When you plan a memorial service, you might have to choose funeral songs to include. These songs need to convey the feelings of yourself and others. However, they should ideally reflect the loves and lifestyle of the person you’re mourning as well.
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Maybe that person enjoyed country music. If so, you should consider including country songs about missing someone during the service. Reba McEntire, one of country music’s biggest stars, has recorded plenty. She’s also recorded inspirational tracks that can help you and other friends and family move on with a sense of peace and joy.
Whether you're planning an in-person funeral or creating a funeral slideshow for a virtual funeral service, you'll find a Reba McEntire song that works for you below.
Tip: If you're planning a virtual funeral and want to play music or a slideshow for your online guests, we recommend working with a professional service like GatheringUs.
Sad Reba McEntire Songs for a Funeral
Few singers know how to convey heartache like Reba McEntire. Thus, her discography includes plenty of sad tunes to play or perform at a funeral.
1. “If I Had Only Known” from For My Broken Heart
We don’t always get the chance to realize we’re seeing someone for the last time. “If I Had Only Known” perfectly captures the heartache someone experiences when they lose a loved one unexpectedly.
2. “She Thinks His Name Was John” from Read My Mind
This song’s writer composed it as a tribute to his brother, who had passed of AIDS. It created a bit of controversy upon its release, as few major country songs had addressed the topic yet, but it’s an option to consider if the subject matter hits close to home.
3. “If You See Him, If You See Her” from If You See Her
Sure, the song might technically be about two old lovers pretending to be over one another while privately admitting they are not, but the lyrics are general enough that this tearjerker can also apply to the experience of missing someone after they have passed.
4. “The Heart Won’t Lie” from It’s Your Call
Again, this track is actually about a couple reconciling with the distance that has grown between them after decades. That said, it’s also a bittersweet song about apologizing for not showing someone your true feelings when you had the chance.
5. “Is There Life Out There?” from For My Broken Heart
We often want to honor the sacrifices someone made for us when they pass. “Is There Life Out There?” describes a woman forgoing her dreams to raise a family. It’s a sad song, but it can also help you express your gratitude.
6. “For My Broken Heart” from For My Broken Heart
Reba McEntire released this song and album after a plane crash took the lives of multiple band and crew members. While you can interpret the song as a description of a breakup, you can also hear the deeper pain that inspired it.
7. “Cactus in a Coffee Can” from Stronger Than the Truth
Reba McEntire is one of country music’s greatest storytellers. Her lyrics often capture worlds of feeling by describing specific moments that others might overlook.
Consider the example of “Cactus in a Coffee Can.” This recent track tells the story of an airline passenger who, when speaking to another passenger, learns she is traveling with an urn carrying the remains of her birth mother who never got to raise her.
8. “Bobby” from For My Broken Heart
Okay, you might have to be careful with this one. The devastating “Bobby” tells the story of a man who took his wife’s life because she was in constant pain and couldn’t bear it anymore. However, beyond the literal meaning is a reflection on love that transcends death.
9. “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go)” from For My Broken Heart
Break out the tissues for this one. It’s a perfect tearjerker if you’re mourning the passing of a grandparent or other elderly loved one. Give it one listen, and you’ll understand exactly why.
10. “(I Still Long To Hold You) Now and Then” from Out of a Dream
Saying goodbye to a romantic partner takes a long time. Even years later, you may still occasionally feel the desire to be with them. This song captures that experience beautifully.
11. “Tell Me What’s So Good About Goodbye” from Just a Little Love
Sometimes, you just can’t accept that saying goodbye is necessary in life. Many people don’t feel strong when a loved one passes. They soldier on because they have to, but that doesn’t mean they can’t ask why losing someone has to hurt.
12. “How Blue” from My Kind of Country
Although it’s another tune that’s really about a breakup, the question it asks applies when a loved one passes as well. How long before I can stop missing you and move on?
13. “What Am I Gonna Do About You” from What Am I Gonna Do About You
This is another song that explores how a person is supposed to get over a significant loss when doing so seems impossible. Like all Reba classics, it’s a gorgeous representation of a common experience.
14. “You Lie” from Rumor Has It
Yes, it’s another breakup track, but that doesn’t mean you have to interpret it that way. “You Lie” also suggests the song’s character lies when they say they’ve moved on and overcome a loss.
15. “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” from For My Broken Heart
As a song about a distant father who loved his daughter but didn’t always show it well, this track isn’t appropriate for all funerals. However, because Reba wrote it about her relationship with her father, excluding it from this list would be criminal.
Uplifting Reba McEntire Songs for a Funeral
Don’t worry if you’d prefer to plan an uplifting service. Reba may be able to sing about sadness like no other, but she also knows how to celebrate life. These tracks prove it.
16. “Just Like Them Horses” from Love Somebody
This emotional tune helps listeners cope with loss by ultimately expressing a message of hope and encouragement. On top of that, Reba herself chose to dedicate the video of this song to her late father, and she played the song at his funeral.
17. “Back to God” from Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope
Reba McEntire released this song to remind listeners that returning to their religious faith can help them overcome life’s struggles. That’s a message many would like to hear when mourning a loved one’s passing.
18. “I’m a Survivor” from Greatest Hits Volume III: I’m a Survivor
This motivational track can give courage to those coping with a difficult loss. It’s an uplifting Reba McEntire tune—the lyrics do mention a failed relationship at times, but that’s not the song’s story. It’s essentially about learning that you have the strength to keep going when life gets hard.
19. “Somebody” from Room to Breathe
“Somebody” tells the listener the love of their life could be somebody they might bump into randomly. That means there are two reasons to consider this if you’re looking for inspirational country funeral songs.
One: if you’re mourning a former partner or spouse who was someone you randomly met, this song can help you celebrate your relationship. And two: its overall message can provide others at the funeral with a sense of hope.
20. “Fancy” from Rumor Has It
It’s worth noting that Bobbie Gentry recorded this song decades before Reba put her spin on it. However, many consider hers to be the definitive version.
Uplifting funeral songs often celebrate the life of someone who has passed. Telling the story of someone who beat the odds to thrive and succeed in life, “Fancy” may be the perfect choice if you’re honoring a person who didn’t let life’s challenges prevent them from living it on their terms.
21. “Oh Happy Day” from Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope
Are you mourning someone who placed a great deal of importance on their Christian faith? Were they also the type of person who would want you to rely on faith when you need to heal? If so, you’d struggle to find a better funeral song than “Oh Happy Day.” This gospel-inspired hit celebrates the joy many find in Jesus.
22. “From the Inside Out” from Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope
While this song mainly serves as a tribute to God, it can also express the belief that a loved one continues to live on, even if they no longer live in this world.
23. “Love Land” from Love Somebody
Death causes some of the greatest pain we may ever experience in life. That said, many of our most joyful memories couldn’t have happened if we didn’t endure painful experiences that led to them. “Love Land” features happy lyrics that point this out.
24. “Amazing Grace” from Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope
It doesn’t need to be a Reba original to be a good choice for a country funeral song. Her take on this classic offers hope and healing in a country-inspired package.
25. “Walk On” from Sweet Sixteen
The message may be simple, but it’s profoundly moving and motivational: Life’s hardships do not last forever.
Say Goodbye With Help from Reba McEntire
Remember, you want a memorial or funeral service to embody the spirit of someone who has passed. If they loved country music, these songs will help you do just that.
- Betts, Stephen L. “Flashback: Hear Reba’s Poignant ‘John’ Address AIDS Crisis”. Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, LLC, 1 December 2015, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/flashback-hear-rebas-poignant-john-address-aids-crisis-74876/
- Schillaci, Sophie. “Reba McEntire Releases 'Heartfelt' New Video for the Song Played at Her Dad's Funeral.” ET, CBS Studios Inc., 19 January 2016, www.etonline.com/news/180353_reba_mcentire_releases_heartfelt_new_video_for_the_song_played_at_her_dad_funeral