It's Not Forever



Copyright 2015 by Judy Unger


You say your pain will always be there

and every day is a nightmare

I remember so well, living with that kind of hell

It’s not forever

It feels like it’s never going to change

I once felt that way

Today I can see; hope carried me

After he left, your world was shattered;

he was all that mattered

When life seems unreal,

it’s hard to imagine you could heal

It’s not forever

It feels like it’s never going to change

Time could not sever my love

Today I see; love carried me

A long time ago I felt hopeless,

but I know

it’s not forever

It feels like it’s never going to change

Time could not sever my love

Today I see, you carried

me . . .

Click the blue links below to hear recordings of my song:

It’s Not Forever Vocal 1-25-18 Copyright 2018 by Unger

It’s Not Forever Arrangement 1-25-18 Copyright 2018 by Unger

It’s Not Forever Acoustic 1-24-18 Copyright 2018 by Unger

It’s Not Forever Guitar & Piano 1-24-18 Copyright 2018 by Unger

Other parts to this story can be found here:



It was only a month ago when I wrote out the chords for “It’s Not Forever.” Like many of my songs, the music came to me first. I was certain the words would appear when I was ready; it was a gift to me when they did.

This watercolor painting of mine was used for a memorial plaque I created for Jason. It hung in the hallway where he attended preschool. Autumn triggers many feelings for me.

This watercolor painting of mine was used on a memorial plaque I created for Jason. It hung in the hallway where he attended preschool. Autumn triggers many feelings for me.

For over three years, I’ve corresponded with a woman named Sammi. She inspired my lyrics for “It’s Not Forever.”

From the time I first read Sammi’s words on an Internet grief forum, I was extremely moved by her raw and achingly honest expression of grief. Sammi’s world was shattered when her son AJ died. (To read some of our exchanges, simply type her name into the search box on the right side of the blog homepage.)

When lyrics eventually poured forth from me, at first I wasn’t sure about whether they worked. I have written many songs related to grief and find it difficult to soften my lyrics when expressing those feelings.

After some mild indecision, I did not remove the word “hell” from my song.

I had also felt the same way when I wrote my song “Wonder Why.” Words like “torture and madness” weren’t beautiful ones. But in that song, they helped me to express my feelings while posing a question to God about needless suffering.

I decided to ask my friend Sammi for her opinion; after all, she was my inspiration for this song. Below is our exchange after I shared an acoustic version of my song in progress: (A similar acoustic recording can be heard on Part 1).

Dear Sammi,

I have really changed my thinking related to grief and healing. I don’t want to preach anymore about certainty of healing. I’d rather just offer my own experience in order to provide hopefulness. I believe my eye problems have given me a lot more compassion. I often am so miserable that it’s hard for me to be hopeful that it will get better. My song gives me hope!

But even though I am sharing my own experience with this song, I am still speaking to someone. The person in my mind is you.

My song is in its first stages. I sang it into a digital recorder today and want to share it with you. I’m a little uncertain about using the word “hell” in one of my songs and would love your feedback.

Thanks for letting me share. Always hoping you‘ll have better days.

Sycamore close up 2

Hi Judy,

I read your song’s lyrics and they clearly state true feelings of those who have lost a loved one. They are perfect and I wouldn’t change it no matter how dark it may seem. Your subject matter alone is dark.

We are at different stages in our grief journey but I don’t agree with the “it’s not forever” phrase. It is forever; it becomes muted over time. I have found with the loss of my Mother that I can bring that pain back in a heartbeat . . . it is there forever . . . it just recedes. It takes many years. You have already reached that place. I don’t mean to criticize, sorry, I just think the word ‘forever’ should be qualified.

Can’t believe I stick in your head like that Judy.  Some people would take that as a punishment.

Sycamore close up 1

Oh Sammi, thank you so much for taking the time to listen and write; I really appreciate what you wrote.

My song is still evolving for me and I value your insight about “forever.” I do like the title, but it’s a paradox. I say, “Time cannot sever my love.” So love is forever for me.

I think the part I wanted to convey is that the “hell” isn’t forever. That was it.

I certainly don’t see what you are saying as criticism. One decision I made was to end each chorus with a different word as follows: 1. Hope carried me 2. Love carried me 3. You carried me. I really like that progression.

Oh, yes, Sammi – you stick in my head. It is not punishment. You are a beautiful woman carrying a lifetime of sorrow. I wish you peace.

My son’s death certificate shows he never married and never worked. He was only 5 years old. So many things he never was able to do. But he was real and he did live for five years. His presence and his absence changed my life.

My son’s death certificate shows he never married and never worked. Because he died at age five, there were so many things he never was able to do. But he was real and he did live for five years. His presence and his absence changed my life. (Clicking on this makes it larger)

Not long after this exchange, Sammi wrote a touching post on our grief forum. I share an excerpt below. Despite her heartache, I can feel some hopefulness in her words.

On Aug 27, 2015, Sammi wrote:

Three years. I have been on this pothole marred road for three years. I have made this journey with help from those that have gone before me and I have been accompanied by my stalker grief.

I am amazed that I am still standing, that I still breathe, that I still look forward. Turning around and looking back I see the black sky, the angry grey clouds, the pouring rain and those souls that have fallen into the myriad of holes that need to be navigated. I won’t lie. I have fallen into many of those holes and have needed to pull myself out or be helped out. Many times I wanted to let go of the edge and just let myself be pulled down into the darkness. It welcomes you; it offers you an end to your endless pain. It promises you peace.

I am always tempted, but I trudge on. Looking forward I notice that the sky, though still black, seems lighter, the clouds, though still angry, are breaking apart, the potholes, though still numerous, have more room between them. I now find myself reaching into those potholes of despair and helping others out. I now look back to make sure those that need it have help.

My road now has off-ramps, not many but they are there. I can now pull off at times for some respite from the constant pain. My stalker, grief, does not like this and tries to knock me back to where I was. It has no rules and is ruthless in its attempts but I put my head down, gather the strength I have accrued over the three years and continue moving ahead.

At times, I have wanted to ask for medication to numb myself to the world around me, but I haven’t . . . at times I have wanted to drink myself into a stupor, but I haven’t . . . I have made it this far with no chemical or liquid help. When all is said and done, you have to do it on your own.

It doesn’t go away. So, three years in and here I am, still missing my beautiful boy, still aching to see and hear him, still wanting to wrap my arms around him and breathe him in, still amazed that a human being can still stand while experiencing such excruciating pain every day, still being amazed by who has stood by and helped me and who has fallen by the wayside.

I am determined to move forward to help others who need it and to find what it is I am supposed to do with what I have learned.

God in the sky

Ending my song with “being carried” is such a beautiful concept for me. Who is carrying me? Just imagining that is uplifting and I have many interpretations for those words.

Like Sammi, a long time ago I was certain I would grieve forever.

I end this post with some of the words I wrote as the lyrics unfolded for this song.

Autumn Leaf 8

Endless grief is extreme

Autumn Leaf 7

that kind of hell

Autumn Leaf 6

when hopelessness wins

Autumn Leaf 5


Autumn Leaf 4

Freckle face smile

Autumn Leaf 3

This was something I wrote two years after my son died.

This was something I wrote three years after my son died.

Autumn Leaf 2

© 2015 by 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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1 Response to IT’S NOT FOREVER – PART 2

  1. Carol Cross says:

    Beautiful and touching. And so much more.

    Liked by 1 person

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