My music is a form of expression that is not about creating a “hit” or even a more contemporary song. I believe that all of my songs are a musical about my life. I do want them to be relatable, but my purpose is to express emotion with lyrics and music that connect to my soul.

I have been slowly allowing another song to emerge from the “musical seeds” composed during my youth.

I decided something could develop from a haunting, chord progression I composed when I was eighteen. The melody was far too high, but when I transposed the chords – I could see the song would work.

The name of the song was “Laughter and Tears.” There were three verses and I only the remembered the melody for the first line of each verse. This song had a lot of melancholy. I wrote it when I was struggling to resolve problems with my close friend, Cheryl.

Once again, this was another song that had a repetitive theme of mine. Whenever I felt sad, I would go back to remembering “better times;” I would “dwell in a memory.”

This song needed a lot of work. Since the chords invoked the emotive quality of the struggles in a relationship, I decided my song could address the challenges I’ve faced in my marriage.

I liked the title and the concept of laughter and tears. That is universal to any relationship. I wrote new lyrics, but kept a few lines. The first verse spoke to the laughter in the beginning of my relationship, when I fell in love.

The second verse spoke to the tears resulting from the sadness my husband and I faced when our son died. I have written before that it is often a myth that grief brings couples closer.

It is much more common for an abyss to be created through the pain and isolation brought on by the grief.

I wrote lyrics for a short “bridge” to add that explanation to my song.

I created an ending that was definitely more upbeat for my song than when it was originally written.

When the song’s new, last line came to me, it made my song much more meaningful.

It felt like a revelation. My last line truly was about the most important thing of all. We have done more than simply “survived” the death of our child.

To still feel love, despite so much heartache, is a beautiful thing.


Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger

I still remember

the laughter we shared

in the beginning, we danced and we played

back then, we had so many highs and they’d been

from the music we felt within

sadness is lonely, it tore us apart

numbness and pain left no room in my heart

I still remember the tears we once shared

We both cried for our suffering

and you didn’t know about the irony

those tears stole you from me

Sadness is lonely, it tore us apart

Losing the laughter is what broke my heart

I still remember the laughter and tears

in the beginning it was laughter, then tears

and over time I’ve come to see

how grateful I can be

to realize you still love me

Below are my original lyrics written for a friendship that I was struggling with. It was interesting for me that I had a lyric line stating that I had “never known empathy.” That meant I felt “understood” by my friend, Cheryl, when she was crying over my sadness (which was probably something very immature at that time – a boyfriend breakup, perhaps?)

However, that reminds me of our closeness and how much I still miss her since she died two years ago.


original lyrics from 1979

Do you remember the first laughter we shared?

It was that time when you first learned to harmonize

but since then we’ve had so many highs and they’ve been

from the music we felt within


Do you remember the first tears we shared?

Here you were crying for my own suffering,

but you should know such a thing as empathy

was a word never known to me


Do you remember all the laughter and tears?

In the beginning it was laughter and tears

and when there are moments

where beyond our fears we cannot see

I like to dwell in a memory

I like to dwell in a memory

A picture of Cheryl from when she visited me ten years ago.

Since my song speaks to how sadness creates isolation in a relationship, this would be an opportunity for me to share some correspondence on this subject with other bereaved parents.

I have shared a comment before from another bereaved mom from a grief forum I participate in. Her name is Shasta.

Shasta writes with a lot of wisdom. I shared with her my post entitled, “What is Helpful” (to comfort someone grieving) and she shared an excellent idea for me to add. I plan to do more writing about that topic soon.

On Dec. 20, Shasta wrote:


You always make me feel good. You already have my permission to share anything I say that you feel will be helpful. I know that you do so in a caring and sensitive manner.

If we could express to the world that small and simple things like:

How going to Costco and buying a huge case of paper plates and giving them to the grieving family can make the largest difference.

It seems impersonal, so it’s hard to take offense, but it sends a message that says, “When life is too hard, just forget things like washing dishes.” It says I know even dishes can be “overwhelming” at times like these.

It’s these thoughtful kind things that will be remembered most when a grieving person remembers the kindness that was done.

With Love, Shasta

Shasta also wrote this:

Thank you all and to all the moms that have lost their children recently, those who lost their children in utero or children that weren’t theirs from blood. The pain is the same. You still lost a child.”

This led to an exchange, which highlights the abyss that grief creates in relationships.

On Dec 20, 2010, Larry wrote:


On Dec. 20, 2010, Judy wrote:

Yes, Larry! Even though I write a lot from a mother’s perspective, I always try to mention how hard it is for fathers, too. My husband doesn’t like to cry or express his grief, but it affected him greatly.

I think the differences between how men and women grieve creates so much isolation during bereavement. Understanding the differences was very helpful for me and enabled my husband and I to stay together.

Unfortunately, grief is very lonely!

Losing a child amputates the soul of both parents!


On Dec 20, 2010, Larry wrote:

I am also lonely in my grief, But it is the opposite with me, I am able to display
 my grief but my wife holds it in.

Maybe it is because she has gone through 
it before.
 Before I met her, she had a 4-year-old son who died. I work my
 grief though things I do. I’m greatly involved with my organization called “Donate Life.”

On Dec. 20, 2010, Judy wrote:

Thank you, Larry, I have often written about how men and women 
grieve differently.

Your words had me realize it would be far better to say that 
all people grieve differently! 

I haven’t met many men that are expressive and perhaps that does 
make it even lonelier for you!

 I’m so, so sorry to hear your wife has lost more than one child!

That is 
heartbreaking! And by the way, I am in total agreement about how 
helping others can alleviate some of the pain of grief! 


(I went to his link and made a donation following this)

On Dec 20, 2010, Shasta wrote:

I am sorry Larry for your loss, for the pain that you feel and for the loneliness of it as well. I’m sorry that society also assumes that the man doesn’t/won’t feel the pain. I’m sorry that my quote had you feel left out. I truly didn’t notice that it said that before reposting, and for that I am sorry.

I wish that this kind of pain didn’t exist in the world. I wish there was some way to make it go away without taking away the lives of those we love.

Unfortunately, I know that this is the price we pay for love.


© Judy Unger and 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: Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s