When my oldest son was cleaning out my parents’ coop/apartment, he found this sign in my old bedroom. I’m glad he saved it for me. I am still smiling and posed for this in the patio of the place I plan to move to soon.

“Helping me cope, my dream gives me hope”


There was no question that this was probably one of the more difficult times in my life. It was certainly not the most difficult.


The word “temporary” became my mantra.


I was determined to stay positive and especially appreciated having my music as a blessing to uplift me. Our mindset definitely affects how we feel. For several days, I had been using so much self-talk that my mind was noisier than an auditorium. I had missed several important appointments, so it was clear that I was not “on the ball.” My mind was a chatterbox as my thoughts were all wrestling with each other.


I felt sad when I remembered how not long ago I looked forward to waking up and facing each day. But now, every morning when I opened my eyes I felt frustrated.


It was ironic that I had complained about my eyesight when I still had vision in my left eye while wearing a hard contact lens. The size discrepancy had bothered me between my new eye (after cataract surgery) and old one.


Well, this new discrepancy was so huge that it reminded me of when I had migraine headaches as a child.


I had chosen to be blind in my left eye that was awaiting cataract surgery.


I was able to replace the frustration I felt, with relief that this was not a migraine. It was TEMPORARY, but a month was a long time to exist this way. Yet I was determined to get through it.


I was very disappointed when my eye surgeon called and recommended postponing the second eye surgery. Only a few days before, I was told that my left eye had astigmatism and there would be an additional $1,000 charge to correct it. It was definitely time to have some chocolate.


The surgeon postponed things because he wanted to take new measurements of my left eye. Because I had worn a hard contact lens, it would take three weeks for my eye to return to its normal shape. This was a no-brainer – if I continued to wear a hard lens in order to see, then my surgery would only be further delayed. I immediately stopped wearing it, without even discussing that option with my doctor.


He said I could wear a soft lens instead, although with a prescription of over 1,400 diopters, a soft lens wouldn’t be that great. I would be contacted for an appointment. After several days, I called to find out why I hadn’t heard anything. It was so difficult to live this way! Finally, my call was returned and the soonest available appointment was ten days later, with no guarantee that lenses were in stock.


I was glad I had followed my gut instincts to move the process along. I could not afford to wait.


My children were angry with me. Over the past few days there had been several awful exchanges with each one of them, which left me emotionally exhausted. Seeing the pain that I had inflicted upon them became almost too much to bear. Although my family had sympathy for my eye situation, I had ruined their comfortable existence. I understood. I accepted it.


I was alone with my feelings. Sometimes I really missed my parents, but they would have worried about me far too much. My dad had died only four months ago. My mother might have sensed something was going on, but her dementia had worsened. When we went out for lunch, I openly discussed things in front of her with my brother. I was actually glad she was clueless and never imagined there would be a positive side to her dementia. Thankfully, she wasn’t grieving my father or worrying about her children.


I had wonderful friends who were all reaching out to me. It sure helped. But my home was not safe for me. It was filled with pain.


I did not handle conflict well. I began to imagine I was a young child who wanted to run away. The feeling of wanting to escape was actually scary because then I would hurt those I loved even more. That led to guilt, which was something I had been wrestling with over and over.


My self-worth was at its lowest point.


It was true that I didn’t have significant income, a regular job. I had passionately devoted myself to music and writing. My “noble cause” of inspiring other people meant little to my family. I was simply a menopausal and selfish middle-aged woman.


A few days earlier, my husband explained to me that every receipt would be examined and then he would reimburse me. It was extremely uncomfortable, but totally understandable. He opened his own checking account and transferred his paycheck to it. We no longer shared any credit cards.


I had gone from feeling anguish over hurting those I loved, to feeling angry. My anger had me imagining a new scenario. I would just leave everyone to manage without me. It would be less expensive not to lug food from Costco, nor to charge it on my very own charge card.


I realized that my anger had led me to a place of feeling vindictive.


Even though it felt like my heart was exploding with anger, I didn’t want to punish my children or my husband. It was totally understandable for them to be upset with the current situation. They were already hurting and I didn’t need to prove my worth to them.


The power of positive thinking definitely was needed now. I decided to replace the word “vindictive” with “strength.” This was an opportunity for me dig deep. Being half-blind did not make me helpless unless I allowed it.


And nothing was going to stop me from believing in my dream!


It was now time for me to open my own bank account.


My husband had told me to let him know whenever I would be taking money out. I had already discussed with him that I planned to open an account soon with $1,000. I called him as I was driving to the bank.


It was not a pleasant phone call and I had to wipe away tears before getting out of my car. Later on, he apologized to me.


I gathered my strength and went inside the bank. A nice young man came over to help me. I let him know that maybe I could receive an award for the most accounts. I had accounts with: my husband, my mother, my father, my children, my mother and father, and my older brother.


I told him I had eyesight issues, because I had to examine the paperwork within an inch of my left eye. Then I shared with him that the reason for this additional account was because I was going through a divorce. I could tell he felt sorry for me.


Another woman banker joined him for a moment. She looked over at me and said, “Did you know you have a great smile?” My eyes watered with her words – if she only knew what I was going through. I was amazed that I still could still smile.


When she left, I quietly confided to the young man that I could smile because of the music that filled my heart and elevated my life. When he asked what instrument I played, I told him I played an acoustic steel-string guitar. He said he loved guitar and looked forward to reading my blog and listening to my music. As I left the bank, I felt inspired. I had touched a stranger in the short time we spent together.

This picture brings back memories of my having a puppy named “Teddy.” I am standing in front of the coop apartment building where I grew up, which is still painted the exact same color! I lived there from the time I was an infant until I was married at 21. Now I will be going back there at the age of 52.

After that, I went into a home improvement warehouse and spent two hours going down a long list of items that I needed in order to move. I filled up my shopping cart with a toilet seat and window blinds; I ordered a new oven and looked at shower door options.


My step was swift and confident and suddenly I felt energy surging within me. I realized that the intense ache and pain I had suffered with earlier in the day had eased. It was definitely due to my using positive thinking and word replacement.


I chuckled with some of the imagery that had helped me. At one point, I imagined myself crying on the floor and opening a can of spinach like in a Popeye cartoon. With that spinach, I had suddenly jumped into action with determination to move forward.

I am in the same backyard as the picture that is at the top of this post. In this picture I am about 12-years-old.

After today, it will be the end of one week coping with two different eyes. I have only 19 more days to go until my second eye surgery.


Instead of being angry, I have decided that my husband actually did me a favor by pushing me to move out sooner and separate our money. I am not half blind. I am definitely strong and this is an opportunity for me to embrace it!

I am not imagining myself running away anymore. Instead, I am preparing myself to board a tiny ship that will sail off to a beautiful and unknown destination.

I love “tea-bag quotations.” I often save them and this one was very special for me. The word “tune” and “unknown” stand out for me.

© Judy Unger and 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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  1. cindy fisher says:

    I admire your strength! good luck to you with the surgery. If you need anything, let me know. If you ever want to talk, call me I’m on the same ship!


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