 7:59 am

    that song has carried me to the cross many times over… thanks for posting.

  • 29. davidlivingston  |  June 25, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Thank you Molly. I am sitting watching the sun rise on the Rocky Mountains right now. How the pain of sickness and death can be so strong that it is hard to look up and see the majesty. These kinds of personal words, books to read, how the WORD has broken thru, and songs to hear help us all to work thru the pain and see hope. You are dear to us and we thank God for you and your family. Karin Livingston

  • 30. davidlivingston  |  June 25, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Another thought Molly……I bet someday you will write your song(s) of life , pain and God! Perhaps even you can get Abe to join you?


  • 31. Laurie Lynn  |  June 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “Oh, the pain
    It makes you feel alive
    Oh, the broken heart is the tie that binds
    And I pray to God, these things will be made right”

    Ummm. How true and how paradoxical, but something about the grief and pain (the greatest ever) that was shared and exchanged between the Godhead when Christ’s death on a cruel cross became the ransom for our sin makes our griefs and sorrows bearable as we fly to Him.

    Bless you,


  • 32. ramil  |  July 8, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Hi! Very fitting song!
    Can I use it for my friend please? She just lose her father last weekend. It was all too sudden for her family.

  • 33. becky  |  July 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you. That’s a beautiful song. I found your blog via twentytwowords, which i found via DesiringGod. Anyway, it’s always nice to find new interesting blogs, even when i don’t know the people personally. Becky

  • 34. Sherri  |  July 21, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Although I do not know the family this song is written about, I live in Lincoln, and have for several years. My husband and I had a stillborn daughter, on Mother’s Day this year. She was our third child, and only girl. We named her Amelia Grace. Needless to say this hit pretty close to home. Thank you for sharing the song.

  • 35. Jared  |  August 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    “where comfort has no place.”



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