Click the blue links below to play audio recordings created after this post:

ANOTHER YOU-1/18/16 Copyright 2015 by Judy Unger

ANOTHER YOU INSTRUMENTAL-Copyright 2012 by Judy Unger

Excerpt from my Diary 11/17/78

Another excerpt from my diary


In 1978, I met Cheryl at a one-month college/camp retreat held at the Brandeis-Bardin Instituted in Simi Valley, California. The one-month experience was for college-aged students from all over the country, and even from other countries, as well.

Cheryl and I actually connected when the retreat had ended. I remember meeting her on a beach outing.

If I had to describe her, I’d say that she embodied the child-like quality that I love in my younger son. Her vision of the world was one of wonder and joy. She would respond to anything I did with wide-eyed wonderment and enthusiasm. We could talk for hours on the telephone and she deeply shared in every aspect of my life.

Needless to say, we had a blast. I kept a diary that outlined our intoxicating adventures. When I read about the adventures, I find myself incredulous at how much fun we had. It doesn’t make for good reading, since I would prefer to read more about my feelings. I was too busy writing about my joyous adventures to share feelings!

That isn’t really true. To express my joy, I wrote many songs.

She shared in my music, and sometimes we performed together. She wasn’t a singer or performer; she would get very nervous. I pushed her quite a bit. I wanted her to experience the joy of performing with me.

I was always pushing her to try things with me. Her exuberance and enthusiasm fueled that desire. For most of my life, I have loved to swim in the ocean and “boogie-board” on waves. Cheryl was terrified to do that, but she totally trusted me. One time we went out into the ocean and a set of waves approached that were enormous. It was terrifying for both of us. She held onto me and trusted that I knew what to do.

Those days of swimming in the ocean are also over for me. I cannot bear the cold water anymore!

In addition to sharing music deeply with her, we shared a love for Israeli folk dancing. There was a lot of exhilaration for me through dancing, including the enjoyment of beautiful music pulsing through me.

After I got married, I stopped folk dancing, just as I had stopped playing my guitar. However, in all fairness I did take up tennis.

I have so many incredible memories with her. I will share one of my most favorite ones. As usual, I forced her to follow me into another precarious situation. We went to watch a concert at the Greek Theatre in L.A. We watched from the hillside behind the venue. It was a free adventure at that time, but required a bit of hiking to get there. I brought a flashlight, blankets, and we had a picnic dinner. We watched Barry Manilow and it was a perfect evening.

However, when it was over and time to go, my flashlight wasn’t working. I had done this many times. We would climb down and end up at the last row of seats. Then we would exit with the crowd. I had us wait until it was less crowded, and then it was time. We both gingerly climbed down through the darkness.

Suddenly, she slipped and I heard her thump to the ground. The hillside was fairly steep and dirty. In the darkness I could hear her hurtling downward screaming all the way. I raced to the bottom of the hillside to find her, hoping not to fall either! I didn’t know if she was okay or not!

There she was, buried under a pile of leaves. Her entire body was covered in dirt. It was horrible at the time, however, we both laughed about the experience for many, many years.

Many of my best memories in life were with her. She shared with me the joy I felt when I fell in love with my husband.

I hope that my other dear friends do not feel any less beloved to me. They were also a huge part of these memories, too. I had many friends in my circle beside her. I think of that time in my life as a “circle of friendship.”

It was a joyous time in my life as I celebrated the greatest party of friendship I had ever known. I haven’t had that since.

Recently, I am starting to reconnect with friends again. Friendship helped me to survive my most recent, difficult time dealing with my mother’s illness. I reached out, since I hadn’t done that through the other trials in my life.

However, just as with Elena, I allowed myself to be deeply hurt by Cheryl. I wasn’t as deeply hurt as with Elena, but it was painful. Our friendship recovered, however.

When we resumed our friendship after a “rocky” period, it was quite different. There was still great joy, but I was more careful and more aware about the limitations of friendship.

Our friendship reached its pinnacle, when she became very involved as my “maid of honor” prior to my wedding. She loved everything about weddings, much more so than me. I didn’t have any of the passion for it that she did. However, her excitement fueled the anticipation of the entire experience for me.

After I was married, our lives diverged.

Cheryl left on her travels, however, we did keep in touch. When she returned, she attended graduate school locally. She became engaged to the man she traveled with, but he broke it off with her.

I’ll never forget the day that her engagement was broken.

She showed up at my home. I can still picture her face the day she knocked on my door to share her desolate pain. I was painting an illustration assignment and I was lonely. I took care of her as if she was one of my children, that day! I was very comforting for her, and she was appreciative.

She recovered, and we both became busy again with our mature lives.

A few years later, she became engaged to a fellow graduate student, named Zev. After her wedding she moved to Colorado with her husband, and we no longer communicated much after that.

The years went by until the day her father died. She was living in Denver, and was coming in for his funeral. It was the day that Jason came home from the hospital and I had been up all night.

We talked and cried – she understood why I couldn’t come to the funeral; Jason was having a circumcism ceremony that same morning!

After that, we carried on a long distance friendship. I was sad for all her trials and ordeals dealing with breast cancer. Cheryl and Zev had three children and they were close to the same age as my children.

The romantic, passionate, college friendship became a real friendship.

The saddest part about writing about Cheryl is the ending. That is because I have to examine my frailty once again. I had to admit that I didn’t have the fortitude or the strength to visit her before she died.

It might have been possible, if I had chosen to make it happen.

It was true that my family was not at all stable. It was also true that it was so uncomfortable for me to enter the situation to see her as she was dying.

I wasn’t able to do it!

I could list my excuses: my family needed me, it was too expensive, it would be too difficult to face her death, and on and on. It didn’t matter.

Because, she was my friend – she understood and I loved her for that.

I almost bought a ticket for her funeral in Cleveland. I was tortured, as I looked up last-minute flights. I decided if I had really planned to go, it would have made more sense to see her alive. I knew she would understand when I was unable to push myself to even go to her funeral.

I must accept that I never said goodbye.

Although we reconnected on the day of her father’s funeral, we only saw each other once every few years. Occasionally we talked on the phone.

When Jason died, she wrote me a very special letter.

I spent six months instead creating a special book for her. She loved the book. I took all the diary entries and transcribed them, so we could both share the fun in remembering our wild outings. I made a copy of the book for myself, as well as for her.

I omitted the parts in my diary when we were not communicating well.

I also omitted the parts about her first engagement, because I knew she’d want to share this book with her husband and children.

After she died, I shared my copy with her mother.

Although I didn’t attend the funeral, I was told eventually there might be a memorial in Los Angeles. Her mother was so bereft, that a memorial was too difficult for her.

I have kept in close touch with Cheryl’s brother and his wife, Barry and Diane. They were wonderful in keeping me informed as to her condition. I derived a lot of comfort from them.

After Cheryl died, I called her mother.

Barry said she was unable to speak with me.

I thought I would keep in touch with Cheryl’s mother. I kept in touch with my tennis friend, Linda’s mother for many, many years after Linda died.

Two years have passed. I understand her pain is very deep as a bereaved mother like myself.

Yesterday, I shared my blog information with Diane on the phone. She told me that Cheryl’s mother spends a lot of time now on the computer. She has been healing slowly, and gets a lot of pleasure emailing with her grandchildren. That sounded really encouraging to me.

I plan to bridge the gap. I’m planning to visit all of them soon.

Cheryl’s husband remarried about a year after her death. He looks very happy, and I’m joyful for him. Diane told me last night how wonderful his new wife is. She calls Cheryl’s mother and frequently updates her about her grandchildren.

Memories from a folk dance retreat

My insight about my friendship was that it was a path I traveled on to maturity.

Just like romantic love, I went from a fantasized notion about a relationship to a real one. This one ended with death, however, I can celebrate everything that I learned from the experience.

When we progress from fantasy love to adult love, we become so much deeper.

I know I am flawed and human. Cheryl was also an “imperfect human,” and I love her deeply as I remember her. She may be dead, but she is inside my heart and in my songs.


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 lifelong

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, 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

Special cards I received from my friend

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. 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.


About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s