This morning a journalist from Brazil interviewed me. He was writing an article about my illustrations for a newspaper there. I casually asked his readership, and he said about one million people. I answered a lot of questions about by art career, but also mentioned my writing and music. I told him, “I’m not making money right now, and I love sharing. I want people to know that there can be so much meaning from life when a career ends. It caused me to reevaluate my life and discover so much joy with my newfound passions!
I composed an “almost,” new song last week that will be the basis for my book. The song is named “Music From Her Heart.”
I made some great progress on my book because I was productive with my writing energy.
My mother had more physical therapy, but this time without as much terror. She took a few steps. She has not been complaining of physical pain as much, lately.
My mother went out to lunch with my brothers, father, and her caregiver last week and the week before. Transporting her wheelchair worked out and she did okay, despite her fatigue.
I am performing this Sunday at a friend’s synagogue, and I will be paid! The best part is that I can play and talk freely about my music, which is something I love to do.
My mother’s dementia was noticeably worse last week.
I accidentally deleted my one and only external hard-drive that held all of my high-resolution art files while trying to copy it.
I yelled out when I caught our little Chihuahua, Killer, peeing on the wall. I smirked as my husband lectured the dog with; “I’m not letting you in my bedroom tonight to cuddle with me! That is your punishment for not using your pee pad!”
I have had difficulty keeping up with everything.
I remember when I first began my blog a little over a year ago. I wrote almost every day and even had headings for the time of day I wrote about! There was so much inside of me that I wanted to share; I was truly exploding. I certainly wrote several days a week.
Lately, it has been hard for me to write any updates.
It’s probably because I have been trying very hard to consolidate all of my writing energy into crafting my book.
On top of that, because I’m still passionate about my music, I continue to compose and perform my songs.
I decided to come up with a metaphor about writing my book.
My blog is like a vast refrigerator, full of wonderful food. However, I have become the “cook” now, and there is a lot of energy involved in sorting through that refrigerator to find out which items to cook and what recipes to use.
I love writing new things, but I hesitate if I am adding “junk food” to my refrigerator. I allow myself to write updates surrounding my mother, but I’ve added perimeters. My writing must now be “useful” for my book or especially meaningful. “Junk food” distracts me from my more important “serious cooking.”
When I feel the need for distraction, it has been far easier for me to work on my art blog. There has been a lot of interest in my illustration career, and I enjoy sharing about it. I can work on it without any emotional connection, and sometimes that’s just what I need to do.
But today, I am going to allow myself the therapy of writing.
I want to write about my wish for a “history eraser.”
It is absolutely fitting for me to mention this wonderful tool that exists as something very useful when I work on my computer with Photoshop.
I’ve often wished there was a way to reverse a moment in time the same way!
This past week I had a “computer moment” where I wished I had done things differently.
I know I can’t go backward, so as I move forward I try to learn from mistakes. No matter what happens in my life, I am always searching for lessons and meaning.
First and foremost, yesterday I accidentally deleted an external, hard-drive that contained all of my high-resolution art files and much of my music. Many files were scans of artwork that I spent well over a year creating. However, I hardly ever access those files much anymore.
I had some copies of those files in other places – but not of everything. I lost many things I know I will miss. What was the lesson for me about this? Obviously, so many things in my life were not within my control. However, this was something, which could have been prevented – hence, I wish I could use a history eraser to erase the moment when I clicked on the wrong drive to reformat!
One thing that stands out for me is how powerful the subconscious is. I knew how important my computer drive was. I was actually trying to copy it when I accidentally erased it.
My greatest fear happened – as if I was almost anticipating it!
I’ve decided to look at this as something that allows me to be very human – because I am certainly not alone in doing this. Backup recovery services exist because a lot of people come to them just like me!
Now I have to decide how much money I am willing to pay for “recovery,” versus accepting those files are gone.
I’ve also decided to focus on all the items I still have that were not erased. There is a lot of relief around that for me.
Also, because I have experienced loss and have grieved; I am always reminded about what is truly important in life.
“An almost forgotten melody”
I arrived at my tennis game yesterday morning in a state of agitation and shock over deleting my important files.
Before I even had said hello, I was admonished for my behavior the prior week. I was told, “You are here to play tennis! Please – no composing songs while you are playing. We want you here!”
I smiled with the reminder of how I heard my latest song’s lyrics in my head while playing tennis last week. I worked hard not to forget the wonderful lines that were going through my mind as I was hitting a tennis ball.
It translated to a less than optimal tennis game. I promised my friends I would focus and not think about my computer problems. I played better than I expected.
For me, the composition of a new song was another example of the power of my subconscious mind. Last week, the discovery of a new song surprised me and was totally unexpected.
It also reminded me that my wedding song was not the last song I wrote, and that was a revelation. I wrote that melody when I was alone illustrating after I was married. An old, song sheet with an almost forgotten melody evolved into a song that would carry the title of my book.
It would be a song about my transformation and it expressed all my joy and feelings surrounding it!
I will be writing more about my new song soon. I saw Peaches last Friday and I will share some clips here. I gave Peaches a copy of her vocal inserted into my “improved” arrangement of “Saying Goodbye.”
I recently invested in a new microphone and plan to do a lot more acoustic and home recordings.
“The difference she has made in my life”
Miriam told me my mother was sleeping when I called. We talked for a while and it was nice. Miriam shared with me that when she wasn’t there on her days off, she was worried about my mom.
She mentioned how she knew what my mom was feeling just by the expressions on her face. I understood well what she meant. Then Miriam said, “I’ve never met anyone like your mother with such a big heart. I am so in awe of her.”
My mom might have been quite different now due to her dementia, but I was so grateful that she didn’t have difficulty expressing love.
I felt tears choke my voice when I told Miriam how I was so devoted to my mother when she was sick, but now I’ve been busy living and enjoying my life.
It was due to the fact that I knew she was well cared for by Miriam.
It became a good time for me to thank her for the difference she has made in my life – and my mother’s.
There was also no doubt how important Miriam was to my father. She told me how she was so impressed by his devotion to my mother. Then, she shared with me his level or irritably and fatigue. She gave me the example of how he would deliver an adjusted, hearing aid to my mother’s room, but be “too tired” to say hello to her in the dining room.
My mother would be very upset knowing he came by without any acknowledgement; she couldn’t accept that he didn’t want to make the time to at least say hello to her.
Miriam said to me coyly, “I pushed your mother’s wheelchair to where Mr. Lee was and I told him to say hello – even though he wasn’t happy about it!”
We both agreed that my father would be lost without having my mother to worry about, despite his gruff demeanor.
Then with complete honesty, Miriam confessed, “Judy, I don’t know how I will manage when I don’t have your mom to care for. It will be so hard for me when she’s gone.”
“How I am blessed”
My writing had felt disjointed. In the beginning of my post, I already had compared it to “junk food,” but allowed myself the therapy to express my feelings surrounding my complicated life.
I was having a lot of difficult deciding on what to name my post. What could pull everything together? Suddenly, I found my insight. I decided to name my post “How She Was Blessed,” which was a line from my new song.
To have a caregiver like Miriam for my mother reminded me of that.
But then, the revelation came to me after I corresponded last night with my dear friend, Magda, who suffers terribly from the progression of MS.
On March 28, 2011, Magda wrote:
I DON’T KNOW IF YOU GOT MY LAST MESSAGE..UNFORTUNATELY I AM NOT DOING WELL LATELY…..THE MS IS PROGRESSING, HARDLY STAND-UP, BACK PAINS, BURNINGS, ONLY 4 HRS. SLEEP…VITAL SIGNS AND ALL THE TESTS CAME OUT OK…I DON’T KNOW WHAT CAN I DO …WAITING, PRAYING AND HOPING FOR BETTER..THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONCERN AND LOVE ……..I LOVE YOU TOO AND WAITING FOR YOUR BOOK AND LOVELY SONGS……..LOVE, MAGDA
Oh Magda – I am so sorry to hear that you are not doing well. I can only imagine you are struggling to do basic things. Please hang in there. I got your last message, and I am sorry I didn’t respond. I love you and am very concerned about you.
I am going to mail you out a CD very soon. The book will take a while, but I am so excited when I can share it with you. Hang in there my dear friend. I will pray for you.
MY DEAR JUDY, I READ YOUR MESSAGE ABOUT LOSING YOUR COMPUTER FILES. EVERYTHING IS RECOVERABLE …YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, WITHOUT THIS NOTHING MATTERS ANYMORE! LOVE, MAGDA
That is so true, Magda! No one could say that with more meaning than you. I accept that this is truly recoverable and I am not going to waste my energy feeling bad about it anymore. I am healthy, thank god!
I wish I could make you healthy again or do something that could take away your pain. I wish, I wish!!!!
BRAVO JUDY, YOU ARE SO SMART, YOU KNOW WHAT A REAL LOSS IS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR WISH, WISH…
I LOVE YOU, MAGDA
You’re welcome, Magda. It is true. Once you experience real loss, it helps to make coping with superficial things easier.
© 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.