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BTAM 8GR8 Songs #5

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Music to Grieve to

Picture: Angela Delaney, music therapist / Credit: The Leukaemia Foundation

An Evolving Series

Neurosurgeon Simon Stapleton's Brain Tumour Awareness Month 8GR8 Songs #1 is a pebble causing ripples, as new episodes are added to The Hub. A craniotomy survivor, a professor neurosurgeon and a clinical nurse specialist, and a charity CEO, have since told their stories through music.

A conversation with Kaz, Jeremy and Victoria, three remarkable young adults who have sadly experienced close family loss due to a brain tumour, inspires episode #5. Kaz suggested a focus on how music is helping her to cope with the contrasting emotions of grieving for the loss of her sister, Ria.

Victoria and Jeremy agreed, saying listening to music is a crucial aide to accessing and coping with the emotions and changes that come with the devastating loss of a parent. In Music therapy - creative support for the bereaved, a 2020 Leukaemia Foundation blog, Australian music therapist Angela Delaney described how music can help with grieving.

Music helps us to express feelings and memories and to connect with others, an essential part of the grieving process... Using music therapeutically with peer group support can support participants to discover their own way through grief.

YouTube video: David Bowie - Blackstar

Music, grief and dying, a 2017 blog by John Tully, a clinical associate professor in Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, suggested music may have a role in developing insights into coping mechanisms for the grieving. He said: "At a clinical level, there is some evidence for (the) benefit of music therapy in complicated grief for bereaved children and adolescents.

Music may also be useful in palliative care, where tentative findings suggest it may be beneficial for dying patients, and potentially for caregivers." Professor Tully reviewed his playlist of grief-themed songs. Including Blackstar, David Bowie's musical "defiance... in the face of his terminal (liver cancer) illness. Essential listening for anyone interested in this area."

Below, you can listen to the Hub's audio interview with Kaz, Jeremy and Victoria on how music is helping them grieve and their choices for the Music to Grieve to playlist. You can hear the radio broadcast of the interview with the playlist on Epsom Hospital Radio. Scroll on, to read personal profiles and the trio describe their musical journey through grief, with links to videos of the songs.

After hearing the other songs, Victoria responded: "I'm really excited to hear about your connections to these songs Kaz and Jeremy, it's definitely going to expand my music too ❤️." And finally... you can listen to the Music to Grieve to playlist on Spotify.

If you have been personally affected by a brain tumour you can Get Support from The Brain Tumour Charity, Get Involved in its campaigns and support its vital search for New Treatments. The music therapy blog has a number of resources. You can engage with Professor Tully via @JohnTullyPsych. If you are grieving for someone, you can join the Grieflings support community set up by Kaz, via the link below.


Listen to Kaz, Jeremy and Victoria

Picture: Kaz Melvin, Victoria Laila Neill and Jeremy Daubeny campaigning

in central London, March 2022. / Credit: The Brain Tumour Charity

You can listen to the Hub's audio interview with Kaz, Jeremy and Victoria on their musical journey through grief by clicking on the link below.

Listen to Kaz, Jeremy and Victoria on the Radio

You can listen to the broadcast of the Hub's interview with the trio plus the Music to Grieve to playlist on Epsom Hospital Radio by clicking on the links to Side A (Songs One to Five) and Side B (Songs Six to Ten plus Bonus Track) below.

EHR 03/06/2022: Music to Grieve to: Side A

EHR 03/06/2022: Music to Grieve to: Side B


Kaz Melvin

Picture: Kaz Melvin out on the water / Credit: Kaz Melvin

An Ode to Ria

Kaz Melvin, a trained neuro-physiotherapist, is grieving for her sister Ria, who passed away in August 2021 from a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) Grade 4 brain tumour.

Ria Melvin graduated from Loughborough University with First Class honours in Sports Management and bungee jumped in East Africa before planning to join Essex Police in February 2019. Ria told her story via the Brain Tumour Research charity.

After losing "her beloved sister", Kaz is campaigning in her memory to help find a cure. You can follow or join Grieflings, a grief support community set up by Kaz with her friend Kate whose brother died from a glioblastoma brain tumour, via Instagram and Facebook.

On music, Kaz says: "Music can help transcend boundaries, emotions and words. It can connect people. It can surface feelings that you are not even aware of. It can bring back visceral memories – good or bad. And above all it can give you perspective and a playlist to your life."


Jeremy Daubeny

YouTube video: Jeremy Daubeny - Cycling 2000 miles looking for Britain's Best Breakfast

Touching My Heart In A Unique Way

Jeremy Daubeny is a second year Economics and Politics student at Exeter University. Jeremy, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, is grieving for his parents, both lost to illness within seven months. His father, Giles, died of a brain tumour in 2018, and his mother, Clare, died of motor neurone disease (MND) seven months later.

Jeremy has since dedicated his spare time to fundraising and campaigning for the conditions that affected his parents. He was honoured at the 2021 National Pride of Britain Awards for raising £37,500 for charity by cycling over 2,500 miles in search of Britain's best breakfast. Answer: Café Ragna, Pembroke, Wales."It's a really nice little café in the countryside, beautiful breakfast," says Jeremy.

YouTube: Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing live in Stockholm 1968

Introducing his song choices, Jimi Hendrix fan Jeremy (favourite song, Little Wing) says: "While I didn’t always feel understood by others during grief, music always touched my heart in a unique way. Still to this day, I find music the greatest recourse to joyfully reminisce, sorrowfully mourn or peacefully escape in any situation."

Having found Britain's Best Breakfast, Jeremy will be cycling to Greece on June 6th, 2022 with his university friend Lottie in aid of MND Association and the Brain Tumour Charity. You can follow Jeremy's journey and support his causes via Instagram.


Victoria Laila Neill

Picture: Victoria Laila Neill proudly holding a Stefan Kay Volunteer Award from Heriot-Watt University for campaigning for mental health and grief support across the UK.

/ Credit: Victoria Laila Neill

Living for Him

A Top 10 UK Female Undergraduate of 2020 and a Royal Academy of Engineering scholar, Victoria Laila Neill has recently graduated with a First Class Masters in Chemical Engineering with Oil & Gas Technology from Heriot-Watt University. Victoria is grieving for her father Stuart whose life support she switched off after he experienced brainstem death during recovery from brain tumour surgery.

When Victoria was 15, her father had stage 4 kidney cancer but soon recovered and had clear scans for five years. Stuart fell ill a month after his final scan and surgeons found a metastatic renal cell carcinoma deep in the centre of his brain. "He was the 5th person in medical history with this type of tumour," recalls Victoria. "My Dad fought so hard to live for us."

YouTube video: You'll be in my Heart/Tarzan - Phil Collins

A tear-jerker song for Victoria played at her father's funeral

Thinking about losing her father, she adds: "It's really difficult knowing I won’t have the adult relationship with my Dad I wanted. I won’t get to learn about his work, become best friends or have him at my big life events like my graduation, letting him walk me down the aisle or seeing him meet his grandkids.

Everything I do now, I do to live for him and to keep him alive in the way I act, love others and live my life to the full. That’s why I love engineering, to learn about his work as an engineer. I never feel closer to him than on a big solo hike up a mountain, travelling to new places, studying my degree and being with my family."

A Beautiful, Dark Justice

Alongside her studies, Victoria campaigns for greater awareness and funding for mental health support and brain tumour treatment. The year she lost her father, Victoria wrote articles and participated in podcasts and interviews across Scotland. She successfully lobbied the Scottish Government to invest £20 million in higher education support services for young people.

Victoria now supports ventures like Includem's National Childhood Bereavement project. On the people she has met through campaigning, she says: "Since losing my Dad, I have made amazing friendships with people with a similar loss to me. I really value those connections.

It is a beautiful, dark justice our difficult experiences made us fortunate to meet each other, with a new shared perspective on the fragility of life. My purpose now, is to make the world less lonely for those going through this same loss."

After the initial chat about the Music to Grieve to playlist, Victoria mused: "Scouring my playlists for the perfect songs... I’ve got a playlist dedicated to my Dad and I’ve made one for this podcast. I hope this music can provide some comfort for your listeners."

You can follow Victoria's journey via Victoria Laila Neill.


One: Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

YouTube video: Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole

Ooh-ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh-ooh

Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high And the dreams that you dream of Once in a lullaby, oh

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Harburg E Y / Arlen Harold Over the Rainbow lyrics © Emi Feist Catalog Inc.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World is a medley of Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World, by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Released on 1990 album Ka 'Ano'i, the acoustic version became notable after its release on 1993 album Facing Future.

In 2021, the song was selected for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

A Life of Instinctive Love

Says Jeremy: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow just got my Dad’s outlook on life to a tee. He never got bogged down in judgement or gossip and instead chose to live a life of instinctive love. He absolutely fell in love with Israel’s rendition of the song as it just seemed to ‘get him’.

When I listen to this song I can see my Dad surrounded by all the trouble in the world, completely aware of his own helplessness, but also knowing love is his greatest weapon. Listening to this song brings my Dad into the chair next to me as we watch the chaos of life unfold around us."


Two: River Flows in You - Yiruma

YouTube video: River Flows in You - Yiruma

River Flows In You is a piano piece on First Love, the 2001 debut album by South Korean-British composer Yiruma (real name Lee Ru-ma). The piece features on the soundtrack of the Twilight film series and has been described as the "Clair de Lune of the 21st century". Yiruma is often compared to Italian composer-pianist, Ludovico Einaudi.

Says Victoria: "I learnt piano from a young age and my Dad was my biggest fan. Watching, listening and recording anything I played to him. He supported all of my ventures, big or small and his music choices influenced me strongly. This is the song I always wanted to play. My Dad bought me my first grand piano and I played it with love in my room every day.

When he passed away, we didn't have life insurance so I lost my house and I had to sell belongings. Selling my piano was hard because of the abundance of memories and connections I have to Dad through music.

Selling it to a Dad who was giving it to his youngest daughter to begin playing made it easier. I thought, "How beautiful!" to give it to another family to create the memories and relationships I was so fortunate to have."

Life Grows Around Loss

The piece depicts what loss is for me. It's usually described as the "fruition of love and how it grows between two people". But, I find comfort in its representation of how life grows around, between and with the loss of someone.

The slow, uncertain rhythm at the beginning depicts how time feels like it has stopped and how an overwhelming feeling comes when you realise that person will never be with you again. The piece begins to increase in pace, slowing periodically, but remains light representing I think the immediate aftermath of organising funerals, saying goodbye, and telling people. When it all becomes so much more real and there is no way you know where life is going anymore.

The pace and tune becomes more melodic resonating with how I became carried away with distractions and trying to do life as normal. But, the familiar sequence comes out of nowhere as a reminder of the loss. I love the analogy of grief being a ball in a box that can hit this ‘hurt’ button but with time becomes smaller and hits the button less frequently. So this reminder happens and it makes you stop again.

Then you gather yourself and go again, but this time there's a difference in tone and pace of the song, its become more certain and heavier. The reminder comes back during a happy moment and continually changes your way of living. The song slows again, I think bringing a new normal, where the loss exists in the melody but doesn’t drag you back anymore, allowing you to live with it.

The song represents carrying on with life but accepting it won’t be the same again. It will be different, but can be just as beautiful and that person can always be a part of it."


Three: Ocean Eyes - Billie Eilish

YouTube video: Billie Eilish - Ocean Eyes

I've been watchin' you for some time Can't stop starin' at those ocean eyes Burning cities and napalm skies Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes Your ocean eyes

No fair

You really know how to make me cry When you gimme those ocean eyes I'm scared I've never fallen from quite this high Fallin' into your ocean eyes Those ocean eyes...

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Arron Carl Davey / Billie Eilish O'Connell / Finneas Baird O'Connell Ocean Eyes lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Ocean Eyes, Billie Eilish's second single recorded when she was fourteen, was released on SoundCloud in November, 2015 and in November, 2016 through Darkroom and Interscope Records. The song features on Eilish's debut EP, Don't Smile at Me, and the album Everything, Everything (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

The song, a sibling collab, was originally written and produced by Finneas O'Connell, Eilish's older brother, for his band The Slightlys. In a Teen Vogue interview, Eilish revealed O'Connell gifted her the song for a dance class project, as "it would sound really good in my voice". The siblings were on stage together in June 2022 as Eilish became the youngest headliner at Glastonbury.

Says Kaz: "The first song I’ve chosen is a song that reminds me of my sister, Ria. She died in August 2021 of a Glioblastoma grade 4 brain tumour after a 2 year, 7 month battle. She was obsessed with Billie Eilish, she absolutely loved her music, her statement style and everything about her. She listened to her in hospital, at home to relax and with her friends.

So in Ria’s last few days of life, I put on an almost constant playlist of Billie. Ria was not conscious but I hope it helped her in some way. This song 'Ocean Eyes' was one of Ria’s favourites and is now one of mine. I put it on when I’m feeling low and in need of a cry, but unable to access the emotion myself. It makes me feel close to Ria at times when I struggle to remember what her physical presence felt like.

Ria and I are connected by our love of water. During the song I always imagine Ria’s eyes filled with the ocean, two of my favourite things, and it makes me feel calm. This is an ode to Ria."


Four: Just Be Held - Casting Crowns

YouTube video: Counting Crowns - Just Be Held

Hold it all together Everybody needs you strong But life hits you out of nowhere And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting Chained by your control There's freedom in surrender Lay it down and let it go...

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Bernie Herms / Mark Hall / Matthew West Just Be Held lyrics © Capitol CMG Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Just be Held is a song on Counting Crowns' 2014 album Thrive. The band is known for: "Boiling down life’s most challenging moments into digestible proclamations of faith.". Written by Mark Hall, with Matthew West and Bernie Herms, the song addresses a "weary soul who needs to let go and let their heavenly Father hold them".

A year after the release of Thrive, Hall was undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his kidney. "The lesson for me, and all of us really, is to be mindful of what you say or the words you write down," Hall said. "God has an amazing way of using those words to remind you to rest in Him, rest in truth, and just be held."

He added: "The very first night, I came to the song 'Just Be Held,' and the first line is "Hold it all together, everybody needs you strong." In that moment, I realized I was the story for this song. I don't see signs in things normally. I did see how God gave me this song a year and half before I got cancer because He knew I was going to need it. It was a cool moment for me."

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Heard

Says Jeremy: "During my Mum’s battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), she was forced to surrender her independence. Whether it be eating, talking or even turning over in bed, my Mum was left with control over nothing but her own mind. Through this her motto became ‘Just be Held’.

I remember vividly, sitting with my Mum in the living room with ‘Just Be Held’ playing over the speakers. With every bit of strength, she was able to sing along, and while the tune was unrecognisable, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Still to this day, this song transports me back to the living room and, when a rough patch of grief comes along, I can remember my Mum's motto: ‘Just be Held’."


Five: Photograph - Ed Sheeran

YouTube video: Ed Sheeran - Photograph (Live at Hampden 2018)

Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes But it's the only thing that I know When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes It is the only thing makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph We made these memories for ourselves Where our eyes are never closing Hearts are never broken And time's forever frozen, still...

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Edward Christopher Sheeran / John McDaid / Martin Peter Harrington / Thomas E Leonard Photograph lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group

Photograph is a song from Ed Sheeran's 2014 second album, x (pronounced "multiply"). Sheeran wrote the song using a piano loop developed by co-writer Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol. Producer Jeff Bhasker was the last of several producers Sheeran worked with on the song. The ballad is inspired by Sheeran's long-distance relationship with his then-girlfriend while he was on tour. The song represents loss, loving someone who is far away.

Says Victoria: “This song never fails to bring me to tears. I saw Ed Sheeran at Hampden Park in 2018, the summer after Dad died. When he started singing this my breath was completely taken away. I broke down in front of my boyfriend at the time and this huge crowd. He comforted me as the song gained an immense new meaning in my mind.

My Dad worked abroad a lot and didn’t have a great childhood. He always carried a camera and took photos of everything I did. Every family trip we went on or just meals out. He took home videos of us when we were young, I haven’t watched them yet.

I think he truly valued capturing moments where he felt this huge love for the life he had. He wanted to have photographs to look at when he was away, to show us to people he knew and to look back on the amazing memories we had. Photographs capture those brief moments where everything is perfect.

I heard a quote: "The key to taking a photo you love, is to love what you photograph." Like my Dad, I take photos of the people I love with my disposable or on my phone so I can remember who I loved for years to come. It's unbelievable how much emotion can stay in a photo or video.

I heard my Dad's voice for the first time in years since he was ill on a short clip my best friend sent me of when we were young. It felt like when I heard 'Photograph'. It took my breath away.

Keep Me Inside the Pocket of Your Ripped Jeans

For my 21st birthday my mum gave me my Dad's necklace and my brothers and l have his photo. I carry him with me in that photo so he is close to me. On special occasions I wear his necklace. I will miss him at my graduation but he will be there in my photos and my necklace.

There's a lovely line: 'You won't ever be alone, wait for me to come home’. That year, not unusually, my Dad spent November and December working in Africa, so missed Christmas. We were used to waiting until January for Christmas dinner, to open presents and to celebrate Christmas!

My last phone call with my Dad was 28th of December, after he was diagnosed. My mum phoned to tell me and I just broke down on the line and couldn’t breathe. My whole world was imploding. I was trying go about my day at university when my Dad phoned.

He said: ‘I heard you were upset, but you don’t have to worry. I’ll get through this for you guys and I’ll make it home. Just wait for me to come home. I am so excited to see you all and celebrate your birthday and Christmas.’ I remember chuckling: ‘You’ve just been diagnosed with a tumour Dad and you're phoning to make sure I am ok?’ But I guess that’s exactly the way you could picture him. Always thinking of his family.

After we went to Africa to switch off life support, we got back home to Edinburgh and the house was exactly as it had been left. Our gifts, and the gifts we had gotten for him, were under the tree and all the decorations were up. To have to open the presents we got him and take down decorations was heartbreaking.

We even found his diary where he marked off each day until his flight back to us. He’d circle the day and write in capitals ‘HOME’. He stopped crossing the days off on New Year's eve, the day of his surgery. We all wanted him to come home and celebrate with us one last time. I would give anything for that. But it gives me comfort realising how much my Dad valued the time he had with us and how we all made the most of it when he was around."


Six: Where Shall We Begin - Chloe Foy

YouTube video: Chloe Foy - Where Shall We Begin

Where shall we begin? This dance is a sin We're falling fast forward and reaching right back Make something of nothing before the sky turns black

Fortunately, dear

I'll comfort all your fears For here is a fortune the look in your eye Says hold me now darling, forever time goes by...

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Chloe Constance Foy / Henry Fausing Smith

Singer-songwriter Chloe Foy released her debut album ‘Where Shall We Begin’ in June 2021 after, says a folk radio blog:"...a ten-year search for a voice truly her own. The result is a record showcasing introspective and nuanced work that could only come from a musician who let her songwriting mature over time. Touching on themes of life and loss, love and fear, Foy wrote the album while dealing with the loss of her father to depression."

Says Kaz: "The next song I’ve chosen is by a brilliant musician and songwriter friend, Chloe Foy. It brings back good memories of taking Ria to see Chloe perform live and having carefree, fun nights together with my sister and friends when we could just forget for a moment about her illness.

Chloe’s lyrics are so raw and her voice carries with it so many emotions. This song ‘Where Shall We Begin’ is one of my go to grief songs. It’s a good one for gaining some perspective, “Make something of nothing before the sky turns black”. It's all about the brevity of life and the people you love and lose. Listen closely to the lyrics “Death to those who wait / Likely it’s too late”.

The poignant end always gets me “Hold on, hold on / You’re gone”. It always reminds me of how life and death are so intertwined and that life can be over in an instant. Which just makes me want to live more."


Seven: Hope - Arlo Parks

YouTube video: Arlo Parks - Hope

Millie tried to talk the pleasure back into being alive Reminiscing 'bout the apricots and blunts on Peckham Rye Won't call her friends 'cause she's ashamed of being locked into bed Can't feel her legs and feeling like a liar at best

You're not alone like you think you are You're not alone like you think you are We all have scars, I know it's hard You're not alone, you're not alone...

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Anais Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho / Gianluca Buccellati Hope lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Hope by Arlo Parks, features on Collapsed in Sunbeams, a January 2021 album. Here, Parks sings of a friend who is feeling isolated, depressed and alone. She won't contact her mates because "she's ashamed of being locked into bed".

In the chorus, Parks assures her friend she's not the only person on the planet feeling low. "That sense of shame is present in the verses, so I wanted the chorus to be this rallying cry," the singer explained to Apple Music. "I imagined a room full of people at a show who maybe had felt alone at some point in their lives singing together as this collective cry so they could look around and realize they're not alone."

Speaking to the NME, Parks added: “The song surrounds isolation, being present in your pain and knowing you’re not the only one on the planet feeling low,” Parks explained. “I think especially in times like these it’s important to focus on the inevitability that things will get better.” Kaz chimes in: "Love that Arlo Parks song!"

You're Not Alone

Picture: "Jeremy & Lottie: Britain’s best breakfast found, cycling on an "epic ride" to Greece

June 2022 to raise money for the MND Association and the Brain Tumour Charity 🚲"

Says Jeremy: "After losing both parents before the age of 18, you do start to feel really alone. It felt like the world sped up but I shut down. While life may seem dark, the song ‘Hope’ tells us that we’re not alone. It doesn’t disregard emotions but rather creates an environment to express them.

While the phrase "You’re not alone" might seem like a throw away cliché statement, it has so much truth. Everyone, no matter who you are, has the most amazing purpose on this earth. When you lose someone you love, life can seem hopeless as grief and depression can make you think, "Who really cares?".

We all need to access those emotions and cry or shout them out. I didn’t feel a twinge of anger about my parents passing away for around two years until one day it all came to the surface. There’s no right way to grieve, but Arlo Parks reminds us through it all we truly aren’t alone in it."


Eight: Move On - Mike Posner

YouTube video: Mike Posner - Move On

I wish Tracy Chapman was my friend She would know exactly what to say Beginnings always hide themselves in ends At some point, I will be okay

I got high when I met you I got high to forget you I feel pain, I don't want to But I have to, yeah, I have to

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Daniel Wilson / Eric Frederic / Michael Robert Posner Move On lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Move On catalogues singer Mike Posner's resolve to fight through his grief after two years of tragic events. The single features on Posner's January 2019 album, A Real Good Kid.

Rolling Stone comments: "The instrumentation is sunny: firm strums on guitar, a disco bass line, a resolute four-on-the-floor beat. But the “Move On” video contains footage of Posner’s father, who died after battling brain cancer, and the producer Avicii, Posner’s friend and collaborator, who committed suicide in 2018."

Says Victoria: This song is probably the most honest depiction of how I have come full circle since losing Dad. The whole album 'A Real Good Kid' looks at love and loss in a touching and aching way. It is nostalgic about memories but also focuses on moving on.

'Move On' is my favourite and I recommend the video. Posner details his life tumbling down through these events. Each day I try to remember the quote: ‘Beginnings always hide themselves in ends’ . When Dad passed away, my whole life changed. It's easy to wish for your life before your loss.

Accepting This New Reality

Picture: Victoria celebrating graduating from Heriot-Watt University with

First Class honours in her Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, May 2022

/ Credit: Victoria Laila Neill

But once I accepted this new reality, I started to grow with the changes to try to make the most of them. Personally, I’ve come into my own. I’ve found new passions such as hiking and boxing which help me cope with emotions. I did a lot of campaign work and volunteering for causes I care about and I’ve managed to really focus at university. The way I act and approach life is different as I’ve learnt that its so easy for it to be taken away from you.

Time is really all we have. So to be able to live now each moment to it's fullest is a blessing. Posner is explaining this tragedy, sadness and loss can be a chance for you to forge a new start. He says its hard to be a human / boyfriend / performer / nice guy, when you’re sad. As someone who has experienced loss will know, loss completely engulfs how you feel and impacts every aspect of your life.

Posner takes huge life lessons from his experience. He didn't want to feel pain, but he had to. He should do what he wants to, because: ‘LIFE IS SHORT’ and we all want to feel good. So he walked across America for a year. In the montage he is living his new life with the lyrics: ‘I know I got to move on’. My take is I have to live my life now for myself and my Dad. Just because his life stopped does not mean mine does.


Nine: You've Got The Love - Florence + The Machine

YouTube video: Florence + The Machine - You've Got The Love

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air I know I can count on you Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care" But you've got the love I need to see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough And things go wrong no matter what I do Now and then it seems that life is just too much But you've got the love I need to see me through...

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Anthony B. Stephens / Arnecia Michelle Harris / John Truelove You’ve Got the Love lyrics © Tri She Kieta Publishers, Jamarcu Music Company Inc, Beracah Publishing Co, Light And Sound Music Inc, Tri She Kieta Productions Publishers Inc

"You Got the Love" is a song by British songwriting team The Source featuring American singer-songwriter Candi Staton. Released in 1986, the song was remixed and re-released in 1991, 1997 and 2006. It reached number three on the UK Singles Chart, number two on the UK Dance Singles Chart and number one on the UK Club Chart.

"You've Got The Love", a version of the song released by English indie rock band Florence and the Machine in 2009, reached number five on the UK chart.

Picture: Kaz Melvin looking to the future / Credit: Kaz Melvin

Says Kaz: "My final song is one of my favourites by Florence and the Machine. I love all of Florence's music, it stirs emotions inside me I didn’t know were there. This song ‘You’ve Got The Love’ was played at Ria’s celebration of life.

Although it carries some sadness with it, it normally uplifts and motivates me to carry on with my day. “Now and then it seems that life is just too much / But you've got the love I need to see me through”. I take that as drawing the energy from Ria’s love for me to carry me forwards and on with my life.

It's hard hitting at times - “Cause sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose”. But the chorus has me singing at the top of my lungs and dancing around the room, then afterwards I feel a bit more energised and ready to face the day again.

Thank you for listening to the music I grieve to. I hope you can find the music to help you through."


Ten: Landslide - Fleetwood Mac

YouTube video: Fleetwood Mac - Landslide

I took my love, I took it down I climbed a mountain and I turned around And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills 'Til the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky What is love? Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Stevie Nicks Landslide lyrics © Welsh Witch Music

This Landslide Can Knock You Off Your Feet

Landslide is a song by singer Stevie Nicks performed with British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac. The song featured on the band's self-titled 1975 album, Fleetwood Mac.

Landslide is about the changes and challenges of life. Nicks wrote the song in the Rocky Mountain region of Aspen, Colorado whilst marvelling at the snow-covered hills. Inspiring the lines with the song’s title, "And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills / ‘Til the landslide brought me down".

Says Victoria: This song is my go-to hiking song. I use it in the search of clarity and it keeps me grounded. The mountains represent the tough times in life which create the epitome of who you are. This landslide can come and knock you off your feet.

Stevie Nicks asks these huge life questions surrounded by an immense cloud of self-doubt as to what love is. Can she rise above them, can she sail these huge waves, can she handle the seasons of her life, the warm, cold, dark and thundering seasons? Her realisation she's getting older and that change is inevitable shows the simple fact that life is change, moving, growing and adapting.

The Beauty and Marvel

Picture: Victoria on one of her hikes / Credit: and Victoria Laila Neill

Says Victoria: "I went through a lot of loss when I was younger. I only took time after Dad to stop, to try to face it and see how it had changed me. I climbed these mountains to see how far I had come. Losing a parent makes you question everything. As suddenly you don’t have anyone to guide you or to show you can get through these landslides.

This song gives me comfort the questions are normal and you won't know the answer. But you have to live and keep moving as landslides will come down the road with time. That is what life is. But the beauty and marvel of the places and moments after the hard points, such as looking down from the summit of a mountain, make life worth living. That is why I hike."


Listen to the Playlist

Picture Gallery: Israel Kamakawiwoʻole / Chloe Foy / Yiruma

You can listen to the Music to Grieve to playlist by clicking on the link below.



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