“The first step . . .”

I was burning. I had accidentally set the fire, and as a result, I now had to flee. There was no time left to contemplate how I was lost anymore. Intense pain filled my soul and I had to save myself; I could not rescue anyone. With my eyes closed, I charged forward and ignored the pain.


Relief filled my body as the heat dissipated. I was amazed to discover that I had covered miles and miles of distance. For such a long time, I was circling an endless meadow.


The smoke began to clear away, and a castle became visible in the distance. It wasn’t far away anymore. I was overcome with awe as I took in its breathtaking beauty.


I looked behind me to see a barren landscape. I couldn’t believe I had survived something so scary. There was no going back, and I would only have memories of my journey. But I did not feel doubtful, and I was stronger than before.


I never wanted to hurt those I loved. They were worried about me, even if they were angry and blamed me for the fire. My bravery would allow them to follow their own path. I was confident that one day, we would all come together again. Without the fire, they might have stayed forever in an empty meadow.


Leaving the past behind was difficult. The present held unbelievable struggles. But now a beautiful future was possible. I was certain that I would reach my castle. And my husband and children would find their own castles, too.


I took the first step so that they could follow me.


“Judy of the Past, Present and Future”


I had no idea when I began my writing journey where it would go. But from the beginning, I had a clear vision that it was going to take me to places I could never have imagined.


I have been living in an eerie dimension where I am able to visualize my past, present and future simultaneously.


For a long time, I have been writing in parables, because I could not truly share what has been going on in my life. I wrote “The First Step” two weeks ago, while I was anguished about my circumstances. I wrote the poem titled “Empty Spaces” five months before that and it became the basis for my song named “The Door.”


There has always been an amazing amount of prophecy with the songs I’ve written; I consider them my life’s script. I often hear a voice telling me what to write and I’ve always wondered whose voice I am hearing. Now I’ve decided that voice is from “Judy of the Future.” In high school, I often wrote to her in my diary and once I was married that stopped.


Lately, she has been speaking to me.


My health has been affected by a tremendous amount of stress in my life. Challenges are familiar for me and I’ve had my share.


However, there are challenges that are thrown at us and then there are hurdles that result from making a major decision; change is something that can be so difficult that most humans avoid it at any cost.


There is a high price, though, for not being willing to change. What is familiar and painful simply stays that way and I believe life is too short to accept that!


We can only change ourselves and I have never felt the desire to change someone else to satisfy my needs. I’ve spent decades trying to make everyone around me happy, and at the age of 52 – well, I’ve decided that I have fulfilled my responsibilities.


I am living with the pain of following through to change my life completely. I never expected I would do this. After 31 years of marriage, I told my husband that I wanted a divorce.


As I witness the intense suffering of both my husband and my children, I have not felt any wavering that I have made the right decision.

We didn't fight

I am good at making lists. On my list of reasons to stay married – there was medical insurance to consider. At the moment, I cannot see well. I still went ahead and made my decision anyway. Judy of the Future kept telling me that everything would be ok.

I was relieved to find out last night, that the results from an MRI of my brain were normal. I have faith that I am going to be fine. It seems likely that my eye problem could be the result of cataracts, and I will have further tests to confirm if that is indeed the problem.

My Parents, Norm & I in Yosemite

A family vacation to Yosemite – paradise when I was a child, because I didn’t have to worry about anything.

Over the past two years, I was heartbroken as I watched both my mother and father decline. They have disappeared from my life (my mother is still alive, but her dementia has reduced her to a child), but with their absence I have adapted.

I believe in what I am doing and have learned to be my own best friend.

As long as I can continue to write and compose music, my joy will prevail. Those two things are like breathing for me. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue to write while in my marriage. I was sad and lonely, and even though I was financially free to pursue what I loved – I felt I couldn’t do it anymore.

I decided that I prefer to live simply and even struggle financially, in order to be able to express myself honestly.

I am hoping that my children will understand and adjust in time. Because they are older, I am very fortunate. I am also grateful for the many resources available to me at this stage in my life. As I clean out my parents’ coop, I have made a decision to live there temporarily. My parents are still there for me – after all.

There are no regrets for me about staying in my marriage too long. I was an advocate for my children and a caregiver to my parents. It was impossible for me to consider leaving my marriage with all that I was dealing with. Although I was miserable, I was terrified to admit failure and face my fear of being alone.

But things are different now and once I realized that fear was holding me back – I gathered my strength. Finally, I just could not wait any longer. Most of my pain involved finding the courage to tell my husband. I didn’t want to hurt him or my children.

Judy of the Future reminded me that the present would be difficult, but it was temporary and over time, it would be better for my entire family.

Yes, our dog “Killer” looks sad. He is resting on my pillow, but 99% of the time he is yapping so loud that I cannot carry on a conversation with my husband or children. I will not miss him.

“Judy of the Past, Present and Future”

My father died less than two months ago, but I have hardly cried. I miss him, yet sometimes I feel guilty to admit that I do not miss the suffering man I cared for over the past six months. I plan to continue to update my blog whenever I can. I will end my post by returning to Judy of the Past.


I am reliving memories now as I wade through the abundant memorabilia my father collected and saved. Beyond seeing all of my schoolwork and report cards, I have found treasures on paper that I know will inspire me to write for many years. Although I have shed few tears for my dad, some of the documents I am sharing below caused my tears to flow.


For many years, my father taught math at L.A. City College in the evenings. I came across a folder filled with his teaching paperwork, as well as evaluations and special cards from his students. When I read the many touching words written by his students, a sob did escape from me. Those beautiful statements made me even prouder of my dad.



I have never taken a course anywhere even in my earlier years where a teacher could be so great. I’ve taken a couple of Algebra courses and I have never passed it with a passing grade. But thanks to Mr. L. Goodman for the first time, I’m going to get an “A” in Algebra. We can sure use a lot of these kinds of teachers in this college.



I would like to take this opportunity to commend Mr. Goodman. This gentleman is by far, the most considerate, compassionate, helpful, self-sacrificing instructor by whom I have ever been taught. Fortunately, I have not needed special attention or help, but, for many of my classmates who have needed special attention, Mr. Goodman has never failed to spend extra time with them during class, nor has he ever failed to remain after class to help.

Mr. Goodman is the first Math instructor that I have had in my life (I’m 45) that is really interested in his students and their growth and learning this normally dull subject.


Clicking on this makes it larger.

I wrote about the fact that my mother insisted I be married before my actual wedding. That story is a#150 A BEAUTIFUL START.

 It is interesting for me how my past has repeated itself. I remember breaking up with Mike when we were dating and so many of the feelings in the present remind me of the past. Keeping the secret about my untimely wedding also reminded me of how burdened I’ve been with my decision to end my marriage. For over a year, I’ve suffered with keeping my feelings hidden from him. I wrote songs to help me; my lyrics were very concise and simple and expressed my feelings perfectly.


The paper I found above titled “Forced Marriage,” were notes my father must have taken at a therapy session that I insisted my parents attend. At that time, I expressed my anger toward them about forcing me to marry before my wedding date. In my father’s notes, I believe the word “whore” refers to what my mother called me. She was upset that I was not a virgin even though at that time I was engaged. The sentences “growth is painful” and “can’t be alone” carry deep meaning for me. My dad also wrote “I’m sorry.” He often cried to me to express his regret about not standing up to my mother.


There is also a sentence that says, “I hate art.” I do remember finding myself unhappy as an artist because of the constant pressure to perform and please. With my current passions, I feel more creative than I ever felt as an artist. But most importantly, with writing and music I am able release all of my pain.


Despite sharing something as personal as that incident from my life, it is important that I also convey that I have forgiven my mother. She was truly sorry, and we became very close after I had children. I am sharing below two cards to her that my father saved.


My post title of empty spaces also refers to the emptiness in my life, of missing my mother and her involvement. But I am also relieved that with her dementia she is not experiencing the pain of my divorce or my father’s death.


Email message to a friend:


I am finding out now that there are many people in my situation who suffer in silence. I plan to begin writing my second book soon about this whole experience. I hope to inspire other people to find the courage to change their life. I know it will be hard, but somehow I feel the unknown has possibilities, whereas “the known” is too sad and lonely for me to live in anymore.


I feel so vulnerable right now, like I just snapped. One day, I was fine with everything – and then suddenly I decided I couldn’t be that accepting person I used to be anymore. I know it happens in many relationships, but I never expected it would happen to me.


My mother has continued to regress. Yesterday, she flushed both her $2,500 hearing aids down the toilet. She was always able to indicate when she needed to use the toilet to poop, but now she has started to go in her diaper regularly. That creates many issues and makes it more difficult to take her out of her nursing home. Children reach milestones such as toilet training, and now my mother has taken another sad step down the staircase toward death.


© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2012. 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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