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When the table turns: running for spirit

by Judy
January 5, 2015

As the weather got cooler in South Florida, I started to run in the mornings and/or evenings and since then, I have gotten an Ipod and have been running with music. I am definitely not a natural born runner nor do I have a runner’s body, but when I run on this soft artificial grass right outside my mom’s apartment with uplifting music – gospel Jamaican reggae or joyful African music – I do feel like I am running for God like the Scottish athlete and missionary in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” I think it helps to keep me sane, uplifted and to see...

A virtuos cycle

by Judy
December 22, 2014

How can I be happy...but I am. Yes, I am deeply happy and how can that be? Living with my fading 98 year old mom in her home in Florida for the past 2 1/2 years - not being with any of my friends - away from my home up north and not part of a lot that is happening up there and yet I feel no lack, no sense that I am missing out on anything. This hit me strongly when recently there was a twinge of, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to be there” and then I realized I fundamentally don’t feel that way most of the time - it’s so not the underlying ground of...

by Judy
December 8, 2014

Early on I wrote an essay shortly after my mom’s stroke called “The agony and ecstasy.” This was a particularly difficult time when she was in a maelstrom of emotions and turmoil, hardly slept at night and would burst out in tears without reason. Within that storm, there were still moments of contact, sweetness and love; however overall it was intense. Thankfully it calmed down.

Now two plus years later, I find myself in a different place with my mom. It’s definitely not intense in the way it was – good to remember that - but still there...

by Judy
November 24, 2014

Recently I wrote an essay about why I write. I knew at the time there was more to explore and uncover. In a way, it’s an endless exploration. In my case, I am diving deeper into why I write in relationship to living and helping to care for my elderly mom.

Firstly, I write to honor and give testimony to my mother’s life, not only in the twilight of her existence, but also to her basic essence that shines through even at this more difficult time of her life. And in a way, it’s bigger than my mother. It’s giving testimony to life in...

by Judy
November 10, 2014

Food is such an essential part of life. It not only gives nourishment but also pleasure. It evokes fond associations connected with childhood, past experiences, our culture, and our way of breaking bread with each other…our communing together. And of course it’s an essential way mothers give to their children, a way of giving love.

Now living with my 98 year old mom, it’s natural to want to see my mom eat and be nourished. In that sense the roles have reversed and I, like a mother, want my mom to be fed and ideally enjoy the process...

by Judy
October 27,2014

There is something that I haven’t written about before because in some ways it’s the most raw. It’s when my mom will burst out in tears and say she will miss me and doesn’t want to leave me. Usually when she says that, I manage to distance myself emotionally. But tonight after I put on very impassioned music – Andreas Botticelli singing romantic Italian music - Mom burst out crying and when she could speak said, “I will miss you.”  I told her I would miss her too. Then I lay next to her in bed until she fell asleep. I was left with tears running...

my caring mom, essay by Judy Fox

by Judy
October 13, 2014

This morning a simple exchange between my mom and I. I thought she was sleeping and just gave her a kiss on her hand. She looked so peaceful. As I was leaving, she said, “Judy,” and I came over to her. She asked me how I had slept last night and then I asked her. Just a simple exchange that often, but not always happens in the morning. It was right before I went downstairs to go for a swim and I was left with this overwhelming feeling about my mom's care which has been like a golden strand running through my life. I thought...

When the table turns: why do I write?

by Judy
September 29, 2014

It is now two years since Andrea and I started this blog site of When the Table Turns. Since then I’ve been writing almost every two weeks. It’s been a powerful commitment. A lifeline really. Why do I write? Why, as a caregiver, has writing this blog become so important?

In contemplating this I thought of something I read after Nora Ephron died a few years ago. She grew up in a household of writers—both her mother and father—and apparently they steered all the children towards writing from a very young age. The mother said, “...

by Judy
September 15, 2014

I have been reflecting on memory lately as I watch my mother’s memory fade. She is 98 years old, doesn’t have Alzheimer’s disease, but for certain her memory is getting worse. The other day when she could not remember what she had just eaten, she started to moan. When I asked her what the matter was, she said, “My memory is getting so bad.” That was the first time that I remember her expressing pain about her faulty memory. As I responded, I expressed to her that probably what she eats is not very important to her anymore. She doesn’t see,...

living close to death

by Judy
September 1, 2014

We human beings live not just in the moment. Our consciousness can roam to all different time periods – back into the past, recent and far, and into the future or imagined future. Inevitably as I live so close to my aged mother, my mind will wander into the time when she is no longer. I don’t do it very often or with a lot of detail, but it comes up and sometimes in a strange way. Like I might be traveling in a taxi from the airport to my mom's home and think of what it will be like to be doing this when she is not here anymore - the same...

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