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Honoring Judy and Selma

by Andrea
June 28, 2015

I really don’t know where to begin. I feel at a loss for words. A big silence fills me at this time. In this silent space the essence of a love so sweet and tender vibrates like the mesmerizing shimmer of light on a soft lake at dusk. It is hard to move, to think, to do anything. Only to be still, and to allow a new chapter to wash over.

As many of you know (and some of you may not), Judy’s 99-year old mother Selma passed away last week. She passed peacefully in the middle of the night. Judy was there, enormously grateful for her mom’s...

essay by Andrea Hurley: beauty and the magic of undistracted time

by Andrea
June 14, 2015

To me my mother is beautiful. Ninety-seven years old and beautiful. I tell her this almost every time I see her. As these simple words penetrate her heart, she usually smiles softly and expresses a bit of disbelief—as if it surprises her every time. My mother probably does not expect to hear these words. She may not hear them often from others. She probably does not think of herself as beautiful, not at 97 years old. As I expressed in my last essay, we...

looking inside, changing mindsets, and creating a new future together

by Andrea
May 21, 2015

This past weekend I went to the birthday party of my friend, Joe, who just turned 95. Joe lives in the historic Beacon Hill area of Boston. He still drives, travels, teaches, writes (currently working on a book) and goes often to the theater, symphony and opera. Joe has lots of interesting friends from many different circles. Rare in his capacity to retain his memories and engage in thoughtful conversation, Joe breaks the spell of what most of us would believe possible as we march on toward our elderly years. At the celebration of his ninetieth...

alzheimer's and a rocky week of dreams, by Andrea. Photo credit: Relativity, by M. C. Escher, 1953

by Andrea
March 25, 2015

It’s been a rocky week of dreams, the kind that you can’t shake for days. Even as the details fade, a heaviness lingers. In one dream, I was driving in NYC and got lost. After some time I found a parking garage, hopefully a respite from the confusion. I pulled in, but there was no respite. The parking garage was impossible to navigate. It was like trying to navigate Escher's stairwell. Nothing made sense. I parked the car and got out to search for my bearings—only to find that I could not find my way back to my car. Things went from bad to...

blog post by Andrea Hurley. Real or unreal: finding magic in the happiness of a dream

by Andrea
February 22, 2015

One of my sisters left me a message yesterday. “Hi it's Carolyn—it’s 5:30pm and I just got off the phone with mom. I want to tell you about our talk. Call me when you get this message.” She sounded urgent but not worried. I called immediately, and got her voicemail. I waited a minute and called again. This time she answered. And so began our conversation about the talk she had with our mother. I listened, somewhat braced but with full alert. With a 97 year old mother, you have to be ready for anything.

“I just talked with mom, and she...

Awakening the caregiver instinct, essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
February 9, 2015

The concept of being a caregiver is not one that I have necessarily thought much about for most of my life. And even now, I don’t go around thinking I’m a caregiver. When Judy and I started to write this blog, it was not intended to be about caregiving. We were simply reflecting on a deeper experience of care that was awakening within us in relationship to our elderly mothers. We were very interested in and curious about this particular care. Over time, the caregivers were responding. We seemed to be pulling on a deeper...

not all old people are nice, essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
December 28, 2014

Not all old people are nice. I know this is an obvious statement, but I usually don’t say this kind of thing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that in our writing, Judy and I focus on the positive, placing little focus on anything negative about others, especially old people—who I always respectfully refer to as elderly people—not old people. But lately I’ve been feeling more rebellious. I don't know, maybe it was my reaction to that scrooge of a fellow who lives in the assisted living home where my mother lives—the...

a forever love, Gerard A. DeBiasi: 1941-1914

by Andrea
December 16, 2014

In my last post, giving and receiving, I shared an experience I had while visiting my brother-in-law in the hospital—an experience where giving and receiving were perceived as one inseparable whole, not two separate parts. There was no longer a distinction between the giver and the receiver. It was a moment of pure love, and in that pure love, time disappeared. It was like a window into a forever love—an eternal love that is...

two sides of a coin, essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
November 19, 2014

Deep human contact comes in so many forms. We see each other and make contact. We touch each other and make contact. We listen to each other and make contact. It could be contact with a flower, a plant or a puppy. It could be an exquisite sunrise or a warm balmy breeze. So many ways that we make contact. But what is it that happens in these moments of contact—moments that may last only a few seconds, or possibly for the rest of our lives? And why is it that some people touch us so deeply? 

It might be the quality of someone’s voice, a...

Alzheimer's Pocket Videos

by Andrea
November 13, 2014

For so many of us, Alzheimer's touches our lives in ways that open an infinite number of questions, questions that may have no answers. Personally, I have never experienced anything so confusing, heartbreaking and ultimately heart opening as this disease. It calls upon a strength far beyond what we feel is possible. Strength, compassion and wisdom as well as a deep and abiding love for the struggle of humanity. It is my deepest hope and desire that this disease brings us closer as a human family, in honor of the loved ones in our lives who...