Patricia Wolf Shares
10 Songs That Helped
Her Find Inner Peace



Everyone eventually loses people that they love. It’s the most painful part of being alive. Since 2016 I have lost a grandmother, a close cousin, several friends, nearly my own life after being hit by a car, and my mother-in-law this past November. It’s difficult to write about her death; it transformed my husband and I’s life completely. We are still processing the effects of it, and likely will for years to come.

Music has helped me find a place of resonance in my feelings of pain, helplessness, frustration, fear, and loneliness. My recent song “Lament” is dedicated to my mother-in-law, and is an expression of my grief and search for understanding, healing, and peace. I hope that these words and works of music bring comfort and understanding to those currently grieving.


I strongly advise anyone experiencing grief — including the partner of someone experiencing grief — to seek out counseling. It is a profoundly powerful state of being and can lead to destructive behaviors if the proper support is not there. Do not underestimate the toll it can take on your life; it permeates every aspect of one’s consciousness….

My mother-in-law, Kathleen Karle, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. It was devastating news, as I had only just met her about six months before. I had been in a serious relationship with her son Max — now my husband — for a year when I met her. It was such a big development in our relationship to be introduced and I was nervous, but she welcomed me with open arms and love. We had so much fun together and I felt excited about my future with my partner and his family.

She came up to visit because Max had organized a six-channel sound installation in Cathedral Park. Visible Cloaks was one of the artists Max had invited to make a piece for the event.

“Stedman’s Senary” is the piece that was made for it. The event took place on a magical hot summer day. Kathleen helped us set up the speakers and run wires through the park. We all sat in the park all day with friends listening together to the beautiful music as it reverberated under the bridge and through the valley. It seemed as if the trees were singing. It was a wonderful way to meet this special woman.

The idea of death is very difficult for me to accept. I can’t bear of ever thinking of anyone I love as being gone forever. It feels like a betrayal to speak of someone you love in the past tense.

I can still hear Kathleen’s voice and laugh in my mind; I can see her smile; the way she holds her purse; the way she looks at a menu; the warmth of sharing a blanket with her as we watch a show or movie together. This song makes me feel that she is still here, but invisible.

This song is so tender and emotional for me. It feels like a goodbye that is so incredibly sad, but you are asked to not be sad and to try to be happy. It feels to me like the struggle to feel both emotions at once.

We all knew that Kathleen was going to leave us months before she did. We spent a lot of time together in those final months making good memories together. We had a lot of laughs and experienced many beautiful things, but sadness was always underlying everything and still is.

This song is somber. It feels like watching something you love fade away on the horizon far out to sea. You watch with focus, trying to fix each moment to memory as it slips away into oblivion.

This song is so beautiful. It feels sad but it also honors life and seems to encourage me to recall the most joyful memories. It’s an excellent soundtrack for me as I reflect on the past five years of my life and how much has changed.

Clarice Jensen wrote this song while her mother was dying of leukemia. I am grateful to have found her album, The Experience of Repetition as Death, because there are few places of understanding for people who are grieving. It was therapeutic to have this place to go to when I needed to be held in my emotions and not feel so alone with this experience.

This song is a recent discovery for me. It resonates with the current place I am in with grief. It says to me, ‘Life is full of loss but you must shake yourself out of this suffering and live.’

The long notes of the strings are sympathetic but encouraging. The rattling / percussive sounds symbolize to me a call to awaken and activate the life within me down to each cell in my body, every spark within each neuron. The field recordings remind me there is a whole world out there and I must move my feet within it to see and feel new things.

In life, there will be more loss. I lost another person very dear to me in the past month. It’s been hard to carry on, but I must try to live and find happiness.

This song feels like a big exhale, a release. When I hear it, I think of myself exhaling painful thoughts and emotions. There is something purifying and cathartic about it. It feels like a compressed gas of my heaviest feelings are suddenly being allowed to expand and escape from my head and heart which gives me an opportunity for lightness again.

This song symbolizes peace and acceptance to me. It is a chime sounding out repeated messages of strength and hope. It’s a beacon in the fog of my emotions that I can look to when I am feeling lost. It leads me back to a place of safety and calm.

It’s painful for me to think of Kathleen as no longer existing. I have to take solace in the idea that her energy and atoms will be released to become new beautiful things. I have to believe that the love she had for us all lives within us and through us and will continue to live on in perpetuity as we love others in our lives.

This song is alchemical to me. It feels like a transmutation of energy, atoms, love, and ideas that cannot be created nor destroyed.

Patricia Wolf’s latest solo record, ‘Sotto Le Stelle’, is now available via Bandcamp. It was recorded on March 31 as part of a live streamed performance for the Italian festival Close Up Non-Stop. Stream it in full below, and check out Wolf’s previous work with Soft Metals here.