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selfish, i know: an essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
March 24, 2014

Recently when I was leaving my mother’s place, an assisted living community in the Boston area, I ran into T, the van driver for the residents. A kind and engaging man whom everyone loves, T is incredibly fond of my mother and always asks about her. This time he told me how much I look like her. Even though few others say this to me, I appreciate that he sees a similarity between us—something I’ll have with me forever. He then asked about her age, her memory and her health. We chatted about these things for a few minutes, about my mother’s recent...

a toast to life and to love: a post by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
February 23, 2014

Every year on my mother’s birthday an ever growing family comes together to celebrate. Rarely does anyone miss this event, especially as my mother has become elderly. This celebration becomes more poignant every year, both because of the significance of a life on this planet for almost 100 years, and also because of an undercurrent of tension in all of our hearts, a question that goes unspoken: will this be the last? 

As I write these unspoken words, part of me wants to hit the back key, and erase that question from this post. As if erasing it...

surrender and humility: blog post by Andrea Hurley, When the Table Turns

by Andrea
January 21, 2014

I was speaking with a close friend the other day. She had recently hurt her back and was in a lot of pain, but rather than complaining about the pain, she spoke about gratitude. This struck me. She was not only grateful that her back was showing signs of relief, but she was expressing gratitude for the years remaining in which her body would be healthy and pain free. She said that when the time comes that her body will begin to age and will lose strength and vitality, it will require surrender and humility. Surrender and humilityher...

the gift of seeing

by Andrea
December 2, 2013

We live in a world that is all about change. Grow. Change. Evolve. These words seem to define some of the deepest values in contemporary human life. While dear to our hearts, it is also a popular belief that we are the authors of our own changes. "We can change ourselves, but we can’t change others" is a common phrase. But is this actually true? I don’t think so. In fact, I think not only can we change others, but we do so all the time—only we may not...

before the lights go out: a blog post by Andrea of When the Table Turns

by Andrea
November 12, 2013

This past spring I brought my mother to the birthday party of one of her dear old friends from the neighborhood where we grew up. He was turning one hundred years old. The party was held at the prestigious Harvard Club in Boston and there must have been over 250 people there to honor his life. I was a little nervous bringing my 95 year old mother to such a big event, aware of how she might feel overwhelmed by the crowd and activity. But she rose to the occasion with more than aplomb. She was delightfully engaged and relaxed and reconnected...

when we don't have unlimited time

by Andrea
October 23, 2013

Time has so many purposes. On one level, it helps us to prioritize and organize our lives, and helps to coordinate complex societies as the world moves into the future. But time has another function. It can work on our hearts and in our relationships to make us more deeply happy. 

Recently I listened to an interview by Krista Tippet (of On Being) with Psychologist, Dr. Alan Dienstag. In the...

Alzheimer Walk Flowers

by Andrea
October 4, 2013 

A primary characteristic of being human is that we are always seeking meaning. There is more to life than what meets the eye, and we always want to know what lies beyond our reach. Life pulls us to make sense of it, asks us to grapple and at times to struggle. Struggle can lead to noble understandings. Life wants to make sense of itself. 

I reflected on this last weekend when I did the Alzheimer’s walk with several members of my family. It...

when the table turns: first year anniversary

by Andrea
September 15, 2013

Exactly one year ago today was the official launch of When The Table Turns, so today is our first year anniversary! I published my first essay “where nothing ever grows old” and two days later Judy published hers, “an earthquake”. We began this journey by following a spark in each of our hearts, and a belief in the possibility of a new narrative for caring for elderly friends and loved ones. Judy was taking care of her then-96-year-old mother in Florida, who had just...

the care instinct

By Andrea
September 3, 2013

Last week I received a call from the Assisted Living community where my mother now lives. The nurse began, “Your mother is fine, but...”

Reassured by these first few words, what followed still evoked one of my primal fears. Yes, another fall. 

Nobody knows how it happened, only that my mother was on the floor in the morning when her aid came in to assist with her...

where did that barrier go?

by Andrea
August 15, 2013

I was speaking with a new friend/colleague yesterday. He is someone who works in the field of Dementia and Alzheimer’s research, and who reached out to me recently to redesign his organization’s website (which is what I do for work). Whenever we get together for our meetings, we often share a little about what’s happening in our lives. Almost immediately we are in a conversation that we never could have predicted, the depth and subtlety of which is always a surprise. He quickly sees...