These songs are diverse in their nature, ranging from the violin strains of classical music through to the drum and beat of rap. They can be chosen through careful thought, the nature of their lyrics, or simply because the song was playing at the time of their baby's death or funeral and has forever taken a place in their memory.
Some songs were written for such an occasion. 'Small Bump' by Ed Sheeran - a song which both Lizz Cunningham and Lisa Sissons associate with their loss - is written specifically about the death of a baby, inspired by Sheeran's own experiences as he helped a friend come to terms with a late miscarriage. The song appeared in Lizz's Facebook news feed on the day of her Isobel's funeral; it was the first time she'd heard it. Lisa had always loved the song, but after the death of her son, Finley, it 'came to mean even more'.
You were just a small bump, unborn for four months then torn from life.
Maybe you were needed up there, but we're still unaware as why.
Other songs written about the loss of a child resonate with both Hannah Morris and Jodie Wye. Hannah associates the loss of her daughter, Sterre, with 'Precious Child' by Texan singer-songwriter Karen Taylor-Good, who wrote the song in memory of her nephew.
In my heart you live on, always there, never gone.
Precious child, you left too soon.
Jodie associates the loss of her daughter, Scarlett, with Eric Clapton's classic 'Tears In Heaven', which speaks of his pain and anguish after the tragic death of his son, Conor, in 1991. When asked in an interview whether 'Tears In Heaven' was a hard song to write, Clapton replied that 'the writing of the song is the therapy'. The lyrics are known and loved by millions across the globe.
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
As well as having Clapton's signature work played at the funeral of her daughter, Jodie also requested Brahm's Lullaby; another well-known piece, which Jodie should have been humming in her daughter's ear as she slept, but through cruel circumstance was listening to it as she said goodbye.
Background music can also find itself becoming eternally identified with the loss of a baby. The graveyard in which Jodie's daughter is buried is overlooked by a block of flats, and from one of these played ‘Black and Yellow’ by American rapper Wiz Khalifa. Despite having no association with death whatsoever, it is now a song Jodie will forever associate with Scarlett, and which reminds her of her daughter whenever she hears it.
'Closing Time' by American alternative rock band Semisonic was playing in the operating room when Heather O'Brien Webb's daughter Clara was stillborn. The song was written about the lead singer's impending fatherhood and the excitement it brought, but the lyrics seemed cruelly apt for Heather's experience: for as the medical staff delivered Clara, the words rang in the background.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
Blink-182 is an American punk-rock band whose songs are often associated with teenage angst, and were popular with those growing up in the 1990s; but, for Paula, one of their songs will forever be associated with her loss. 'Always' was played at the funeral of her child; a simple song about longing to kiss a girlfriend, about which lead singer Tom DeLonge joked that 'it's gonna change people's lives'. But, for Paula, it will always signify an event which did irreversibly change her life; and, when you look at the lyrics as they sit on the page and strip away the lustful teenage hormones which influenced their writing, they speak of the longing which follows a loss.
Come on let me hold you, touch you, feel you, always...
Kelly Harris cites 'apt and poignant' lyrics as an deciding factor when settling on the songs to play at the funeral of her child, deciding on 'Fix You' by Coldplay and 'Half The World Away' by Oasis, both of which speak of loss, but in different ways. 'Fix You' tells of the heartache of someone who is fundamentally broken from the perspective of a person desperate to help them heal.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
'Half The World Away', however, speaks of a desire to leave a life which has become stale from the perspective of the person craving change, an injection of vitality and happiness. For Kelly, the lyrics reflect her desire to break free from the sadness which her loss has brought.
And when I leave this planet
You know I'd stay but I just can't stand it
And I can feel the warning signs running around my mind.
Irish Musician David Kitt's song 'Hold Me Close' will always be cherished by members of the David Ashwell Foundation, named after a baby boy who died just 15 days old from Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia. The song's lyrics reflect the feelings of those who lay beside him in his final hours.
With your love light shining clearly
It's so good to have you near me
So hold me close, don't let me go.
Songs provide a way to remember, to reflect; and they can also be a source of comfort. Mrs T lists three songs which, in her words, let her know that 'he [her son, Lennie] is around me'. The first is Charlene Soraia's cover of 'Wherever You Will Go', originally by American rock band The Calling. Her unique voice gives extra weight and poignancy to the lyrics, which tell of a desire to be together forever.
If I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
Way up high, or down low
I'll go wherever you will go.
Second is 'Hushabye Mountain', famously sung by Dick Van Dyke in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The lyrics speak of a time when cares and troubles will be taken away, something which Mrs T - and many like her - long for.
A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows o'er lullaby way.
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting
Waiting to sail your worries away.
Finally, Mrs T chooses 'Songbird' by Eva Cassidy, a track which featured on her album of the same name, a compilation of songs which was released two years after the singer's death in 1996. The comfort which Mrs T takes from the words can easily be found in lyrics which remind her - and all bereaved parents - that whilst their baby may not be present in body, they will live forever in memory and spirit.
To you I would give the world
To you I'd never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright, I know it's right.
And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you
I love you like never before.