I like to remember how it felt to be like this with my mom.

I was under hypnosis. I was asked if there was a color to describe the sensation of longing, which I formerly termed an “ache.”

I said, “I do not see colors – this longing is felt as a squeezing sensation; between my heart and my stomach. It forces me to play or hear music for relief. Instead of imagining a color, I’d rather hear music – especially soothing is my theme song, Farewell.”

As the melody filled my mind, I felt better. After that, I drifted and didn’t remember anything else. I left my hypnotherapy appointment feeling relaxed. Perhaps now, this obsession with music would be less intense for me. I felt blessed that my life felt far less complicated and challenging than earlier in the year. If this was my most compelling issue, how fortunate I was!

After my appointment, I went to pick my mother up at her nursing facility. We were going to attend an anniversary party for a couple she was close to for many years. I told her I would be there at noon. That way, I could help her with makeup, her earrings – we would have plenty of time to get to the party by 1:00 p.m.

In my car, I listened to a voicemail message. My mother’s voice was quivering with tears and anxiety as she said, “Honey, it’s 11:00 and I don’t know what to do! Where are you? Am I supposed to eat lunch?”

The dance of dementia began again for me. Lately, I’ve been dancing through my life with so much joy, that this painful dance seemed easy to transition in and out of. However, it was truly not easy at all. I just chose to stuff it. Perhaps the longing, which I actually called an “ache,” was my sadness.

What I thought was longing and a creative “urge,” was actually the urgent expression of my pain. Music addressed it so well.

My mother, my best friend, has gradually slipped away from me. I believe I’ve accepted it, because I am so joyful with my life. I miss our closeness, but always share my newfound joy with my mom at every opportunity.

When I arrived at the nursing home, it was still difficult for me to see her so sad. On this day, it was especially so, since I knew she was very excited to attend this luncheon with me. However, everything has been getting harder and harder for her.

My mom is actually still sharp enough to know that something is quite wrong. Before leaving for the luncheon, she asked me to check her medication list. She said, “Honey, I think they’re drugging me!”

I reassured her that it would only take a moment for me to check her medications. Then she was suddenly fraught with worry because she didn’t want to “make any waves.”

I spoke with a nurse and nothing was out of the ordinary.

I sat with my mom at the luncheon. My longing sensation returned. Instead of hearing my music, I returned to old habits. I soothed myself by eating too much. I haven’t felt myself fall back to that for a long time. I understood I was trying to find comfort, and I was gentle on myself.

It always sustained me knowing how much my mother loved me. And even though she was so proud to have me sitting with her all the afternoon; it wasn’t enough anymore.

That was sad; so very sad for me. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I would ever feel moved to write a new song.

I decided these feelings would be channeled into a song some day.

After I dropped my mom off, I drove home and listened to my music. I felt calm again.

A picture taken two years ago and this same time of year. Things had already changed by then as far as my relationship with my mom.

Message to my brother earlier in the week:

Hope all is well with you. Mom has been off mentally quite a bit lately. It makes me sad. I actually wondered if only I noticed it. She can’t remember my childrens’ names anymore.

It was helpful to share this with you.

Last time we were together, I was excited to share one of my song recordings in my car with her. She became totally paranoid and said, “Honey, we need to go – we’re not allowed to be doing this in the parking lot!”

I felt very sad.

Love, Jude


Dearest Judy, Michael, and children,

This is that time of year that brings both sad memories and nostalgia for the wonderful few heartbreaking years we had with darling Jason. His cherubic, little face I’ll never forget and his twinkling eyes. He was truly special and he is missed. We pray that you will be blessed with the good things in life. No more sadness and pain.

All our love, Mom and Dad

A card from my mom that I was given many years ago.

A card from my mom that I was given many years ago.

Sonia had left a message for me. More about Sonia is on this post: REACHING OUT.

She said she was home and available if I’d like to visit. Her husband had died several months ago, and she was dealing with it as best she could.

After the funeral, I promised myself that I would continue to reach out; I understood how bereavement works once the “crowd disperses.” I had the awareness that my efforts to reach out were diminished due to my joyful demeanor. I wasn’t proud of myself.

Even though I’d had a challenging day and felt sadness creeping in, I called Sonia. I told her I was available to come over and I put my guitar in my car.

We sat in the coolness of her patio room. I was thankful for the coolness; the heat had been depleting me. I shared with her that it was getting close to Jason’s death anniversary; I felt deeply emotional. Then, Sonia mentioned something to me that hit me deeply.

She said, “Don’t you remember? We share that same day (on the Jewish calendar). My entire family was slaughtered the day before Yom Kippur; forty members of my family gone forever!”

Sonia and I talked for a long time about many things. Then I shared with her these words: “You know, I have great difficulty being in temple. However, I’ve been told twice now that it would be very meaningful if I would share one of my songs at the Yizkor (bereavement) service. I am actually tempted to do it this year. While singing, It would be quite hard for me not cry, though. I’m not sure if I could do it.”

She wanted to hear my music; it would be the very first time I’d shared my songs with her. I played with my eyes closed. I didn’t have to think about performing and making eye contact as I shared from my heart. She was very moved.

I left her house, and I decided I could do it.


© 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!
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