I began packing my things today. I plan to move in mid-October after I have my second cataract surgery on October 10th.

Clicking on the blue link below plays an instrumental version of my song The Door:

THE DOOR INSTRUMENTAL-Copyright 2012 by J, Unger

On Wednesday, I performed at my temple. I was one of several people providing a “workshop,” and I had one hour to share my music and optimism. For several days, I selected and practiced 8-10 of my songs so I could sing them smoothly. I know all of my songs by heart and there are a lot of chords and lyrics for me to keep track of with almost forty of them!

Only eight people showed up for my workshop – and five of them were friends of mine. I didn’t mind.


My friends were eager to hear me play and I loved singing my heart out.


It surprised me that I became too emotional to sing my song “Set You Free.” That particular song had many layers and held deep meaning for me. I choked through the tears and plucked my guitar until I was able to sing again. It took almost a full minute for me to recover. Four months ago, I performed “Set You Free” at my father’s funeral and now I appreciated how calm I was on that day.


My good friend, Sonia, was there to watch me. She has always been extremely supportive of my writing and music. Sonia is a Holocaust Survivor and I have written stories about our friendship:



That very same evening Sonia invited me to join her for dinner with a few other friends. Sonia is very direct and honest with her words; sometimes I am taken aback by how she says things. When I joined her at the restaurant, she insisted I was her guest and that she was treating me. I didn’t allow it and she said, “Well, then I won’t ever be inviting you again!” I hoped she didn’t mean that.


A year ago, she told me with complete candor that I must play my song “Alabaster Seashell” at her funeral someday. Her request was so touching! I quickly answered, “Of course,” but it was too surreal to even imagine it.

Because of my good friend, I also attended a very inspirational lecture last week. Sonia was part of a panel of ten speakers. The lecture was entitled “One Amazing Community” and an advertisement for it read: “Come hear ten amazing people tell their uplifting stories. Learn how they turned tragedy into triumph.”


The room was filled with well over a hundred people. It was electrifying to hear each person speak and every story was absolutely amazing. When it was Sonia’s turn, she sounded calm and assured even though I knew she had been very nervous beforehand.

It was quite a coincidence for me that Sonia’s family had been slaughtered at the same time on the Jewish calendar as when my son, Jason, died. She grew up as an orphan and the main emphasis of her story was about how she educated herself. She did it with dedication and perseverance and was rightfully proud of what she had achieved.

I ate up the stories and words told by each panelist, but my attention became riveted with one particular anecdote told by a young woman. Her name was Luda and she had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. When I attended the grief organization, Compassionate Friends, I remember well a mother who grieved her infant child that had died from SMA. Luda explained how she was fortunate to have Type 3 SMA, which allowed her to live beyond her teens.

Her anecdote began with the mention of a “large and scary brown door.” How interesting that she mentioned a door. For over a week, I had begun singing vocals for one of my songs, which was named “The Door.” My ears perked up and I wondered where she was going with her story.


Luda had an apartment and was a graduate student. She said that her happiness and gratefulness came from the fact that she was able to live independently, without relying on anyone to help her get around. Her appreciation of that was boundless.

What was inspirational was that she did this while being confined to a wheelchair and with the use of only one hand. The door she mentioned was one that blocked her way every morning after she exited her apartment. It was heavy and with her one arm she just couldn’t find a way to turn the handle.


She described how she would wait and listen – hoping that someone would be coming from the other side to open the door for her. Her heart would pound as she waited and prayed she wouldn’t be late for class.


It tested her patience, but she was determined to solve this problem on her own. She beamed as she said, “One day, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this door stop me anymore. I purchased a rope and I was able to figure out a way to loop it over the handle. Then I put the rope in my mouth and pulled on it with my teeth – after that, I could push the door open!”


She added, “I decided that the door represented an obstacle in my life that I was able to solve. There are always opportunities in life to overcome challenges, and that leads to personal freedom.”

I loved her story. I thought about my song “The Door” – my lyrics were about my reasons for leaving and the truth that I had already left in my heart.

But I was struggling because my door seemed overwhelming. With my eyesight compromised, I was frustrated. Although I knew it was courageous, going through the front door to end my marriage was probably the biggest step I’d ever taken in my entire life.

Lately, it was getting harder for me to be patient with my eyesight. I couldn’t think of moving until all of my eye surgeries were behind me. As a result, I was still sleeping in the same bed with my husband and several months had gone by since I’d announced that I wanted to separate. Once I went through my door, I would be leaving the pain behind that confronted and assaulted me on a daily basis.

Luda was right about finding personal freedom by overcoming obstacles. Although she had patience and waited for a moment where someone might help her, it was her determination to take action that made the difference. Luda lived with daily challenges that I couldn’t even imagine. If she was able to smile so broadly and appreciate her freedom, then I certainly could also!

A few days later, I began to sort through my clothes. It was the beginning and a good place to start. My determination became action!

I would not have much of a closet in the coop where I was moving. I planned to discard more than two-thirds of the clothes in my closet.


I had many sentimental items, even though I hadn’t worn them in years. I decided I would save the black dress my mother had once borrowed from me. What really confronted me was how many items were far too small. There were tennis outfits that hadn’t been worn in over a decade. I was heartsick about my current state, because I was heavier than I had been in many years. When I began my blog, I had begun to lose weight very easily. I was euphoric with the entire process of opening up. But that changed with my clarity and awareness that I was living in a very sad situation. Not long ago, I wrote notes out to describe the emotions that I experienced with the revelation that I could turn my life around and end my marriage.

I love this image because I remember well how exciting it was to backpack into the wilderness. I want to view my new life the same way.

My musical life provided an interesting script for me this past week as I continued to record vocals for my song “The Door.” It was a challenging song to sing and had an extended range of high and low notes. The lyric line about restoring my soul felt awkward, even though it expressed my feelings. I felt I could certainly find a better lyric line.


I searched for a replacement rhyme that wasn’t as awkward. Nothing came to me. I decided to just go into the studio and sing. Sometimes when I sang, I just closed my eyes and let the words fall out of my mouth. My subconscious always held the answer for me.


It finally was revealed. When I recorded a replacement lyric line last week, my song felt much more solid. My subconscious spoke to me with:

“I knew I was worth more, so I went through that door.”

Clicking the blue links below plays recent discussions about my music with my vocal coach, Peaches Chrenko:

Peaches Lesson 9/20/12 Excerpt 1

Peaches Lesson 9/20/12 Excerpt 2

With this picture, I see myself being the one in front and ready to slide. My brothers are both behind me and my mom is lurking in the background. My mother is still alive and although I’ve lost her to dementia – I still feel her behind me, especially now. Both my brothers have reached out to me also.

I was tired of feeling lousy. It was within my own power to help myself feel better. A good start would be to stop overeating. I was only punishing myself. I knew my husband and children viewed me as being completely selfish. They didn’t have the foresight to think things might actually be better in the future.


My husband was a good man and he deserved someone who would give him companionship. I wasn’t leaving him for someone else. I just wanted to be in a place of peace. I couldn’t live with his suffocating unhappiness and lack of affection anymore.

I was worth more.

A recent card from Sonia.

© 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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