Judy smiling at the beach

My daughter took this picture of me last week in Carpinteria. I did not take out any wrinkles (I’m 51). Okay, I did Photoshop out the oil rigs and swimmers behind me!


Below is a link to the story of “Music From Her Heart,” for which this post was named:


“She didn’t believe sorrow would leave”


It was very painful for me to see my father in agony when I visited him at the hospital on Saturday night. He adamantly told me he was done with hospitals and procedures. He said he was ready to die would not endure any further surgeries.


Although I could have argued more with him about his decision, I listened instead. He moaned in terrible pain, and those moments made me cry. When he begged me to understand his feelings and not be discouraged, I told him I would try.


It was very sad for me to see my father in this condition.


He said, “Is there any way for you to drive me back to the facility if I could be released sooner than Monday?” I told him I was willing to do whatever he wanted.


As I left the hospital, I quickly attached myself to my IPod. The melodies of my “musical elixir” spread throughout my body and soon my pain was gone. I floated into the sky above me as I walked to my car.

Normally, when I see younger pictures of my parents I say, “I’d like to remember them this way.” However, with this glamor shot – they never looked like this!

“She found her insight”


On Sunday morning when I saw Connie, I was beaming. I hugged her tightly and felt so close to her. My heart was overflowing.


I had many things to tell her; my prior week had been very full. Even though my life was quite busy, my overall mood was one of clarity and calmness. I felt upbeat, and was amazed at how well I was coping with my father’s situation.


I shared with Connie that on my way to our appointment, I had received a very exciting call. My college art teacher, Nancy, was visiting Los Angeles from New Jersey. She invited me to have lunch. After my appointment with Connie, I would see Nancy.


I had not seen Nancy in at least twenty years!

I described to Connie how I visualized myself dealing with my current life. I used the metaphor of running a marathon. I had abundant energy and as I encountered horrific roadblocks in my path, I continued running. I was also running through long, dark tunnels. But my focus was on the beautiful sunlight streaming through and awaiting me at the end of those tunnels. As I ran, music played for me. I had an angel on my shoulder.


I shared with Connie how a few days earlier, a good friend had listened to a portion of some audio stories from my book. My friend called me immediately after listening to Jason’s story. She was very emotional and said forcefully, “I must have the rest of your book. As we drove to San Diego, my whole family was totally mesmerized and crying as we listened to your voice. We all felt as if we were right there with you!”


Despite the challenges I continued to face, I loved my journey. It was easy for me to stay positive with all the encouragement I continued to receive surrounding my writing and music, I told Connie.


As I left her guesthouse, I beamed and marveled at my blessed existence.

“The editor and my editing”

This coming Thursday, I will be meeting with my editor. While I’ve been waiting to get her feedback on my book, I’ve been devoting myself to creating new vocals for many of my songs. I am especially pleased with how much my theme song, Music From Her Heart has improved.


Just like when I learned Photoshop, I have become very adept at working on the computer with my digital vocal recordings. I paste miniscule areas of vocals to replace words and syllables that don’t have what I consider my best tone.


In the end, it only works well with lyrics that have “the vibe.” The best vocal technique is completely bland if I don’t inject total feeling into my lyrics. Unfortunately, singing in a hot closet doesn’t always bring out my best vocals, but I do love singing!


Also, my improvement is something that I could never, ever have imagined in a million years!


Below is an example of how I work with vocals on Garage Band. I can now identify the sound of words by their shape, which makes it easier to replace them. I simply drag words that I’ve sung better from other tracks onto a “Main Line” track. I plan to learn Protools soon.

This is exactly how a vocal line looks. I listen closely to every line I sing in my songs. No more “pitchy stuff!” The “S” sound is a pain, especially if it is loud and sibilant (or hissy); visually they are oval with spikes.

For fun, I am sharing an example of how I still utilize Photoshop with a photo where I told my tennis friends I could get us all in one picture.

The two “before” pictures. My tennis friends from left to right; Lori, me, Debby, and Silvina.

I made sure to soften Debbie’s arm and add some shadow onto Silvina. I fixed the background, too, since the leaves were a different color between the two photos.

On Aug 21, 2011, Sam wrote:


Hi Judy, I would try to get those stones out ASAP…all of them.  They are probably the source of his recurrent infections.  Sam


Hi Sam,


I wondered what your thoughts were.


I would imagine his catheter is also another source for his infections. He will still have the prostate problem and catheter once the stones are removed.


He’s in a lot of pain from his two, “less invasive” procedures this week. It’s hard to convince him to go through even more pain in order to get better. I said, “Dad, if you want to die quickly then just do the surgery. It could happen, but at least there’s a chance for a better life.”


I sure wish his surgeon had succeeded. He guaranteed my father he was going to succeed the second time. My dad now feels his ego was involved; this doctor wanted to prove he could succeed unlike the first surgeon. Unfortunately, he achieved the same result after two attempts, as well.


Hopefully, my dad will change his mind. He sure hates being in a hospital, though. He says they wake him up ever twenty minutes and he has been unable to rest at all. Thanks for your advice, as always!


Take care, Judy


Message last night to my brothers:


I just got back from seeing dad. I know you wanted an update. It’s hard for me to write anything positive; I’m feeling discouraged.


Dad was very uncomfortable and seething at his situation. He said he’s all done with hospitals. He said, “I’m ready to die; I don’t want anything else done for me anymore.” Then he begged me to take him out as soon as possible. He told me that if I would get him released and drive him back to his nursing facility, he would be forever grateful. I’m willing to drive him if he’s released. Actually, I think he can be released if I sign a paper saying we release the hospital of any liability.


I tried to talk him into having more surgery, but to no avail. Dad told me not to be discouraged. I really didn’t know what to say.


Love, Judy

Ps. I’m sad.


Don’t sign the release. Dad may be discouraged but his reaction is impulsive. Once he is well and this is behind him he can get on with his life. Howard


Hi How,


Dad can sign his own release; he’s of sound mind. He called me and said he didn’t want to burden me by driving him to his facility. He will probably be released tomorrow.


He is very happy to get out of the hospital. It’s his life and his choice to decide what he wants to do.

Love, Judy

My father has had enough.

© Judy Unger and 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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