Grateful Dead

Share Your Stories Of Healing With The Dead

The feature film The Music Never Stopped is based on the true story of an estranged father and son reconnecting through the power of music, particularly the music of the Dead. How has the music of the Dead helped to heal you? Is there a specific song that has given you inspiration when you needed it? A memory of the Dead that has greatly enriched your life? Submit your personal tale of "gratefulness" in the comments of this page and not only we will pass along your anecdotes to the band, but you may just win a copy of The Music Never Stopped soundtrack and a t-shirt from the film. 10 winners will be selected at random.

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tphokie1's picture
Joined: Jun 9 2007

This topic is almost too big to discuss. The Dead have contributed to my personal healing from the moment I discovered them until the present and I 'm sure they will continue to heal me in the future. I found the Dead at a very difficult time in my life and the music and the scene saved my sanity, if not my life!
One particularly dramatic instance of specific healing occurred in 1993 at RFK stadium. My father committed suicide in 1977 and I understandably had a great deal of anger at him. I attended the show with my 15 year old son. During the first set the band played "When I Paint My Masterpiece" in the first set, and some of the lyrics from the song made me start thinking about my Dad. The next song they played was "Birdsong". It had been a clear day but clouds had begun to roll in toward the end of the first set. During "Birdsong" my son turned to me and said, "Look there's a face in the clouds!" I looked up and saw a very distinct face in the clouds and as Jerry sang "Tell me all that you know and I'll show you snow and rain" a few raindrops fell on my cheek. I was convinced my Dad was there and we reconciled during that song. I came to accept my Dad as a human being who had loved me as best he could in view of his clinical depression. The second set confirmed the reality of this experience as the band opened with "Iko Iko", my son's favorite song! Three generations were there together embracing each other through the music!
I have a younger son with autism who is now 14. I have recounted here on other forums how important the music has been to our bonding and his learning to relate to the world. When he sang "you know our love will not fade away" at the top of his lungs at the Furthur show at the Mann Center last summer and started talking to strangers about the show ("strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand"), I saw clearly how much the music and the scene has healed him!
As stated earlier, this is only a snapshot of all the healing this music has brought to me and my family! "Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right"!

Joined: Oct 8 2007
Healing with The Dead

Our son, Zachary, went to shows with us from the time he was born in 1983 until he was 10 yrs.old in 1993. We had a blast dancing and singing to all the songs. That all came to an abrupt end when on July 15, 1993 he was murdered by a convicted child molester in our neighborhood in Cloverdale, Indiana. The one thing that really pulled our family out of a total funk, and still does, is listening to The Grateful Dead. The band is such a healing inspiration to us now and forever will be. I can still see his beautiful face beaming with a huge smile and dancing and twirling about. Thank you so much for those wonderful memories.....I am forever grateful...<3

Jim Vaughn's picture
Joined: Jun 19 2007
Healing with the Dead...

I was kind of messed up when I was in my late teens. Not terribly unusual, but I ended up living in a pretty violent cult. When I was finally able to get out of there, I rode an old motorcycle from Appalachia to the Haight Ashbury. There had been a lot of trauma and I was basically "drifting too far from shore"... Hanging out with my friends in the Haight, I started living in the Dead Head scene & eventually started to go to shows. I think a lot of people ended up in SF, on Dead tour as more of a countercultural change in consciousness. For me, life had been rather, odd. Land of the free & home of the Dead was the only place that was remotely welcoming. Turn on, Tune in, Relax & stay a while... My first live Grateful Dead song was "Feel Like A Stranger" in the SF Civic on a New Year's run. Later, when I had integrated well into the Dead Head lifestyle, I was able to integrate myself & really overcome a lot of the harm from PTSD I had been accustomed to in my normless state on anomie. I am forever Grateful for the Dead. Next: On the road with our grandson... In a rather special parking lot, far away from cares, Bob Weir said to me "The experiment continues"... I am a Dead Head! Thank you!

judyc7's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
healing power of Grateful Dead Songs

I am writing in memory of my husband Hank who passed away on October 6, 2010. In the winter of 2007 he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and acute kidney failure. This was a result of exposure to Agent Orange while he served in Vietnam 1969-70. The one thing that kept him going the last year of his life was SIRIUS Radio, of course The Grateful Dead channel. He especially enjoyed hearing shows that we had attended.
The last few months he was confined to a wheel chair. He decided to start a blog about his illness. This was very gratifying to him. His sign off was, "I will get by, I will survive!" Touch of Grey was the perfect song for him.
I know he is in a better place right now but please don't forget our Vietnam Vets. There are so many of them that are now being diagnosed with illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure. These soldiers were never given the respect they deserved and they are still suffering from that awful war.
Now, I will get by, I will survive.

Joined: Mar 25 2011
The Healing Power of The Dead

So there I am, having seriously fallen out with one of my closest pals over a woman (and I am definitely the one at fault), when we realise that before the stuff hit the fan we bought two tickets to see the Dead at the Rainbow in London.
I rang him. And in a moment of clarity we put the anger and difficulty behind us to go and see our heroes, because things may come and things may go, but...
They were wonderful. And although we did lose our friendship, for that one night, all the hurt and pain got put on hold...

Joined: Sep 1 2008

we were getting ready to go on tour back in '92 ( i think) and got into s real bad car accident right before tour. i broke my back and also a femur. the other folks in the bus got banged up too. needless to say i missed almost all of the tour. however, i did convince my doctor to grant permission to goe see the boys at a hometown show. i was in a body cast that wrapped my entire torso and went down to my knee. a good friend scored some box seats so i could be in relative "comfort". that night i shook my head for all it was worth surrounded by good friends and the show was great. the entire evening i was visualizing a new spine and a new femur. that put me on the path to good healing. i am happy to say that i healed as well as i could expect. the dead continue to heal me to this day. i am convinced that the music of the grateful dead can heal the whole world.

Joined: Mar 12 2008
New Speedway Boogie

It's a strange one, but New Speedway Boogie has really been helping me get over my divorce last fall. I took it extremely rough for the first few months since it pretty much hit me out of nowhere. Eventually knowing that I needed to get out of my funk I naturally turned to music. Lots of blues for sure, but always the Dead too - and in particular New Speedway. I often found myself reciting the 'One way or another ... this darkness got to give' portion or even just replaying it in my head, over and over. Especially the mornings I just didn't want to leave the house. Just a little calming reassurance I suppose, but it helped and still does. And of course letting the band take me away for anywhere from 5 minutes to 2-3 hours is always a welcome escape from the everyday as well.

zazole's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007
In the strangest of places..

This is more of a non-coincidence coincidence type of situation. My best friend at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport Connecticut, Lenny Massa, was turned onto the Dead at the 3/26/87 show in Hartford CT at the civic center. There is something so magical about seeing a "newbie" get it at a show. Lenny played bass in a band so he had a certain affinity for Phil and at a greensboro show in 88, he "became one with Mr. Lesh' and was hooked to the sounds like someone touring his whole life. Such good times in our lives and the lives of the group we toured with. I will never forget those days, nor would I have ever done it differently. Pure bliss! On September 29th, 1989, Lenny was shot and killed in a senseless crime that should never have happened. I, along with countless others, were devestated. The music of the Grateful Dead was a huge part of my life at that time (and most certainly still is). BEing a bit of a statistics geek, I referenced Duprees Diamond News (before the ease of the internet) and found out that on the night of September 29th, 1989, the band broke out for the first time since 4/26/70 Death Don't Have No Mercy. I was speechless. Having mail order tickets for a good part of the rest of the tour, my two next show's were 10/11 and 10/12/89 at the Byrne Arena. At the first show, the Althea spoke to me as one of Lenny's favorite lines in any dead song was the Shakespere reference of "sleeping at perchance to dream". Lenny was a dreamer and connected to things and people on levels most could not imagine. I felt a sense of his being during this show and that brought me great comfort. The next night, the 12th, the boys played a soulful and (for me and my friends) a heartwrenching He's Gone. I remember literally sobbing as I remembered the colorful life of my friend. The fact that he was gone and nothing was gonna bring him back was one of the saddest realities I had ever know up to that point in my life. That song made me cry, but it also began the lengthy healing process that is still not complete, but is helped daily through the songs I hear and the thoughts they invoke.

Old School Chuck's picture
Joined: Feb 3 2009
Tale O'Gratefulness...

So, let's see. I haven't read everybody's posts but I could relate to tthunt. My father died in January and I was at the Wallingford show as well. He's Gone was definitely the highlight for me (great show in general! Dark hollow, Fire, etc.). I also caught the second night at the Best Buy and was psyched for the Box of Rain and Black Peter in terms of my continued grief over my father's death. I also went to my first Wharf Rats meeting that night. I've had a "Let Go and Let Jerry" sticker on my car for a year or so and have been in recovery for 6 years. I got 'on-the-bus' in 1984 and saw about 50 shows between '85 and '90. I am a musician myself and have thought about going into music therapy. I've studied music and the brain (took a Music Perception & Cognition course a few years ago), read Sachs and Levitin, etc. and I absolutely believe in the healing power of music. There really is nothing like it. Thanks Phil and Bob and all of you! I still miss Jerry but this Furthur line-up has been doing justice to his wonderful tunes and I appreciate it for sure.

lclement4's picture
Joined: Apr 24 2008
Thank you Grateful Dead

Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know that the Dead's music has helped me through the two most horrible times of my life - the death of my dad, 24 years ago, and my mom's death in December of last year. You can't help but feel good when listening to the Dead. I've been a Deadhead for 36 years and counting now. Thank you, and keep on' truckin'!


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