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16 Heartbreaking Country Songs about Death

Country Songs about the Death of Family, Friends & Those Who Have Passed Away Too Soon

When we’re going through the painful experience of loss, we can often find comfort in a song that we feel honors and captures our loved ones. Finding the right one, though, can be time consuming. After my father passed, I spent hours searching for country songs to honor his memory.

Below this list is a brief summary of 16 of the featured songs in this list:

A list of country songs that speak to the difficult emotions we go through when we've lost someone we love.
ForCountry Song
A Dad or
Loss of Man
in Life
AnyoneThank You
[Visit the ER]
AnyoneI Won't Let Go -
[Visit the ER]
Military or
For Anyone
Father & Son
AnyoneYou Should Be Here - [Visit the ER]

Here’s a more detailed description of sixteen of the featured songs: Five songs are selections appropriate to honor the loss of a father; two are beautiful songs for the loss of a spouse; five songs are choices that could be used for the loss of any loved one, and four are songs with lyrics appropriate for those who have died too soon.

Featured Video: Scroll through and listen to all sixteen songs in the above featured playlist.

Country Songs For Death of a Father

1. Brad Paisley – “He Didn’t Have to Be”

This song is an ideal choice for honoring a step dad when beautiful words expressing gratitude are needed. The song tells a story of a little boy now grown to a man who was raised by his stepfather who loved the little boy as his own son. He was a loving, doting step dad who is remembered with great love for the ‘Dad he didn’t have to be’.


2. Crystal Shawanda – “Daddy You Can Let Go Now”

Honestly, it took me months to listen to this song after dad passed. It was just too hard. The words just break you up. It’s not easy to listen to this song.

It tells the story of a woman growing up who at key moments in her life tells her father that it’s OK to let go, like when she first learned to ride a bike, when she got married, and in the end when it’s his time to leave. At this last key moment, she tells him “You can let go now, daddy.”

3. Lee Brice – “I Drive Your Truck”

This hit song is based on a true story of a father who lost his son, but I relate to it so much when I think of my dad. if your father owned a truck, then you know what I mean. This song is still hard to listen to. When we were sitting vigil by my dad’s bedside, my brother and I would drive back and forth from the hospital in his truck. It was one of the most beautiful and terrible memories of my life. Just my brother and me in that truck, on our way back to the house, with dad still in that hospital bed.

“I Drive Your Truck” was a hit song on the radio at the time and we heard it often on during those drives. I told my sister-in-law about this song and the truck, and on one visit with dad, she drove his truck home from the hospital while my brother and I stayed. Next thing I know, my phone is ringing and it’s my sister-in-law calling me to say, “you won’t believe the song playing on the radio.” It was, of course, “I Drive Your Truck.” I can still barely get through this song.

4. Alan Jackson – “When Daddy Let Me Drive”

If you’re looking for a song that’s a little less somber, then this song is a good selection. It’s told from the point of a view of a son, who tells us about all the good times he had with his dad and especially when “daddy let me drive.” It’s a great remembrance song for fathers and sons who had this kind of relationship. “He was Mario Andretti when daddy let him drive.” It doesn’t speak directly of death, however the implication is there in the song.

5. Tim McGraw – “Grown Men Don’t Cry”

Listen for the second verse, where he talks about his dad who worked so many hours and couldn’t be around very much when he was little. He dreams of holding his dad’s hand at ten years old. The last verse expresses gratitude for the things he has in his life: namely, his wife and kids. The song doesn’t focus directly on the relationship between father and son, however it’s still about a man and his father, and a boy who grew up to become a father himself.

Country Songs for the Passing of Loved Ones

6. Carrie Underwood – “See You Again”

This very popular song ranks as one of my favorites for its melody, mood and lyrics. It’s not easy to listen all the way through when you’ve lost someone close. The finality of losing someone you love is made easier when you listen to the words sung so beautifully by Ms. Underwood: “cause I know I will see you again”; “this is not where it ends.” The worst thing about facing someone’s death is exactly the thought that, as long as you live, you will never see them again; it’s too hard to think about, and this song helps with that awful thought.

7. Carrie Underwood – “Temporary Home”

This is another poignant song by Carrie Underwood. “Temporary Home” uses other life situations to draw examples of a ‘temporary home.’ The first verse tells us about a little boy who was tossed from home to home: his ‘temporary home.’ The second verse continues on about a single mom and child living in a halfway house and how she dreams of one day having their own home as this is just their ‘temporary home.’

The last verse was too hard for me to listen too when dad first passed. It’s about a daughter saying goodbye to her father in his hospital bed, and how he waits for her to say goodbye. He says,

Don’t cry for me

this is my temporary home

it’s not where I belong

windows and rooms that I’m passing through.

8. Tim McGraw – “Live Like You Were Dying”

I’m sure you’ve heard this song by now, but if you haven’t, it carries a wonderful message. The song is told from the perspective of a person who received news that he was dying, and how the meaning of life finally comes to him: “he was finally the husband that most of time he wasn’t; “all of sudden going fishin’ wasn’t such an imposition, and I went three times that year I lost my dad.” If you need to choose a song that gives a message to the mourners from the person who has passed on, this is a wonderful uplifting song to play LOUDLY for everyone.

9. Diamond Rio – “One More Day”

In this song, Diamond Rio sings about having one wish, and wishing for “one more day with you.” The song is soft and flowing in mood and music. Again, it’s the words that make this song what it is. Asking for one more day would only having me wishing for one more day: “one more day, one more time, one more sunset baby I’d be satisfied. Keep me wishing for one more day with you.” Played for anyone’s memorial, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the place. Hard to listen to, but beautiful.

10. Faith Hill – There You’ll Be

This song is the theme song from the movie Pearl Harbor. The lyrics are about keeping a place for that special person with you all your life: “everywhere I am, there you’ll be.” The song captures the gifts of love the person has given, and how that person’s support made a huge difference in the singer’s life; how strong your loved one was, his or her light and strength. For a soul who deserves to be honored for all of the unconditional love and guidance he or she has given, this is a beautiful song choice.

Song Dedications for the Loss of a Spouse

11. Johnny Reid – “Thank You”

This is a magnificent memorial song for a couple, where one has passed after spending a long, enjoyable life together. With this song, it’s not only the words that make it, it’s also the video. The video shows a long-married husband and wife as she’s packing up the contents of their house for a new young couple about to move in. The words to ‘Thank You’ play, showing us the couple at different stages of their life, from their newlywed to the wife caring for her elderly husband. It’s the circle of life; it’s painful to watch, but it’s incredibly moving. Read More

12. Braid Paisley – “Waitin’ on a Woman”

This song reminds me so much of my mom and recently-passed father. Honestly, it could have been written about them. It’s likely the story of many couples: the husband waits for his wife. The song starts off comically with Brad Paisley on a bench sending messages and texts to his wife reminding her that he’s waiting for her. The song, although reflective isn’t too terribly sad; it has a bit of beauty, cuteness, and inspiration to it. Andy Griffith is in the video as an elderly man who asks Braid Paisley, if he’s “waitin’ on a woman.” The end of the video shows the elderly man in heaven sitting on a bench, patiently waiting on his woman.

Country Songs for Those Who Left Us Too Soon

13. The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

A hauntingly gorgeous mid-tempo song. Though it won’t sound sad at first, this song will absolutely reduce you to tears. It’s sung from the perspective of the person who has passed away and with lyrics like “Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother, she’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors,” the song is bound to strike a chord with heartbroken parents.

14. Miranda Lambert – “Over You”

This song was written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton as a dedication to Blake’s brother, who passed away in a car accident when Blake was a teenager. Another haunting song that hits you in the stomach. Probably the most beautiful part of the video is near the end when Miranda Lambert is standing in front of a grave stone tearfully singing, “cause you went away, how dare you, I miss you.”

15. Kenny Chesney – “Who You’d Be Today”

The song is about wondering who your loved one would be had he or she not died young; would they have seen the world, chased dreams, or had a family. Like any song speaking of someone gone too soon, it’s powerful, pretty, and sad.

(Lyrics) “..Would you see the world, would you chase your dreams, settle down with a family, I wonder what would you name your babies …. it ain’t fair you died too young like a story that had just begun …. God knows how I miss you, all the hell that I’d been through …. sometimes I wonder, who you’de be today”

16. Luke Bryan – “Drink a Beer”

A gorgeous song about a man getting a call to tell him his friend has passed away. It’s so sad, yet pretty. He decides to honor their friendship by sitting on the edge of the pier, watching the sunset and drinking a beer where he says so long my friend, until we meet again. While that’s what the song feels like to me, it does carry a much more personal meaning to Luke Bryan.


More Country Songs about the Loss of Loved Ones Here


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