This was the room where I serenaded Sandra in December of 2013.

This was the room where I serenaded Sandra in December of 2013.

At this time I want to acknowledge a wonderful woman named Sandra Blake Callahan.

I became friends with Sandra as a result of reading her blog and she has been very supportive of my writing. She usually comments on every one of my blog posts and her comments always resonate with such wisdom and kindness.

Sandra is terminally ill with end-stage congestive heart failure. She has outlived her doctor’s expectations. Last December, I took a trip to Yosemite in the wintertime just so I could meet her and her wonderful husband, Chris.

I am so blessed to have such a special friend and Sandra’s words will live on for me long after she has left this Earth.

My post title expressing thankfulness to be alive is the very first line of lyrics from my most recent song named “Wonder Why.”

But thankfulness to be alive is best expressed by Sandra. Recently, she wrote a post that I found profound. It was so beautiful that I felt every person in the world could benefit from reading it. Her post was called “The First Time.”

I left a comment expressing those feelings and she replied:

I don’t know about everyone reading this but I am so grateful that it has meaning for you! I admire your ability to love others when you are suffering on so many levels yourself. Sending you love and big warm hugs, my friend:)


A week ago, I wrote a post about my desire to be a speaker. I was so disappointed that I felt I couldn’t actually do it because of my eye problems. I treasured the comment Sandra left me. It was so touching that it warrants recognition.

Blake's comment

I do believe you have a lot to share; a message that will touch many hearts. I also agree with the speaker when he says that waiting for something to be perfect will not lead you to the ultimate goal if that is what you want. I am sure there are artists that would find it motivating to hear how you turned your art into a living. Is that what you want to share?

Things are still a bit raw to start telling other’s how to survive the things you have. Maybe others need to hear how to listen to their own voice and sing the pain as often as it takes.

I know you are going to awaken one day and say this is what I want to say and what I needed to hear when there was no one else saying it.

You started years ago. If it takes years, then that is what it takes. Too many people want to say: “Here are 3 easy steps to healing from the loss of a child, marriage or parents. Or, write songs in 3 easy lessons.”

What people need to hear is this may be a lifetime journey and if so … then so be it.

You will decide when you are ready and we will be waiting.

Guitar with Butterflies

Oh Sandra, every time you write to me I feel as if you’ve been a close friend all my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am not passionate about art, so that is not what I really want to speak about.

Yes, things are still quite raw for me to tell others how to survive anything when I am in survival mode at this moment. I think you are so right that I simply have to listen to my own voice and sing my pain as often as it takes.

When I wake up and decide what I needed to hear at my lowest moments, it won’t be because no one said it.

I believe it will be your words. You have said what I needed to hear and I am listening! When I am ready, perhaps you will be gone, but never gone from my heart.

Wherever you are, I will know that you are waiting, listening and shining a light for me.

Flowers-Orchid Spray

Links to my stories about meeting Sandra in Yosemite:




(Clicking on the post title “The First Time” is a link to Sandra’s blog)


May 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Do you remember the first time you were surprised and delighted? How about the last time? When we were young, the simplest event gave us delight. We didn’t need anything major to bring a smile to our face. Of course, as we got older and more distracted those smaller pleasures may have gone unnoticed.

Last night as the angina pain ebbed and flowed, I wanted to take stock of all the truly wonderful things I am grateful for that make me smile. In the past, this exercise has helped me focus outside of my body and it worked well enough last night. It allowed me to go to bed and actually sleep. Just before I dozed off, I couldn’t help but smile thinking how wonderful my life is now.

As I opened my eyes this morning I was a bit surprised, but very delighted! That feeling of life, taking a few moments to listen to the world around me and to my own beating heart. I can only say that for me this continues to be my miracle. There is no reason for me to still be opening my eyes given the “odds” against it. Rather than question or worry about time running out, I choose to appreciate this gift.

Together we, like so many others, just try to make the most out of each day. There are a huge number of people who live mindfully. I was just blessed with this lesson at an early age. Though I kept it quiet for too many years, I now appreciate the freedom to express how delightful I find life.


© 2014 Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com. 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!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I’M THANKFUL FOR LIFE

  1. tersiaburger says:

    Sandra is a very brave and compassionate friend. She has been a source of great support and comfort despite her own precarious situation. Sandra has an amazing capacity for loving and caring.


    • Judy says:

      I was connected to Sandra because of you, which is a beautiful story in itself. We both love and care about you. You and Vicky are often in my mind when I sing. Thank you, Tersia.


I would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s