WHO would have believed back in the early 1980s, in the days when he was scream-singing about bats, junkyards and “vampire sex”, that Nick Cave would become the great heartfelt chronicler of loss and grief?

Not me. I was never much of a Birthday Party fan in the early 1980s (The Cure were about as Goth as I got), but time passes, people change, terrible things happen. Cave’s response to the loss of his teenage son Arthur in 2015, online, on the stage and in song has been remarkably eloquent and even consoling.

Not long after my wife died I heard Cave’s Spinning Song from his Ghosteen album and I began playing it over and over. It worked as both a balm and a provocation. “Peace will come, and peace will come, and peace will come in time …” I wasn’t so sure. Still, I used it as a crutch.

It was another Nick Cave song, though, that was at the heart of this week’s Soul Music (Radio 4, Saturday); Into My Arms, a song written in the wake of Cave’s short, intense relationship with PJ Harvey. A break-up is a form of grief too.

Comedian and writer David Walliams was one of the programme’s contributors. After a relationship ended he started playing Into My Arms “again and again and again,” he explained.

“Music at its best can articulate thoughts and feelings we have but we can’t express ourselves,” Walliams pointed out. “Every time I put it on it was sort of like being wrapped in a duvet with a hot water bottle on. Although it made me sad it was also a way of processing the sadness … To me it’s the most perfect expression of lost love that I’ve heard in song.”

The Reverend John Walker, meanwhile, talked of watching his son busk in the streets of Leeds in 2016. With only his father watching (and videoing), Jonny played Into My Arms before packing up for the night.

Two years later Jonny died at the age of 37. “I’m so grateful to have this video now to painfully revisit this special moment in our lives,” his father recalled. That’s what grief is. Pain and love wrapped around each other, fused together, inseparable.

As ever with Soul Music, it’s not so much about the music, but about what the music allows us to think about. In this case, life and death, faith and forms of consolation.

There are other forms than music. On Monday night on Radio 3, Pennie Stuart talked about how much the landscape around Loch Ness had helped her deal with a diagnosis of breast cancer. The first of a week of investigations of “a landscape for recovery” in Radio 3’s late-night The Essay slot, Stuart was fiercely eloquent about the natural world around her and the unnatural (or rather, sadly, all too natural) situation she found herself in.

“Time fractures and splits and changes the moment you have a diagnosis,” she noted. “Seconds are no longer seconds. The weeks waiting for the all-clear are not weeks. They are lifetimes. Minutes are millennia because you would be amazed how many frightened thoughts you can pack into them.”

The sense of fear, the desire to blame herself, all of this will be very familiar to anyone who has gone through the same or knows someone who has. Which makes Stuart’s final note of cautious acceptance all the more resonant. “The scarred landscape,” she points out, “is the one that affords the best view.”

Listen Out For: Book of the Week, Radio 4, Monday to Friday, 9.45am

Rob Delaney’s A Heart That Works, about the death of his two-year-old son Henry, promises to be a tough listen. But it is also full of love.