Guitar Heart

I love writing for my blog, but lately I am passionately working on music and cannot tear myself away to write a post. But sometimes I feel compelled, and then I know it is time for me to write.

This post title refers to a beautiful new song arrangement that I recently created, which is a new version of my former song “Music From Her Heart.” My new arrangement is in first person, hence the title of this post. But it also has another meaning, because I want to share words from a woman who is dying from heart failure.

I always want my posts to be touching, and I realize that my musical updates might be repetitive. But music continues to help me deal with challenges, most notably the change in both of my eyes due to having PVD or posterior vitreous detachment.


Initially, I was overwhelmed by severe depression at the extreme change in my vision. But lately, I am finding that although my vision is unchanged, I am able to ignore it more and more. It is simply another example of acceptance in my life. Nothing stays the same and adjustment is always required for losses in life.


With loss, it is a common thing to tell yourself that things could be worse though it’s not at all comforting. I have a good friend with Stage 4 bone cancer, so I realize how lucky I am to have only an eyesight issue. Although I’ve lost a child, there are parents who have lost more than one child.


But I want to share something touching that did help me find a better “perspective” about my situation. Here is a wonderful new connection that I’ve made in my blogging world. I want to introduce everyone to Sandra Callahan.


Sandra has a blog that is called “The Dr. Says.” Below are words listed on her profile and the large blue link is to her blog:

The Dr. Says

Sandra Callahan

Five years ago I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and went into multi-system failure and was put on a ventilator and dialysis. I was given a prognosis of five years, if I were lucky. Well, here I am five years later. Not well, but living with dying.


Sandra left a comment on my blog. I was curious about her and went to read her blog. From the first moment I read Sandra’s words, my heart was touched. I share now a few post links to her stories (in blue) and our correspondence. Her words are in brown.




My husband and others have mentioned I should write a book about my experience. They all seem to feel I have some unique insight into this whole dying thing. It didn’t take long for me to decide that a book would be a waste of precious time and doesn’t everyone think they are experiencing something in a way no one else ever has? We are not really that different, though I fear and delight in.

My sister said a blog would be perfect, although no one reads this so I am torn as to the purpose served here. If you are dying, then you don’t need my advice. As you can see, here I am trying to give this a go and secretly happy that no one will ever read it.


Judy said, May 31, 2013

It looks like many people are reading your inspiring words, Sandra. I plan to read more of your blog. Thank you for reaching out to me. I’ve said that every day is a gift and you are someone I aspire to model! I pray you are not in pain and suffering.

Sandra said, June 1, 2013

I am truly honored that you would choose to take the time to read my blog. You are an inspiration to me and I look forward to reading more of yours. 


Judy said, May 31, 2013

Why is it that I feel your post is personally directed at me now? I completely relate to what you wrote. I always have believed in moving forward, even though sometimes it feels like crawling! And you are correct, because that way we get to “the other side.” Thanks for a great reminder and excellent post.

Sandra said, May 31, 2013

Thank you, Judy. I am so glad you got something out of this post. Sometimes, I wonder if I am the only one that feels like this. Not that others are not doing this, but it is rewarding to know that someone connects with this.

Judy said, May 31, 2013

I believe there are many people who connect with what you write. You are honest and I am touched that you have read my writing. As I cope with eyesight problems, I realize your situation gives me more appreciation for living. Thank you, Sandra. 

Sandra said, June 1, 2013

What you are going through stinks! Losing your eyesight must be frightening. That is the good thing about just dying; I am not faced with making any big life long adjustments:)


Judy said, June 14, 2013

Your post made me cry. I am celebrating for you. I will pray for you to reach the 6-year mark. I started to write 10-year mark – I pray for that, too.

Sandra said, June 16, 2013

Strange, I feel this sort of makes me free of that hoping for x amount of time. Not that I seriously did that, we will continue to just be grateful for whatever time we have. There is a satisfaction in knowing I passed what medical science thought a reasonable guess based on their statistics. 
Thank you for your kindness and prayers.




Judy said, June 19, 2013

Your post makes me grateful for my life. I think spoons are a wonderful metaphor. We can feed ourselves with them. And we can feed other people. Both are beautiful when we understand that the ability to do that is a “gift with limits.” I won’t take mine for granted after reading this. Rest up and I’ll look forward to when you finish this post.

Sandra said, June 21, 2013

I hope that we can all appreciate what gifts we have. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


“A pivotal moment”

I am inching closer to the finish line for releasing my audio book and song CD that accompanies it. Once I have released my book and music, I am eager to write and create a second audio book.


Every week, I record vocals and occasionally guitar tracks for my numerous song arrangements. Over a six-month period, I’ve worked on approximately 40 songs. I continue to write new songs, and also to create new arrangements for many of my older songs.


Last month, I put aside editing to work on a large illustration assignment. Even while illustrating, I still continued to record songs.


This is all a huge undertaking for me, since every song usually requires twenty hours of editing time. At the same time, I practice singing whenever possible. I record nearby my home with Darrin Kohavi, at his home recording studio.


Judy & Darrin close up

A pivotal moment occurred for me a few weeks ago when I was singing the last song for my audio book CD. It was “Music From Her Heart.”


For fun, I wanted to sing that song for my hypnotherapist, Connie. It was obvious how music continued to fuel me. When I finished singing for Connie that day, she asked me about my reasons for singing my song in third person.


Writing in third person was something that my editor, Carol, really disliked and discouraged me from doing. Carol told me that it was impersonal. She was correct, but it certainly made it easier for me to write about things that were painful with that distance.


I told Connie that I would show her the difference. I began singing my song in first person. When I finished, it was clear that this change was dynamic. My song lyrics were definitely much more touching because I could not distance myself when singing “I.”


I had to record a vocal for my song to go with my audio book. But my audio story was already recorded with the song lyrics as “she.” This was a dilemma for me. I didn’t want to rework my audio story. So instead, I decided to move forward to shifting to using “I” by creating a new song arrangement. I have not yet finished editing the vocal for it. So instead, I share my new vocal below for “Music From Her Heart,” the way I wrote originally wrote my song lyrics.

The link below is to more about this song:




I have chosen to look at the things I am grateful for in my life, rather than the things that disappoint me. My eyesight is adequate, because I can still play tennis and notice lizards. A few weeks ago, I found a moment to take pictures of them! For fun, I am sharing those images.

Lizard on the court

Recently, I finished my new arrangement for “Music From My Heart.” It was such a beautiful solution! My new arrangement is gorgeous and inspiring for me. I cannot convey how healing it has been for me to create beautiful music that fills my heart.

My insight was that the shift from “she” to “I” was an integral part of my journey. Sometimes, I feel as if I hardly know who I am.

The woman I was for decades vanished and has become my shadow.

Like a shadow, I know she’s there – but I’m in the lead now. Occasionally, I hover outside of my body and see myself as a stranger. It’s confusing, exciting and emotional for me.

I love the new woman I’ve become. And I have definitely been reborn.

JUDY & HER MUSIC© 2013 by Judy Unger http://www.myjourneysinsight.comUnauthorized 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. Marilyn de Mena says:

    Thank you . It is all so VERY interesting. Love, Marilyn


  2. Janet Fattal says:

    Just a few words because I will see you tomorrow. Your voice sounds so different, less straining, more feeling. The voice teacher has really changed your singing. The post is, as usual, very touching.  The arrangement is lush and inviting. Til tomorrow!


  3. Cindy L. May says:

    Your voice is beautiful, Judy. Thank you for sharing this.


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