The key and butterflies


Copyright 2016 by Judy Unger

After you left I was locked away

In a prison of grief; I cried every day

I couldn’t escape and years went by

I accepted my prison and stopped asking why

When I saw the key, I couldn’t believe

The prison doors opened; I could leave

I lost what I loved; grief swallowed me

Until the day I found the key

I let myself out, life wasn’t the same

I slowly adjusted and whispered your name

I tried to forget all I went through

But I never let go of my love for you

When I saw the key, I couldn’t believe

The prison doors opened; I could leave

It was love that set me free

On the day I found the key

When I saw the key, I couldn’t believe

The prison doors opened; I could leave

What I loved most was taken from me

But you came back to give me the key

Jason & Guitar

The story about my song “The Key” was actually written before I composed my song. It was the first time I’d ever done this and was such a refreshing change.

Link to Part 1 of this story:


For lyrics, stories, and recordings: THE KEY

I hadn’t written a new song for six months and “The Key” was especially healing for me. It represented an opportunity for me to sing with simplicity; something I’ve really gained from working with my wonderful vocal coach, Hannah Anders.

Over the last month, I’ve continued to refine my lyrics. There were a few minor changes and each one held great meaning for me.

Originally, I had a line about “my sentence was over.” I decided to change it to: “the prison doors opened.” This signified freedom without implying punishment and felt much better to me.

Locked away

In the first verse, I originally sang, “I died every day.” Even though I felt that way, my replacement of “I cried every day” felt better and was also true.

The last change was replacing the line of “I lost all my hope” with “I accepted my prison.” During deep grief, I was certain I would never “get over my child’s death.” Even though I gave up hope, I still silently prayed that someday I would feel better. Accepting my prison represented the ability to cope with life despite my pain. I plodded onward.


I have been busy working on a huge illustration project. I’ve taken breaks to continue singing and recording my music. At the end of this post, I share a live performance of my song at an open mic two weeks ago. I did hesitate on one line because I couldn’t remember my lyric change!

I couldn't escape

When I shared a preliminary recording of “The Key” a month ago, I received lovely comment from my blogging friend, Allyson Ragonese.  Sadly, Allyson understood all too well about my song because 20 years ago, she lost her beloved sister. I share a link to her beautiful poem that tore at my heart:

Comment on the key

In my personal life, I am very excited about the dry eye inspirational video that will be filmed at my apartment in a few days. The film crew consists of three and they are flying from Virginia to Los Angeles where I live.

My childhood friend, Joni, will be included in the video and that is precious. We’ve known each other since we were toddlers. Last week, we went shopping to buy some new outfits for the filming.

I received a breakdown of the shooting schedule and questions to answer related to how I’ve coped with dry eyes. The crew is supposed to arrive at 7 a.m. and the filming will go until mid-afternoon. It will pick up again later in the evening when I perform at an open mic. I’m prepared to accept that it will definitely be a long day.

I am exhilarated to have this amazing opportunity to express myself. I plan to open my heart.

Opening my heart has led to many wonderful things. If I had chosen to withhold writing about my eye condition, this latest opportunity would never have come about.

In ordered to be prepared for my video interview – I decided to write a few notes about ways I’ve coped with my dry eye problems and resulting depression. Without thinking, I titled my paper “Key Points.”

All of those points are ones that I have learned from my prior experience of living in a prison of grief.

Key Points I avoid looking back My path

I share this picture taken a year ago when my eyes were much worse. I can feel my pain with this image.

I share this picture taken a year ago when my eyes were much worse. I can feel my pain with this image.

Grief continues to be part of my life’s journey. On my video performance below, I choked up on the line of “I’ve never let go of my love for you.” Although I’ve tried to forget about my traumatic life experiences, I’ve accepted that they shaped me into the person I am today. 

I tried to forget

My daughter is a “rainbow baby.” She was born 11 months after my son died. I cherish my three children deeply, and never forget about my angel in the sky.

My daughter is a “rainbow baby.” She was born 11 months after my son died. I cherish my three children deeply, and never forget about my angel in the sky.

I am thankful I found a key that allowed me to live without suffering as I did for decades after the death of my son. Music was certainly one of the most magnificent keys that helped me to heal.

I also rejoice in how I’ve found a few keys that have greatly helped me with my eye discomfort since last year. I continue to search for more of them.

He brought me the key

My Angel in the Sky

© 2016 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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9 Responses to THE KEY – PART 2

  1. Judy- you did an amazing job in your performance of “The Key”! It is so heartfelt I got chills! Thank you for sharing my poem about my sister. When I started my blog I had no idea I would so quickly find someone like you, who can relate so well. I think it’s so important to speak your own truth and you do that so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Allyson! Your beautiful poetry and writing deserves to be shared and I’m honored to facilitate that. Perhaps I relate to you so well because you speak your truth and it touches my heart. Thank you again for being a part of my story. You summed up exactly what I wanted my lyrics to convey.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have an angel in the sky. It’s been 10 years since my son died. Bobby was 25. Almost 26.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Oh Sarah, as the years pass they continue to be our angel. I remember about Bobby. I have a 25 year-old-son who will soon be 26. So much ahead of him and losing Bobby at that age must have been unbearable. I’m so sorry. Thank you for your comment and sending you a hug.


  3. Belinda O says:

    Oh so beautiful (I’m catching up on my blog posts). Your openness is healing. Have fun with the video shoot…or has that happened already?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Thanks so much for catching up on my exciting recent event, Belinda. The photo shoot was on Tuesday this week. Perhaps I’ll write a post about that fun experience – that’s a good idea! I felt like Cinderella for the day. I even went and had myself professionally “made-up.” It was so eerie to look so different and be complimented so much. it was like wearing a mask lol! But for that day, it was thrilling to share my heart and story. The video won’t be available for awhile, but when it is – everyone will hear about it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Belinda O says:

        Looking forward to seeing it! How fun to be professionally made up. I remember a woman I knew who did that and no one recognized her!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Judy says:

        I totally believe that. Honestly, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize myself! It was weird. Friends all said I looked beautiful, but my sons couldn’t hold it back – they said, “Mom, take off that makeup – it’s not you!” Ha, ha! It was all part of a very fun experience! Glad I could share. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Belinda O says:

        Gotta love the boys. Well, I guess they have no interest in knowing you have a glamorous side! (Mom! Yuk!)

        Liked by 1 person

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