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Only Tears Home Recording 1-3-17

Only Tears Instrumental 2015



Copyright 2010 by Judy Unger


We were children; we grew up so fast

We were confused; our plans were so vast

With uncertain careers

I want to touch you

But I only feel tears


We were concerned; our future was scary

We were so close; soon I will marry

Childhood disappears . . .

I want to touch you, but I only feel tears


Oh, my friend, it won’t be long

Before our touch is a memory

One day we’ll be older; we’ll know where we are

We’ll still feel our love, though our lives may be far

We were so crazy and I love you today

Will we stay close?

You might move away

With the passage of years . . .

I want to touch you, but I only feel tears


Oh, my friend, it won’t be long

Before our touch is a memory

One day when we’re older; we’ll know where we are

We’ll still feel our love, though our lives may be far


Now that we’re older, our stories are clear

I’ll feel you with me; you may not be near

Our love perseveres

I want to touch you

But I only feel tears

Diary only tears

Music and memories intertwine for me. I can clearly remember when I was twenty.


I lived a lifetime during a single day back then. At the beach with my friends, playing my guitar – I was complete. All of us knew those days were made in heaven.


There was a favorite 70’s song that I always played during that time. It fit in perfectly with the words: “Please, don’t let this feeling end – it’s everything I am, everything I want to be . . .”


Those lyrics were from the theme song “Ice Castles,” also called “Through the Eyes of Love.” My friends would take turns warbling through the verses and together we would all sail along on the chorus. We sang our hearts out and certainly wished those beautiful feelings would never end.


In 1980 six months before my wedding, I composed my song “Only Tears.”


I have so many beautiful memories of singing my song. It was dedicated to all my friends – but I felt it was especially for my friend, Cheryl. She loved this song and I remember when I first composed and shared it with her. Her doe eyes sparkled back at me and I am emotional just remembering that moment.


I even sang my song aloud in the dressing room before my wedding took place.

Then not long after I was married in 1981, my music ended . . .


Until almost 30 years later when I picked up my guitar again in 2010.

Judy's wedding with Cheryl


At the same time I was finalizing my first audio book, I began to select songs for my second book. My most recent song, Angel in the Sky, especially gripped my heart. But I forced myself to continue onward because in addition to writing new songs, I wanted to redo some of the arrangements for my older songs.


I arranged my song “Only Tears” in 2010.  I enjoyed experimenting when I first began arranging songs with George. My first arrangement had a country feel, complete with drums and electric guitar, but didn’t touch me.


I decided I wanted a new arrangement for “Only Tears” that would fulfill my sentimental vision for this song.


“Only Tears” was written during a golden time in my life, shortly before I was married. I sang my song whenever I was with my girlfriends, but my song was a special gift to Cheryl, who was my closest friend at that time. She loved my song and I even made her a painting that incorporated calligraphy of the lyrics. Many years later, Cheryl told me how she often looked at my painting and would always treasure it.


I was graduating college when I wrote “Only Tears,” and my lyrics expressed uncertainty about the future. Because I was getting married, I had some doubts over whether my friendships would endure, and that was the reason for my tears.


Four years after I wrote my song, Cheryl married and moved away. So my song actually was a prophecy, because ultimately I lost touch with almost all of my friends. Yet it was beautiful how later in my life, I reconnected with many of them, including Cheryl.


Cheryl died from breast cancer in 2008.


I found it interesting that I finished my new arrangement for “Only Tears” only a few days before the five-year anniversary of her death. A week ago, on the night of Cheryl’s death anniversary, I decided to revisit her breast cancer website (Caring Bridge).


The last entry on that website was one I had written; it was from 2009. When I wrote that message four years earlier, I expressed how sad I was that Cheryl would not see her fiftieth birthday. At that time, I had not yet begun to play my guitar again. 


On February 1, 2013, I wrote a new message on the Caring Bridge website. And that same evening, I began to sing vocals for my new arrangement.


I also called Cheryl’s 91-year-old mother.

I had hoped I could give her mother comfort by sharing how Cheryl would always live on in my heart. Sadly, the last time I we had spoken, her mother had deeply withdrawn into her grief.

Judy & Cheryl in '02

When Cheryl’s mother, Blanch, answered the phone that night, I was perturbed when she did not remember who I was. She said she didn’t feel well and hung up on me; it sounded like I had woken her up.

After that, I decided to call Cheryl’s brother. He didn’t answer, and I left a message. As I hung up the phone, I was sad.


The loss of my close friend was something I was alone with.


There was another reason that my grief for her had surfaced.


A few weeks before, I saw on Facebook that Cheryl’s daughter had gotten married. I felt both joy and sorrow, because I remembered how excited Cheryl was over my wedding, she loved being involved with all the planning – and even cared more about it than I did!


I just knew Cheryl was terribly missed at her eldest daughter’s wedding. I was glad her children were moving forward in their lives. I was happy for her husband who had remarried.


When I worked with George on the new arrangement, my eyes were bothering me. I tried not to focus on it and allowed my music to heal me.


So it was on the night of Cheryl’s five-year death anniversary, that I began to sing vocals for my new arrangement. It definitely helped me feel better.


Singing “Only Tears” soothed my sadness because I could hear Cheryl softly whispering in my ear. I imagined that somewhere in a distant sky she was hearing my voice.


My grief was not lonely anymore. I was filled with love for her.

My original song sheet from 1980.

My original song sheet from 1980.

Judy & Cheryl at the snow

I had almost finished writing my post about my song. It was hard for me to believe that five years had flown by since Cheryl’s death.


My phone rang and I saw on the caller ID that it was Cheryl’s brother. I eagerly answered the phone – there was a lot of catching up for us to do.


When our phone call ended, I had to catch my breath.


It turned out that only a few days before I had called Cheryl’s mother, she had received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Judy & Cheryl B&W


Feb 1, 2013

Dearest Cheryl, 
I know you cannot read this, but on this five-year anniversary of your death I feel the need to write to you. 
You are still alive in my heart. I think about you often and feel your presence. I hear your voice and your laughter. Sometimes, it’s so easy for me to picture us together. A smile spreads upon my face as I recall some of the most wonderful memories of my life. 
A few weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that your oldest daughter got married. A pang stabbed my heart. I was so sad that you weren’t there. I know that your absence was certainly felt, how I wish things were different. But life and death are mysterious and there are many things I do not understand. 
I remember how we used to dream about what the future held for us, as we wondered where our lives would go. Cheryl, I’m grateful for our memories. My tears are sweet and filled with love.

Judy & Cheryl in the backyard

© 2013 Judy Unger and 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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3 Responses to ONLY TEARS – PART 2

  1. jmgoyder says:

    You are such a special person.


  2. alesiablogs says:

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. : ) I am checking yours out as we speak.


  3. tersiaburger says:

    It is so hard losing a BFF! My BFF’s 2nd anniversary is coming up and I miss her terribly.


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