This picture was taken while I was on my honeymoon in Mexico. Not long after I was married, I stopped playing my guitar.

This picture was taken while I was on my honeymoon in Mexico. Not long after I was married, I stopped playing my guitar.


Copyright 2014 by Judy Unger


I still remember the laughter we shared

In the beginning, we danced and we played

Back then, we had so many highs and they’d been

from the music we felt within


Sadness was lonely; it tore us apart

Numbness and pain left no room in my heart


I still remember the tears we once cried

From that time on our joy was gone

We couldn’t dance or laugh or play

tears washed our laughter away


Sadness was lonely; it tore us apart

Losing the laughter is what broke my heart


I still remember the laughter and tears

In the beginning it was laughter, then tears

Even though, it was a lifetime ago

I won’t forget all those years

filled with laughter and tears

I have blurred my “ex” because he probably doesn’t want his picture on my blog.

I have blurred my “ex.” This picture really feels like a lifetime ago. (Although I currently live on the same street where his car is in this picture.)


 Click the blue links to play audio:

 Laughter and Tears Home Recording 11/23/16 Copyright 2016 by Judy Unger

Laughter and Tears Arrangement 2014

Laughter and Tears Arrangement 2011

the magic we felt within

“My true feelings”

It has been almost 40 years since I composed my very first song; I named it “You’re Not the One.” I was 15 years old and after that I didn’t write too many other break-up songs. It was because I stopped writing songs in 1981 after I was married. It was over thirty years later when I rediscovered the magic of music in my life.

One of the most beautiful parts of songwriting is how it is a direct pathway into my subconscious. I live with lyric lines in my head most of the time and always find insight from every single word.

Not long ago, I wrote about the word “acknowledgement.” I’ve incorporated that word into my life in order to better deal with post-traumatic stress.  I see now that it has had a profound effect upon me because it has gone into my lyric writing!

My last post was named “I Still Remember” and those are the first three words of my song “Laughter & Tears.” They are very important and have helped me come to terms with my true feelings instead of pushing painful memories aside.

Two weeks ago, I finished a second arrangement for this song and I found the music deeply moving.

I recorded my first arrangement for Laughter & Tears in 2011. My song was based upon an unfinished song composition from 1979. For the last three years, I have longed to adjust the lyrics that I recorded in 2011. I will definitely share more about that later in this post.

With my new arrangement, I finally found my inspiration.

I decided not to make my song a break-up song and left it purposely vague. Perhaps it is because I stayed married for three decades – long after the laughter ended. I preferred “Laughter and Tears” to be an acknowledgment of the ups and downs that happen in a long relationship.

These lyrics are a new addition to my song “It Might Have Been.”

These lyrics are a new addition to my song “It Might Have Been.”

“A collage of memories”

Only a month before re-writing Laughter and Tears, I added a much needed verse to an old love song named “It Might Have Been.” I am fascinated that I didn’t realize until a few days ago that I used the same line of “I still remember” in that song, too.

For most of my marriage, I suppressed many thoughts and feelings in order to cope with unrelenting stress and sadness.

I have a tendency to view things in extremes: good and bad, black and white, right and wrong. Therefore, laughter and tears were the extremes that came to me when I first wrote my song.

My song heals me because it takes me away from analyzing my pain and focusing on the loss. Instead of judging my feelings and looking at mistakes, my lyrics are a way to view my former marriage in a beautiful way – I see it as a collage of memories.

Numbness and pain

My marriage was filled with laughter in the beginning and plenty of tears. My second verse does relate to the grief my husband and I dealt with after our son died. But there were far more years without either emotion. Those were probably the worst for me; I have called it “Zombieland.”

we couldn't dance

The truth was that fun and laughter ended in my relationship rather early on. I blamed myself for having notions of romantic love that led to disappointment. I felt tremendous pressure to make money and succeed as an artist. I was isolated and lonely. My self-worth was tied to financial success, which is something I have completely moved away from at this juncture in my life.

So the absolute truth was that I was very unhappy before I ever had children and experienced grief.

I just couldn’t acknowledge my marital unhappiness, nor address it.

Losing the laughter

I never considered divorce an option even though my husband and I went for counseling on many occasions. But twenty years ago, my husband never forgave me for mentioning that I had thought about it once.

I was completely overwhelmed by our three challenging children; for well over a decade I advocated for them because they had special needs. Also, as long as my parents were alive I felt very loved and cared about. The fact that it would have upset them was certainly a factor. By the time I realized that I wanted to end my marriage, my parents were old and sick. Now it wasn’t about dealing with their disapproval; it was more about being too immersed in their care to think about starting a new life.

My mother always remembered and made a big deal of our anniversary, far more than my husband ever did. My mother always acknowledged that I would never forget the loss of my child and those tears. But she was hopeful I would find happiness again. My children were definitely a salve to my broken heart. Decades later it was my music and writing that truly healed me.

New life

In 2011, I was enthusiastically relearning all of the songs I could remember from my youth. “Laughter and Tears” was an unfinished song that I had actually written for my friend, Cheryl. I wrote it for her because I was sad that we weren’t close anymore and I missed our laughter so much.

Three years ago, I decided to record my song and I wrote revised lyrics for it. Immediately my marriage came to mind, however, I was stumped about the message I wanted for my song. I chose to end my song with these lines:

Over time I’ve come to see

How grateful I can be

To realize you still love me

When I first sang my song in 2011, I felt a pang in my heart whenever I sang the word “grateful.” Gradually, I discovered that I didn’t believe my own lyrics.

I was simply repeating the very message that kept me in an empty marriage for years and years in order to cope. Those lyrics came from my conscious mind!

I felt grateful that my husband worked to support the family and was proud that we had weathered so much. But sadly, we had zero connection and I disliked his company.

Feeling grateful to “be loved” was a way to avoid the other extreme, which was to be alone and “unloved.” I did not have the courage to change my life and did not think living without affection in a relationship was so terrible. In comparison, divorcing and facing the unknown seemed far more horrendous.

It was because of songwriting that I became much more in touch with my true feelings.

I felt he loved me because he would never have ended our relationship. But how could I feel grateful to be loved when I disliked the person so much whom I was singing about?

As the truth began to dawn upon me with those words, I began to feel an eruption inside me. That led to a song where I finally expressed my true feelings.

I named that song “The Unknown.”

I decided not to use these lines because I didn’t want my song have a clear ending.

I decided not to use these lines because I didn’t want my song to have a clear ending.

I looked forward to finding another ending for my song. For three years, I occasionally tried but nothing inspired me.

But with the second arrangement for “Laughter and Tears,” I found the music evoked the emotions I wanted and the lyric changes flowed easily.

Last week, I sang vocals for both my new and old arrangement. Below are links to my earlier stories about this song.



Young Couple

A lifetime ago

I won't forget

© 2014 by Judy Unger  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 LAUGHTER AND TEARS – PART 3

  1. jmgoyder says:

    So sad and yet so rich.


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