Harmonizing Grief: The Healing Power of Music in Times of Sorrow
In the wake of the Covid pandemic’s challenges, my family faced a tragedy similar to what much of the world was facing during this time, the sudden and unexpected passing of my father-in-law, Marcus A. Gonzalez. His passing took a heavy toll on my in-laws. He left behind his wife, two adult sons, two adult daughters, and grandchildren. Everyone was praying that he would make it, but when he ultimately passed the thing that brought about the most comfort aside from prayer, was music.
Born in Matamoros, Mexico, Marcus had an infectious personality. He would often greet you with a song. He was a hugger, showing no regard for personal space. His jovial face inches from yours as he let out his melodious greeting. He dedicated his life to sharing the Gospel of Christ through mariachi music. And every family gathering culminated with the entire family of talented singers harmonizing with his robust and raspy voice.
Psychology Today, “Our final transition from this life is … a time when the power of music can be important to provide peace and comfort, not only to the dying but to family members as well.” As Christians, we perceive death as a departure from the world’s troubles and a joyous reunion with our Creator. Despite the sadness that enveloped us, we chose to celebrate his life and victories. Music became a vessel through which we navigated the overwhelming emotions accompanying the loss of a loved one.
On the night of his memorial, I brought in my stage piano and sound system, filling the air with lively renditions of cherished Spanish hymns. “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” “Mas Alla Del Sol,” and “Amazing Grace,” It transformed the atmosphere. Those engulfed in grief found solace, their emotions flowing with the rhythm and melody. Even today, most of the family is able to look on that night and his passing with peace and I know that music has a big part in that.
As the service concluded, a faint sound of mariachi music began to permeate the air, gradually intensifying. A group of mariachis, representing various groups, entered the chapel adorned in distinct Charro Suits—the traditional mariachi garb. Serenading us with familiar Christian hymns. These mariachis all knew my father-in-law. He had touched their lives in some way. They were from different groups, dressed in different mariachi suits, but that night they played harmonious melodies with the promise of heaven and the afterlife. This unexpected and emotional tribute moved even the stoic attendees to release tears of cleansing sorrow.
In the darkest moments of our grief, music became a source of strength, a bridge connecting our hearts to the memories of a life well-lived. Marcus’s legacy lives on through the countless recordings he left behind, and in the tradition of music that he left his family. Through this we are reminded that even in times of sorrow, music has the power to heal and uplift the human spirit.
Original article published on: linkedin.com