We play music in all sorts of ceremonies and occasions. We hear certain songs for group gatherings, birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations, and funerals. Even a few notes of a familiar melody can evoke emotions and remind us of the gravity of a situation. Pomp and Circumstance evokes an immediate stand, and Auld Lang Syne, a sense of community. Everyone has different memories associated with even the most iconic of songs.
A BBC recent article told of a man who writes new music, music intended to heal and help a community grieve. Cellist and composer Karim Wasifi, is the conductor of Iraq’s National Symphony Orchestra. Karim takes time from teaching and mentoring musicians, to play pieces of grief and healing at locations of tragedy throughout Iraq. I admire and hold dear this man’s personal and public stance on grief. On a day three weeks after a bombing killed hundreds, Karim returns to the wreckage with a plastic chair and a 300-year-old cello. “Karim said he wanted to create a moment of beauty, of civilization, at the very site where a group caused terror and death, and created darkness.”
For those dealing with unbearable grief the emotions can be overwhelming. When all you see around you are reminders of death and sadness, seeing a future takes help and effort. In the crisis, take time to heal in your own way and move forward with support. The unimaginable curtain of grief is not all that there is, and Karim’s efforts to remind others of hope while acknowledging the loss are a tremendous act of courage. Whether you yourself are suffering grief or if you have a friend or loved one in need, seek out the healing power of music and take time to grieve what once was and to heal for the future.