20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


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YOU WERE THERE

YOU WERE THERE

I want to share one of my favorite songs “You Were There.” My song is for both my parents. I was very close with my parents all of my life and watching them decline has been a painful process. My father died last May. My mother has severe dementia and cannot really speak. But she still recognizes me and smiles with joy whenever I am near. Clicking the blue link plays my song:

YOU WERE THERE-5/7/13 Copyright 2011 by Judy Unger

Below are links to stories on my other blog:

YOU WERE THERE – PART 1

YOU WERE THERE – PART 2

YOU WERE THERE – PART 3

I’ll let my lyrics and pictures tell my story.

 To Mom I was so loved Breakfast w. Mom Mother's Love With my parents and younger Judy & her Dad looking at her

YOU WERE THERE

Copyright 2011 by Judy Unger

All my life, every day

You were there when I’d need you

All the time, I just knew; you’d be there

and you’d see me through

I’ve always known, I’m not alone . . .

You were so strong

You’d pick me up when I’d fall down

So I can see all the strength you gave me

Although I try, it’s hard to say goodbye

to someone who’s loved me all of my life

And when I’m sad, because you’re not there

I’ll still see your love everywhere

Everything that I did you’d applaud

You were right there watching me

as I grew, sharing joy and my heartache, too

I always knew, that I had you . . .

Now I’m so strong

I picked you up when you fell down

I’ve learned to see just how strong I could be

Although I try, it’s hard to say goodbye

to someone who’s loved me all of my life

And when I’m sad, because you’re not there

I’ll still see your love everywhere

When you are gone I’ll say a prayer;

and I’ll remember how you were there

Mom 2  My mother had a good day

WIth mom & dad 1 Grief 3 IN THE GARDEN 2 IN THE GARDEN

© 2013 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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MY LIFE BECAME CLEAR

CLEAR

Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger

 

Not long ago I was a child, then a young girl,

now I’m even older

A woman so wise, I realize

Life went by quickly, I blinked my eyes

 

When I grew up, I became sad

Life beat me down; I felt broken

Though it may seem a little extreme

I turned my life around, to follow my dream

 

I carried on; I lived with heartache

I was so numb; I wasn’t awake

It all changed, I let go of fear

beautiful music I could hear

I opened my eyes, life became clear

 

As I grow old, I’ll keep my smile

All of my tears gave me compassion

I was asleep; my pain was so deep

I turned my life around; with joy I now weep

 

I carried on, inside I wept

I cried for the losses I could not accept

It all changed, I let go of fear

beautiful music I could hear

I opened my eyes, life became clear

 

I celebrate; it’s never too late

To turn your life around

No reason to wait

 

I carried onI lived with heartache

I was so numbI wasn’t awake

It all changed, I let go of fear

beautiful music I could hear

I opened my eyes, life became clear

 

When my life ends, I won’t be afraid

I’m grateful for the gift I was given

celebrate, it’s never too late

I turned my life around, got up off the ground

happiness I found

No reason to wait

My lyrics in development. They were written with the fact that I knew my father was dying.

My lyrics in development. They were written with the fact that I knew my father was dying.

My song “Clear” was composed exactly one year ago.

I feel like my life is a musical. For three decades, I lived with a lot of sadness, but when I rediscovered my music and songwriting – I found joy again. My songs played throughout my day and told the story of my life.

My song Clear was particularly inspiring. I might have achieved the clarity I wrote about in my song, but it took far more than that to change my life.

Overcoming and letting go of fear was my greatest challenge. But I did it. I was able to move forward to change my life.

Wish me luck in 2013, as I embark on a new life. I am living on my own for the first time after ending my 31-year marriage.

Clicking the blue link plays my song:

CLEAR-12/29/12 Copyright 2011 by Judy Unger

MY LIFE BECAME CLEAR

Clearly sunny

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 


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ALABASTER SEASHELL

ALABASTER SEASHELL

Click the blue link below to read more and to hear my song: 

-

THE ALABASTER SEASHELL

Original Song by Judy Unger, Copyright 2010

 

The alabaster seashell rests

gently in the sand

the tide sweeps to its refuge

leaving it to gleam

in drifting, dune-like patterns

 

The alabaster seashell rests

gently in his hand

he tells her how he found it

a treasured memory

and reminder of his love

 

That seashell once held a living thing

It’s beauty remains to always bring

reminders of days like the one

combing the seashore in a brilliant sun

 

The alabaster seashell rests

gently in her hand

she feels his love is with her

even though he’s gone

the shell glistens with her tears

 

That seashell once held a living thing

It’s beauty remains to always bring

reminders of days like the one

holding him tightly in a setting sun

 

The alabaster seashell rests

gently on her stand

it gathers dust with time

like the love that is

among her treasured memories

like the love that is

a treasured memory

 

My song, “Alabaster Seashell” began with three simple stanzas I wrote when I was 17. I vaguely remembered only part of the melody for the “Alabaster Seashell.” But it was the beautiful chord progressions, which utilized a different guitar tuning, that enraptured me. I knew my song needed something more, but I had no idea how I was going to expand my song about a seashell. I started to experiment to see what I could come up with.

I have always loved seashells and deeply appreciated their indescribable beauty. When my art career first began, I received an assignment to create a series of eight, large paintings of seashells, which would be marketed as prints. As I painted dozens of seashells, I became quite familiar with their intricate shapes and colors.

I was surprised how telling the story of a seashell memento also stirred up many emotions inside of me. My memories of collecting seashells began during childhood. I kept jars of them in my bedroom and each shell represented a beautiful memory of a day spent searching the seashore. With those feelings, I started to compose some new lyrics to add to my song, but then I had such a major revelation with “The Alabaster Seashell” that it took my breath away.

My song was originally based upon the story of a boyfriend giving me a seashell when I was in my teens. With that story, I pictured myself older and looking back at the treasured memory my boyfriend gave me long ago, after we were no longer in love. But as I sang my old melody, suddenly my heart took me somewhere else. I was swept to a clear day at the beach. I squinted as the brilliant sun warmed my soul. My young son was walking with me along the seashore. Then, he bent down and excitedly cupped a sparkling white seashell in his hands to show me. His blue eyes were shining. The revelation of how my song had changed and the memory of that tender moment caused me to become overwhelmed with emotion. I realized that I had discovered how my song could be expanded.      

I decided that a seashell was a beautiful metaphor about seeing death in a positive way. The creature that once inhabited the seashell left something beautiful behind when it died. Although the creature was gone, the seashell could bring comfort with its beauty and with the memories. The “Alabaster Seashell” reminded me of a magnificent day combing the beach with Jason. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I quickly scrawled out additional lyrics for my song.

These are original pages where I developed my new lyrics. I added verses to expand my song that I wrote when I was 17.

These are original pages where I developed new lyrics for a song I wrote when I was 17.

Seashells notes 1 Jason pointing on the beach Jason on the beach

Jason, & mom at beach

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


MORE THAN YOU KNOW

I dedicate my words and song to Vicky and Tersia, who live in South Africa. Below is a link to Tersia’s blog:

http://tersiaburger.com/

 

MORE THAN YOU KNOW

Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger

 

You gave me your hand; you’d always understand

No one else could see all the change you’d seen in me

You gave me so much; within a single touch

I searched for a smile; you brought mine back for a while

I just can’t find the words to say

How it felt when you went away

All my life, I hoped you would stay

And when you left, I let you go

But I still love you, more than you know

 I still love you

 

You brought me sunshine; I thought that you were mine

How can I believe? When the warmth of you did leave

You gave me everything that made me want to sing

How could I have guessed that our time would be my best?

I just can’t find the words to say

How it felt when you went away

All my life, I hoped you would stay

And when you left, I let you go

But I still love you, more than you know

 I still love you

Dearest Tersia,

I am always thinking of you at a time where you are putting one foot in front of the other. There is probably no word in the dictionary to express your exhaustion. Yet, you always find time to respond to every person’s comment with grace and kindness.

I loved your last post about tears. How beautiful that you could appreciate tears of joy, and not only of suffering at a time like this.

I have been deeply touched that you’ve shared my songs and words on your blog. It is unbelievable to me how in the short time I’ve know you, you’ve allowed me to help. I certainly hoped and wished I could. My own life has been enriched knowing that I was able to be there for you and Vic. The lovely comments by people who read your blog have also brought me to tears.

Since you have been Vic’s caregiver, you already know her absence will leave you with a deep abyss. It is so hard to have that devotion stop suddenly, because you will be going from plodding in exhaustion into nothingness. It is shocking because for so long, keeping Vic going has been your major purpose in life.

more than you know

There are many levels to this song similarly to “Set You Free.” The main theme is of letting go. My song was written about friendship, but I revised it after my son Jason died. The lines that I find most applicable to losing my child was:

“I just can’t find the words to say how it felt when you went away”

With that line I am saying that nothing can possibly express the anguish of grief.

“I thought that you were mine.”

I believed that my child belonged to me. He was my purpose and I took care of him until he died. I could not accept his death for a very long time. That was why letting go was so hard.

Your own eloquent words acknowledge acceptance of Vic’s death. You are preparing yourself to let her go.

But there is no way to do that adequately.

I share with you my lyrics and song now. Since you have shared my messages, I want to provide a link here to my story about Jason. It helps to explain my songs and why I want to give you hope as you enter the darkness of grief. Your love for Vic will never end, nor her love for you.

Please know that you (or anyone grieving) can write to me any time. I am sensitive to grief in all forms, but because I am also a bereaved parent, I am especially sad when a child dies.

Link to Jason’s Story – myjourneysinsight.com

Here is a link to more about my latest song and to hear it:

MORE THAN YOU KNOW – PART 2

Jason so happy-
Jason at Hanukah

 Her Garden

Jason's grave overgrown

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


SET YOU FREE

 SET YOU FREE

Copyright 2011 by Judy Unger

 

You’re hanging on as night turns to dawn

I know you can’t stay and soon you’ll be gone

we both know it’s hard to let go

wherever you are my love won’t be far

your smile, your touch, your voice, your face

your essence I will never replace

though I long for you to hold me

I need to set you free

There is no fear and your leaving is clear

we’ll still have our love it remains with each tear

I cry as you leave but I truly believe

As you leave my sight we’ll both be all right

though you have flown to somewhere unknown

we’re never apart ‘cause you’re here in my heart

your smile, your touch, your voice, your face

your essence I will never replace

though I long for you to hold me

I need to set you free

I need to set you free

SET YOU FREE

 CLICKING THE BLUE LINK BELOW READ MORE ABOUT MY SONG AND HEAR AUDIO: I NEED TO SET YOU FREE

My song, “Set You Free” is one of my favorites. There are many ways that I relate to my song. I share more about it in a moment. Recently, I was very moved by a blog about a woman who is caring for her terminally ill daughter. It is getting close to the end now. I reached out and sent my song and words to this mother. I was very inspired to know that out of hundreds of messages, she chose to post my song and mention how much it helped her.
There is nothing more meaningful in my life right now than that. 

Clicking the blue title below, is a link to Tersia’s blog:

Tersia

SET YOU FREE

By tersiaburger

  Tersia's post SYF

 Ray's mom's comment 

I wrote these words six months before my father died:

My song, “Set You Free” was born when I was feeling sad on Cheryl’s birthday. It was hard for me to believe that it had been almost three years since Cheryl died; sometimes it was easier to imagine that she was still alive and living far away. When we were older, life was busy but I missed our former closeness. Sometimes, there were special moments when I could hear her voice; it was recognizable and always comforting. There was no mistaking the cackle in it; we both used to laugh so easily. The smile in her voice was like music filling my mind, traveling straight to my heart and spreading comfort throughout my body. Those times were fleeting, but it was always music that brought Cheryl back to me.

I was sad because I knew Cheryl would have had some wisdom to offer me as I coped with my parents’ suffering. My mother’s dementia was worsening. She still recognized me, but was often terribly confused and anxiousMy father was now in a wheelchair and plagued by constant infections; he would say he wasn’t in pain but he continuously moaned under his breath. A few moments earlier, I had spoken with him on the phone; he was very sick and refused to allow me to take him to the hospital.

And so it was on that stressful day, that Cheryl visited me. I was listening to one of the songs I wrote for her in my darkened bedroom, and my tears began to flow. I cried because it was hard to accept that she was really gone. But then, I heard Cheryl’s voice and her sweet encouragement. Gently, she reminded me that I was not alone; she would always be with me, especially when I played my guitar. After her voice quieted, I stood up to address my emptiness inside. My eyes still wet with tears, as I explored new fingerings on my guitar and soon beautiful chords began to appear; my melancholy was gone.

#5 you are a songwriter when

I put down my guitar to answer the phone. The call was to inform me that my father was being taken to a nearby hospital emergency room by ambulance. I left in the summer twilight to go to the hospital. When I returned home it was very late and I couldn’t sleep. I fingerpicked my guitar and felt inspired; lyrics formed in my mind to go with the beautiful new guitar chords I had discovered the day before. My new song, which I named “Set You Free,” began with the words: “You’re hanging on, as night turns to dawn.”

I cry as you leave

Acceptance is truly what “Set You Free” is about. My lyric line of “There is no fear and your leaving is clear,” is completely honest. As a result of my happiness and newfound clarity about life, I was confident that even with separation, both of us would be all right. Relating that to my children was easy. With my parents, it meant that my uncertainty and fear about death was gone. This revelation was quite profound for me. I felt ready to face the unknown.

It was because I had decided that life was all about arrivals and departures.

Dad kissing me

Because my songs come from my subconscious, sometimes I find my lyrics to carry additional meanings for me later on. I began to picture Cheryl as I sang the lyrics, because she had inspired me to compose the first chords of my song.

But it was my chorus lyrics of: “your smile, your touch, your voice, your face, your essence I will never replace,” that perfectly expressed my deep longing for Jason, and caused me to become emotional when I sang them. Jason was my child who died many years ago, when he was only five years old.

Yet not long after my song was written, I was singing those words and I realized that my emotions weren’t related to pain or sadness. As I remembered Jason’s unforgettable essence, I was overcome by deep gratitude. I had finally let go of my grief for him.

It was then that I understood.

I realized that my song was about setting myself free.

Grief 3

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU

My song is dedicated to my friend, Cheryl, who died in 2009 from breast cancer.

 

ANOTHER YOU

Original Song by Judy Unger, Copyright 2010

 

Here I am writing to you,

when I know you’ve heard these words before

But now there’s so much more

And it’s mostly left unsaid

And here I am singing to you

When I know that you’ve heard every song

But this one is life-long

The music is forever

 

And I know if I search my whole life through

I’ll never find another you

I could search and search my memories, too

And I’ll never find, I’ll never find another you

 

Here I am, dreaming of you

wishing I could tell you so many things

But then the memory brings

a smile and you’re with me now

Here I am shining to you

And I can’t believe what’s happened to me

And all the joy is there to see

And what you would have wanted

 

And I know if I search my whole life through

I’ll never find another you

I could search and search my memories, too

And I’ll never find, I’ll never find another you

I’ll never find another you

even if I search my whole life through

 

 

Links to my song and story:

 

I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU

Judy and Cheryl in 1980

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


2 Comments

WINTER ON A DESOLATE BEACH

My passion is music and songwriting and I want to share a little poetry surrounding two songs that I wrote when I was a teenager.

One song is named “Autumn Recollections” and the other is “Alone.” I recorded them together and they both definitely have a certain mood and express deep loneliness.

I share first calligraphy of my lyrics that I created in college. Below it are some thoughts of mine about death, which relate to my song “Alone.”

Here are links to the music and story of these two songs:

Alone

Autumn Recollections

I wasn’t sure how to relate my post to December, and I realize I am sharing more than twenty lines. What I want to say very succinctly is that the holidays are very difficult and lonely for people who are carrying the burden of grief. Grief doesn’t magically disappear. It lingers and bites during holidays, because holidays are when we miss those special people who were ripped from our life.

Please remember people who are grieving in December. They need support, love and understanding. Never tell them that it’s time to move on. Just be there for them – and listen.

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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