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I had always loved the melody to the chorus of “So Real.” It was a song I wrote as a teenager about trying to accept the reality of breaking up with a boyfriend. I had many songs to “rediscover” but “So Real” was compelling for me. I did not remember or care for the verse melody, so I began to compose a new one. It was exciting because it was the very first time I had developed my song into something new.
Somehow the words and melody began to tell a different story for me thirty years later. It was not about dealing with a breakup at all; it was about suffering with the heartbreaking anguish of grief. As I was working on the verses, suddenly I progressed the chords in a different way. I discovered the very first bridge I’d ever written; it had lyrics and a melody that helped the song move to a climax with a modulated ending chorus.
It was quite a remarkable moment for me when I discovered I was able to write some new for the first time in thirty years. Even though So Real was a “song seed,” the process of the composing the bridge reinforced how connected I was to my heart. The lyrics where I said, “I picture your soul soaring free” were absolutely true and clear for me.
I wanted my song to be relatable. Many more people could relate to my song if they thought about someone who had left instead of died. So I changed the lyrics of, “I picture your soul soaring free,” to “I picture you’re happy and free.”
When performing my song, I often sing it the other way because it is definitely more of an honest expression of my feelings.
After I finished my new version of the song “So Real,” this is what I wrote:
At this time in my life, I look forward to each day when I get up in the morning. It didn’t used to be that way. Currently, I am so joyful. I’m eager to practice my music, write, or simply laugh a whole lot. Of course, I still have plenty of responsibilities, which I juggle.
Looking forward to waking up is quite new. Only six short months ago, every morning I woke up to rush to the hospital and see my mother while she was on a respirator. Before that, I was a zombie for years. Being a zombie wasn’t as bad as what preceded that.
The very worst time was when Jason died in 1992. Writing his story, released a great deal of trauma. Sadly, it’s hard to sum up five years of trauma with one story. I mourned the loss of my innocence and the loss of the happy person I was before my son died.
With my “grief journey,” I’ve learned that life is all about losing our innocence. Of course, not everyone loses a child, but loss is definitely a part of life. It has given me great appreciation for my own life and for those I love.
When Jason died, I had endless flashbacks that played over and over again. I believe that it was my mind’s way of trying to grasp that my son’s death was real. I could not control it at all. For me, the hardest part of each and every day was waking up. I would have to wake up and face the unbelievable truth that I would never, ever see my beloved child again. I would never hear his voice, feel his touch, or smell his sweet hair. Words were completely inadequate to describe that exquisite pain.
Sleep was a blessed escape from the anguish of grief – and that was if I was even so fortunate as to fall asleep. My song, So Real, is about waking up to the awareness of what is unbearable to face. I did not want to wake up! I would lie in bed, wishing my life were over. I begged for relief from the anguish and wondered why I had to live with that level of pain. It seemed endless and I never thought it would change.
When I woke up, I wanted to believe that the horrible tragedy of my son’s death was only a nightmare. I didn’t want to believe it was real. I could share so many things about my life, but for right now – my music is leading me to magical places. My soul is soaring and singing, and even my most painful songs allow for the heartache to actually flow out of me as I sing the lyrics and play my guitar.
© 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.