FINDING THE LAUGHTER

An artistic, filtered photo of me playing my guitar at the beach with my mother on my left. I could be playing the song “Waterfalls” on my old, classical guitar. I’m probably 19 or 20 in that picture.

Below (clicking on the link) is a recording of my rediscovered, instrumental piece called Waterfalls. This is a preliminary recording “for fun;” I plan to re-record it with a better microphone later on. My cassette version from thirty years ago was recorded on REDISCOVERING WHAT I LOVE TO DO – PART 1

WATERFALLS ACOUSTIC GUITAR INSTRUMENTAL – Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger

Below are some excerpts from my recent, voice lesson with Peaches. Since it’s held at a public park in a “side room,” there is a lot of extraneous noise. I think the dance class nearby made a lot of clunking noise in the background – so I apologize. Peaches helped me a lot to deal with my perfectionism regarding redoing many of the vocals on my songs. I plan to work again with my childhood friend, Steve, this weekend.

#1 PEACHES LESSON – 3/1/11

#2 PEACHES LESSON – 3/1/11

For many years, humor was absent from my life. As I’ve healed from grief, I’ve learned how humor is a wonderful, coping mechanism. With my transformation last year, I‘ve found that even when I’m sad I still see so many things to laugh about every day.

When I first began my blog, I often wrote about my daily life in a humorous way. It’s gotten harder for me to do that since my children don’t want me to write anything about them anymore. That has left me with only my pets to write about!

In honor of “finding the laughter” (An opposite of my lyric line “losing the laughter”), I wrote some new lyrics for a few of my songs. Here goes:


I’ve written a song to tell you I’m funny

When something goes wrong

I crack up instead

I laugh at my life, at everything crazy

I want you to know

What humor has done for me


And I know if I search my whole life through

I’ll always find a joke or two

I can search and search for new puns, too

And suddenly I am no longer blue


Through my laughter I forget

All the times I’ve cried

When I step in something squishy

I’m filled with cold indifference

I made this photo small to lessen the impact. This is not poop, by the way. Our cat has “irritable bowel syndrome” and regurgitates his food.

My husband’s latest Internet purchase; it lights up and flashes. Good thing it doesn’t say “Kick me!” When our dog is “underfoot” that happens sometimes!

I’ll start my post with another one of my “good lists:”

1. I received a prescription from my mother’s orthopedic doctor who delivered a “second opinion” My mom will be allowed to begin physical therapy and WALK! I was told my mother most definitely would never be allowed to walk again without surgery for her broken hip.

2. Twice in one day, store clerks said to me, “You have such a great smile!” I hear that a lot, and I smile even larger when I hear it!

3. The last two times I’ve played tennis, my game was on! Most of my shots were “winners” and I had my opponents on the run. I wish I could play that way every time!

4. I love my music. I am composing another song from my old song sheet!

5. I rediscovered one of my challenging, original classical compositions (Waterfalls). I did not think I’d remember the fingerings, and suddenly my fingers found them.

My mom can now have physical therapy, but I’m still crossing my fingers that it will happen.

My “bad list:”

1. I was bitten by my conure parrot and my guitar fingers were maimed! I think my grouchy parrot hasn’t had enough showers with me lately.

2. That white cat is still regurgitating presents for me to clean. I could have put on my good list that I have learned not to step in those “gifts!”

3. This is actually one for the good list, too. I’ve decided to have my car trunk repaired so it stops hitting me on the head. Expensive, but I think my brain is worth more!

4. Lately, I’ve been counting the years until my kids are grown and on their own. I can’t wait until they can take their pets with them when they leave! My kids tell my husband and I that they’ll be staying, and we’ll be the ones leaving!

My parrot is like a teenager. It bites!

Last week I had so many funny email exchanges with my friends. Many of my friends have caught onto my appreciation for good puns. Believe it or not, some jokes came to cheer me up in regards to my mom’s dementia. It has been so tragic for me, that I’m amazed anything could be funny around it!

On Feb 23, 2011, Amélie wrote:

Here’s how not to take anyone’s dementia personally, Judy:

I was taking care of an elderly woman with dementia and incontinence issues last year.  One particular morning, I cleaned up the kitchen and the rest of the place.  When I left, everything was in order.

Later that afternoon, the woman’s daughter came into the apartment to find a huge, heaping pile of human feces in the middle of the kitchen floor. She asked her mother what happened, and her mother replied:

“Amélie did it.” Yep. You just have to know when the illness is talking.

Love, Amélie

I guess I’m feeling better today – because I see a lot of humor in this. I want to say, “NO S%$T!

I could come up with a lot more puns around this, but it actually is heartbreaking. Thanks so much for your message of support, Am. This sounds like a very difficult job and I applaud you for doing it.

It’s a horrible illness. If it happens to me, I might want to jump off a building.

Love, Judy

Unfortunately, by the time it happens, you might want to jump on the building instead! 🙂  …Sam

I guess it’s a no window situation! I wouldn’t have any foundation to base those delusions on either. And regarding buildings – there would be quite a lot of stories to tell!

Judy

I hate to poo poo your point, Judy, but that would be a crappy solution to the problem. Glad you are feeling better. I worry so when you punish yourself. Susan

I wore my USTA T-shirt the other day when I played tennis. It was from when I went to Sectionals – oodles of years ago. My friend, Debby, is on my right.

A better memory of my parents.

In the email exchange below, I started out corresponding with Steve about some songs we would be working on. I shared my message with my friends and had some interesting replies!

On Feb 27, 2011, Judy wrote:

Hi Steve,

I heard that weird note again on the mix for It Might Have Been. It’s at 2:37. Wonder why it sounds so weird – perhaps it could be taken out or it needs tuning?

By the way, I saw my mom over the weekend. She’s been VERY confused. Lately, she’s convinced that my dad has a girlfriend on the side!

Judy

Regarding that note, I think it’s a 60’s organ with heavy vibrato. I’ll bounce it down without that part.

Steve

“She’s convinced that my dad has a girlfriend on the side.”

To paraphrase Steve: That sounds like an 80’s organ with heavy vibrato!

Sam

Oh my god, I just fell off my chair in hysterics. My kids came in to see what was wrong – I had to totally come up with a diversion!

There’s an old music joke about J.S. Bach, “Why did he have so many children?” Because his organ didn’t have any stops.

Steve

Very funny, Steve. He sure was a good player.

The actual discussion with my mother was not funny, unfortunately. I attempted to point out to her how my dad was devoted and it was “out of the question” that he had a girlfriend. She remained unconvinced and unreasonable.

The punch line was when she said, “If he has a girlfriend, I’m okay with it. He can do whatever he wants with his energy.” My dad has no energy and can barely make it to have dinner with my mom every night!

Judy

Ps. Laughter is such a great thing!

A snapshot I made from my parents’ wedding movies.

“She wants you to feel better!”

On Feb 28, 2011, Erin wrote:

I cried listening to your song, Judy. Thank you for sharing it with me. It was incredibly touching, and brought me a release. It sounded like my mom, so identical in love. I miss her so much. The pain has been eating me up on the inside. I cry out for her, knowing she is gone. I loved her so much.

I am in so much pain from my back right now that it’s just plain, downright difficult to go on. I don’t know how I am even making it. I never eat. My mind is hurting from so much grief. I better stop now before I lose it completely.

Erin

Dear Erin,

I want to write to you about your pain. Your mother’s love is what is going to help you survive. With your eyes closed, I want you to feel her love surrounding you. Listen for her voice. I am certain she would tell you that if you ate something you would feel better. She wants you to feel better! She wants you not to be in pain over her death. There must be a way to alleviate your back pain – something that could help you feel better if you are open to that.

Your mother’s legacy is within you!  You carry her memory and her love. You have a lot to give and could help a lot of other people who are grieving. First, your survival is the most important. I know you will survive and come out of this – but it’s such a painful road and there is no timetable.

One day, when the sun is shining and you’ve survived – you will realize what a gift of strength your mom gave you.

With love, Judy

Judy,
 it is just so hard. I am going to try to remember what you are saying to help me get through this. I could not sleep last night. I have had chronic back pain for eleven years, including two surgeries. I fear the worst with all of this. It is so cold and gloomy today. The cold, brittle wind tosses me to and fro. You are a good person. I am so glad you’re here. 
Hugs, 
Erin


Erin,

Your physical pain makes your grief that much harder – I am so, so sorry. Have you ever tried hypnotherapy? It helped me a lot with my grief.

Thank you for your compliments about my being a good person and that you are glad I’m here. I didn’t always feel glad to be here. I suffered a lot. But now that I am happy again, I like to give other people hope that some day they might feel better.

Love, Judy

Judy, you are a wonderful person. Thank you for giving of yourself. I’ve not tried hypnotherapy. I am curious. I will ask my psychologist about it this Thursday. Your support is like a strong hand that lifts me up. 
Love,
 Erin


Oh Erin, I’m so glad that I’ve helped you.

Many people do not understand what hypnotherapy is about. So much of it has helped me with a positive attitude. Having more upbeat thoughts translated to feeling better for me. Our subconscious controls so much of how we feel. We are used to what is familiar and trauma buries itself in there. Even being conscious of this, doesn’t allow for change. Hypnosis accesses the subconscious and allows for amazing results – if you are open to it.

In the meantime, many changes happen when you start to control your thoughts. Focus on “filtering out” anything that is negative and leads to sadness. Find those rays of white light that your mother is sending you.

With love, Judy

I picture with my mom from about seventeen years ago. Wow, did I have “big hair” and a big head!

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. 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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