We need music in our lives for all sorts of reasons— and we do, indeed, mean “need.” People have been singing, chanting, and making musical instruments for almost as long as there have even been people. We need it to connect and to celebrate, to help us find belonging and to express that which cannot otherwise be spoken. When words otherwise fail, music lifts us up, carries us and comforts us. It has power, even in the face of something as overwhelming and incomprehensible as grief. Especially then. Just look at what this song from Sarah Darling and Guy Penrod can do.

Grief is a tricky subject, a hard subject. It’s not one at which we want to look directly. We have our platitudes and our aphorisms, we have our rituals and traditions. Those things all have worth, and ultimately the best thing we can do when we’re grieving the passing of a loved one or a diagnosis with terminal illness is to surround ourselves with friends and family. There are moments, though, when we’re alone – those dark nights when we awaken at three a.m. and can’t fall back to sleep – when we need something to express and calm the rolling of emotions engulfing us. That’s where a song like “Knowing What I Know About Heaven” finds its place.

Sarah Darling, the country singer who wrote the song and sings it with gospel artist Guy Penrod, explains its origns and meaning on her Facebook page:

Here is my duet with Guy Penrod of the song I co-wrote which he made into a hit single. “Knowing What I Know About Heaven” is a song of faith and inspiration which is dedicated to my Grandpa. I wrote it about him several years ago. It has touched so many lives of those who have lost loved ones – or are dealing with terminal illness. I hope you like it.

The song so ably expresses the conflict so many of us wrestle with when a loved one passes away. We know in our hearts that they’re no longer in pain or danger, that they’ve moved on to a better place, but we can’t help wishing that they were still here with us. As Darling points out, that meaning has been helpful to people with terminal illnesses, too, trying to find peace with their future while still longing, on at least some level, to change it. Just consider the lyrics of the chorus:

Knowing what I know about heaven
Believing that you’re all the way home
Knowing that you’re somewhere better
Is all I need to let you go
I could hope that I could pray you back
But why on earth would I do that
When you’re somewhere life and love never ends
Knowing what I know about heaven

So whomever and however you’re grieving, whether you’re struggling with a loss old or fresh, or simply wondering about the nature of it all, take some comfort in music made to move us all. We hope it helps.