IT’S NOT FOREVER – PART 1

This illustration of mine is the cover for my song named Autumn Recollections, which was composed in 1977. The fall is significant for me because that was when my son, Jason died. And later on my mother also died in the fall.

In five days, it will be the 23rd anniversary of Jason’s death. He died in 1992 at the age of five from a congenital heart defect.

This post is my way to honor him.


Autumn Leaves larger copy
Last week I composed a new song, which I named “It’s Not Forever.” I gave my new song that title before I even composed any lyrics or melody.

I haven’t decided upon my lyrics exactly, but the arrangement is done and I plan to record my guitar into it soon. I’m excited to share here an acoustic version I recorded in my bedroom, as well as the arrangement in progress.

Click the blue link to hear my vocal version:

IT’S NOT FOREVER 6/18/17 – Copyright 2016 by Judy Unger

 I usually write a new song every few months. It surprised me that another song came to me so soon, since I just composed my song “In the Past.”

“It’s Not Forever” is definitely about coping in the present. I find it humorous. Now I’ve moved out of the past and perhaps I’ll name my next song “Someday” as a tribute to the future!

These lyrics to my newest song mention how “I’ve been there, too. That is similar to my older song “Hang On.”

These lyrics to my newest song mention how “I’ve been there, too. That is similar to my older song “Hang On.”

Since my music and writing journey began in 2010, a lot of things have changed for me regarding my feelings about grief.

In 2011, I wrote my song “Hang On.” My lyrics had me speaking to someone whom I imagined had given up on life. I emphatically say, “One day, your pain will go away!”

How could I know that? I’m squirming just thinking about how I had the confidence to write those lyrics. And yet, many times I’ve felt hopeless and listened to my own song. It has uplifted me, so that counters some of my conflicted feelings.

I’m not planning to revise “Hang On,” but moving forward I prefer not to tell anyone how, when or whether they might heal. I want my words to only reflect my own experience.

Recently, I sang a new vocal for “Hang On” and the story where it can be heard is at the blue link below:

Hang On – Original Story and Song

The name of this story is derived from the last line of this paragraph.

“The years that buried me”

It turned out that I was very inspired by a paragraph I wrote while composing “In the Past.” Even though I only used one word from that entire paragraph in my song (tragedy), those sentences were very profound for me.

I was extremely moved by the line of: “How could I forget you?”

I have told myself many times that my deceased son, Jason wouldn’t have wanted me to suffer with endless grief.

Despite knowing that, I couldn’t help my feelings. He was dead and I was left coping with horrific pain.

I believe that for a long time, I subconsciously felt guilty letting go of my grief and sadness. My subconscious dictated that if I wasn’t crying, perhaps I had forgotten how much I loved him.

Autumn leaves watercolor copy

A few weeks ago, I was up late at night writing an introduction for a book about grief, which I planned to record as an audiobook. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but wasn’t sure where to begin.

My hesitation was related to how it was going to be different from the one I thought I’d release three years ago. I no longer wanted to “ educate” anyone about grief and preach that healing was certain.

It turned out that living with my dry eye condition gave me a lot more compassion. It was hard to have hope of healing when pain in the present was overwhelming.

When I wrote my introduction, I shared a long list of words I copied from a post on an Internet grief forum. This group had thousands of members and people were asked to use a single word to describe their grief. Below is just a partial list:List for griefSome hopeful words that really stood out to me were: stages, brave, enlightening, determined, necessary and life changing. The people who wrote those words amazed me with their positive approach; I know words are powerful and can shape feelings. When I’ve described my grief – it wasn’t with such positive intentions.

Expressing raw pain was more helpful for me because it was a release. Eighteen years after my son’s death, I could easily remember and write about the horror of losing him. I called it the “amputation of my soul” and that statement described deep pain no one else could see or imagine.

So my word on that long list was “amputation.” A sudden amputation could cause a person to bleed to death; it leaves huge scars and one must learn to compensate for the missing part. That is what I’ve done.

The word on that long list that was repeated most often was “forever.” That certainly fits my belief about how the amputation of my soul changed me forever. All of this led me to write my new song.

These are the chorus lyrics to my newest song “in progress.”

This paragraph inspired chorus lyrics to my newest song “in progress.”

So what exactly am I singing about in, “It’s Not Forever?”

I am singing to someone in grief in the verses and in the chorus I am singing to myself.

I express how thankful I am that my grief did not last forever.

And my song offers me hope that my dry eye discomfort will get better someday – just like some of the awful things I’ve experienced in my past. I still become emotional remembering Jason’s death 23 years later, but it is much different now.

I realize that the last line of the chorus – of “being carried” is a cliché. However, sometimes I’ve wondered how I’ve coped as well as I have. My explanation is that I have been carried – hope, love, memories and God. Those are blessings that I am grateful for every day of my life.

The word “always” is similar to “forever” and represents extreme thinking. “Never” is also extreme, being the opposite.

The word “always” is similar to “forever” and represents extreme thinking. “Never” is also extreme, being the opposite.

On that long list, I think “forever” is the saddest word. To me, it represents complete hopelessness. Similar ones are: terminal, everlasting, always, lifeless, eternal and infinite.

It’s interesting, but all of those words not only describe grief, they also clearly revolve around death.

Yes, death certainly is forever.

Even though my song started out as a testament to my healing from grief – it ended up carrying another important meaning for me beyond that.

What is not forever is LIFE! Life is finite.

So even though I wrote my song to express how deep grief did not last forever for me, now I’m reminded that, “Life is not forever.”

I want to make the most of this precious gift I have been given. Every day, I search for ways to treasure my life. What especially gives me joy are my three children. I am fortunate that they are all very close to me.

This past month, my youngest son (18) began attending college for the first time. He has had so many wonderful experiences so far, which he has shared with me. This led me to find additional insight for my song.

“It’s not forever” also applies to what can easily be taken for granted. Watching my children grow up has been such a blessing. One day, they will be much older and things might be different. Sometimes, it’s hard to realize how precious something is until it is gone.

i want to go back

over seasons, through the years

When my child died, I buried him and part of me died, too. I wanted to crawl into his coffin to be with him. I wished I were dead because the pain was too much for me.

I kept on going. It seemed like my grief was endless and forever – but it turned out it wasn’t. Eventually, I marveled at my survival.

The years that buried me are over now because I found a way to dig myself out. And when I did, I realized that Jason had never left me.

I only left behind my grief and sadness. I rediscovered joy.

The huge hole in my heart wasn’t empty either – it was filled with our love.

Jason on bike

Below are links to Part 2 and 3 of this story:

IT’S NOT FOREVER-PART 2

IT’S NOT FOREVER-PART 3

Jason 5 You carried me

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2015. 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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28 Responses to IT’S NOT FOREVER – PART 1

  1. jeanne abrams says:

    I have experienced the death of my firstborn baby girl stillborn at full term for no apparent reason and it was definitely the most painful experience of my life. she would be 27 years old this march. I now struggle with chronic pain daily and have a terrible time coping with this awful and debilitating condition. I went out today for the first time in weeks and I actually was able to move with minimal pain. Hallelujah!

    Like

    • Judy says:

      Oh, Jeanne, I’m so happy to hear such wonderful news. Thank you for supporting me during the most painful experience of my life. I was blessed to have you then and now!

      Like

    • Judy says:

      I can’t believe Jillian would be 27. I am so sorry Jeanne for all the things you have suffered through. You inspire me with your positive attitude. I will never forget Jillian and daffodils that remind me or her in the spring. Love you.

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  2. jmgoyder says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, Judy. You got guts, girl! Those photos brought tears. xxx

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  3. i am so in awe of all that you have been through and come out on the other side. amazing how you have turned that pain in to something beautiful.

    you continue to inspire and move me with your words and music.

    i send you love and big warm hugs.

    Like

    • Judy says:

      I always look forward to seeing your comments, Sandra. Thank God that my pain has dissipated. The beautiful part is actually to live in peacefulness and contentment now. What a difference that is for me! Glad I could share so much progress over these last five years with you. Sending a big hug and hoping I’ll get to see you again.

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  4. Hello Judy. What an amazing inspiring Women you are. A pure example that we do not have to live in our grief. It is not forever. I lost my baby girl on 3/6/2011. We have a lot in common as far as feelings go. I do know that there was a reason for her leaving so soon. That to me was to be with Jesus, and in many ways the gift I received from the tragedy is far more than ever expected. I can feel every word in your writings and in your songs. They are beautiful. Thank you for being such an inspiration to move forward with telling my story. God Bless you. Melissa Giles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Judy, so glad and inspired by your blog posting. I have always admired you for the strength that God has given you. I hope to connect with you all soon. I will be listening to your song later this evening, I am certain it is as awesome as all the others I have heard. Marie:)

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    • Judy says:

      Marie, when I saw your comment – I was moved to tears. Thank you so much for your words and for your love and support. It’s great to hear from you. Sending love.

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  6. beebeesworld says:

    Hi, Judy, thanks for reading my For everything there is a season story. I just touched one of your links and came up with this page. Sometimes, I’m so proud of you and jealous of you for living thru your Hell over Jason being stolen. Then, it is almost a good feeling to see a story like this one ether you feel angry, hurt, sad, empty after all these years. That’s how I feel every time I allow myself to look around and see my other kids and how critical they are to me because I don’t put up with their fathers emotional abuse anymore. They blame me as much as him because I fight back now- I don’t call what I’m doing ‘living’ . I miss my Andrew- I wonder if his father would have gotten so insulting, childish, verbally abusive if he had even dealt with Andrews loss by getting a potentially fatal disease like I did. in fall, . When he was born and when he died, I am in a very dark place, Judy. , It hurts more than I can say that my kids don’t seem to need me, except for money and them being so Nice to Sam when he I’s so cruel to me is something I will never understand. I look at your drawing and I don’t draw any more, I look at your poetry and realize my heart is usually to dead to write. My life scream,”why” and always will….brenda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Brenda, thank you for listening to my music and for taking the time to write such caring comments. I feel your pain and am so sorry for what you have gone through and are still going through. I can say that I gave up a big home and financial security when I got divorced. I am much happier in my tiny place than with my former life. I wish, I wish that you had some peace because you have suffered more than any person should ever suffer. I excused my ex for his behavior and my children learned from that, too. Denial and stuffing my feelings was my habit for decades. I am proud of you for standing up for yourself. That is a great step forward. Trust me, you can escape your prison if you look for a key. It is there.

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  7. beebeesworld says:

    Somewhere , as you were looking at my blog, I looked at another of yours snd heard your beautiful music. Judy, sometimes , I feel that you are what I would have been if I we weren’t so worn out, so depleted. I used to play the guitar and over time, I played it less and less, my back hurts when I play it now,. My last attempt was disasterous. You drawn, I drew, you write, well, I still do that – when I can… You freed yourself of an disappointing marriage. I’ts 32 years for me. I was married and divorced when I was young, but have conflicts that keep me saddled in thus disaster. There is no love, there is caring, need, but no joy, no smile when I see him walk in the door. I see so many things in our lives that are similar and I wanted to congratulate you on the strength you had to pick up that guitar again, to free yourself of an unhappy marriage, I am proud of you for helping your children see your pain and help you rather than resent you. It’s been a decade this fall since I lost my Andrew, I will never look in the mirror and seem ME again, scoliosis and Cushings disease have taken their toll. I admire you for your courage, for standing up for yourself, for some how getting your kids to support you instead of blame you for the bad marriage. I don’t believe much of what happened was my fault – I believe with all my heart it was his inability to feel, to hurt, to cry, be angry that our son was taken. Thats what weak people do, take their anger out on someone else. I’ve been through it once before but when i was young, I had little to loose. My parents listened to the wrong people and trapped me in thus marriage – My grandpa gave this house to me, but wanted it to be in moms name till she passed, since he had never helped her buy property . She totally treated it as MY house, but unknowingly put my name on it after my grandma died, thus giving my husband 1/3 value of the house when she died. I worked with my father for years doing taxes, real estate, write books ,but his rich friends convinced him he didn’t need to pay me a salary- just give me stock and I never worked outside the home long enough to get my social security or Medicare, or disability after my son died, without the “help” of s lawyer which would cost me a fortune,, so I have only what I have under my husband. Dad told me he would ‘fix it’ and until I looked through his last paper, I believed he did, but wax failing mrntally in his later days- not dementia , just hugs age and health, so I am stuck here old and sad. Even my kids (who really are good to me, I just can’t talk to them about my problems) and my 8- going on 9 grandkids can give more than temporary smiles. My garden, not so great anymore, my youngest graduated from high school, is very tech savvy, goes to college and hasa girlfriend, and he too, had seen the fighting and it feels like I dont have his support. He says I am telling the truth, he just doesn’t want to hear about it. Judy, when no one wants to hear about what’s killing you, it hurts test much more. I have been miserable renting my parents house, had a bad experience the first time and will get new renters next week. To walk in their house that I spent s fortune on but preserved the 50’s bungalow style just crushes me. I was up after little sleep thinking I hear them, or Andrew, just for a moment. I should hush. You are an inspiration and I am honored to know you,

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    • Judy says:

      Brenda, As I read both your comments I felt my eyes filling with tears. So much pain and suffering – so unfair. You’ve sacrificed so much of your life for others. I wish you could reclaim something. I am touched how you admire my courage. Honestly, I think you are the strong one living in such a dire place – searching to find light in the darkness. I do believe that it’s never too late to turn your life around. The unknown is scary, but to live in the “known” – in a place so empty, it sounds hopeless. I sometimes listen for Jason’s voice to guide me. I wonder what Andrew might tell you? I know he loved you very much and is there beside you unseen. You do have the power. Never give up. All of your dreams and talents are still there to explore. The sadness is crushing and you’ve been dealt so many blows. Nothing would make me more joyful than to see you do things to bring yourself back up. I have been so down in my life and never would have believed where I’d be today. I’m currently struggling with some health issues also. I have been unable to sing much for two months. I use a lot of self-talk to keep myself upbeat. Life is hard. But the worst thing of all, is to feel unloved and unappreciated. You are a beautiful person, Brenda. I hope you can find some way to pull yourself out of the darkness. You have that power – I know you do. Sending love and hugs. Would love to meet you someday.

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    • Marie Hernandez says:

      Brenda, I don’t know you but I am a friend of Judy’s. I just want you to know that I will be praying for you, inner healing, and I will have my church pray for you. I am so sorry for your loss of Andrew. “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4) I wanted to share that scripture from the Bible with you. Judy is right, you are strong living in this pain. I just want to encourage you to get out there and do nice things for yourself. And, take one day at a time to do it. Sincerely, Marie

      Liked by 1 person

  8. beebeesworld says:

    love ya, Judy. I dont write in here much anymore. I play on my i pad. Thanks for keeping up with me, i try to put something in at least once a month but it seems things have changed and it sometimes hard for me to get on-stay with me-love ya! Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      I was choked up reading your post. I wasn’t sure what to write, but planned to – you beat me to it. It is so true, how our love just continues to grow over time. Love cannot die. Thank you, Brenda, for visiting to say hello. I’ve missed you.

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  9. K E Garland says:

    This part, “My subconscious dictated that if I wasn’t crying, perhaps I had forgotten how much I loved him” is so profound. I have a friend who’s been through a lot and I could never quite figure out how to help her see this. You never want to tell someone to just “get over it,” but many times we do need to move through the pain and know that it’s okay to move on. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      You are very welcome, K.E. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It’s wonderful that you care about your friend and want to help her. Unfortunately, for anyone grieving – they need understanding and if you haven’t experienced their level of grief, they won’t want to hear your advice. People suffering from terrible loss are moving through it as best they can. There really isn’t a destination. Time might ease some of the pain, but there are scars. Grief changes a person and they can’t go back to the person they were before. That’s why “getting over it” isn’t really possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • K E Garland says:

        Without going too much into detail, I had suffered the same and more grief but I’d learned exactly as you say here, “it isn’t a destination.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judy says:

        That’s what’s so horrible about grief – it’s lonely and isolating. I’m sorry for your loss, as well. Whenever I’ve reached out a hand to help someone else, it uplifts me and reminds me how far I’ve traveled. But not everyone accepts it. I’ve learned how to be very patient. I’ve know several people who were adamant that they would never feel better or heal from their pain. But after a few years, they begin to see progress and are open to the fact that they are not in as much pain as at the beginning. I benefitted from support groups, but when I’ve recommended that – I’ve been rebuffed by those who dislike them. It’s so individual!
        But I know what you mean. It’s very sad when someone is in a prison of grief. If they could only see that there is a key and a way out. This story about my song “The Key” sums it all up. Here’s a link: https://myjourneysinsight.com/2016/04/20/imprisoned-by-grief-and-my-key/
        Thank you again so much for caring and commenting! (and subscribing to my blog, too!)

        Liked by 1 person

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