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essays

when the table turns

by Judy
March  31, 2014

Some days it’s just harder…lately my mom who had been such a voracious eater all her life, thoroughly enjoying food, has grown more and more disinterested. It has happened gradually since she had a stroke. Since then her smelling and tasting senses have diminished considerably and she hardly opens her eyes to see what she is eating. All this combined with not having much appetite – she doesn’t move a lot – has led to an increased lack of interest. My mother has always loved bread (she used to say it was her nemesis) and especially bagels and now...

Love

by Judy
March 17, 2014

A few days ago I had a dream right before I woke up. I was in a hotel with many of my friends as well as many of my possessions. As I packed up my bags to leave, I found that my clothes and “things” kept being stolen. In the dream, I would catch the thieves and they would put everything back, but quickly afterwards everything would be stolen again. I woke up thinking: “I don’t care about my possessions; the only thing that matters is love.”

Now I was aware when this happened that this is a very common understanding expressed again and...

by Judy
March 3, 2014

Sitting on my mom’s terrace has endless significance for me. This is the terrace where my mother did all her painting for years. She would often tell me she could not sleep when working on a picture and would come out on the terrace in the middle of the night to paint. It’s also where she kept the majority of her plants that she so lovingly took care of for many years. After she was hospitalized with a restricted aortic valve, she started to live with Pat, a professional caregiver. Pat and my mom would often sit on the terrace for hours in the...

loss:when the table turns

by Judy
February 17, 2014

Recently I was speaking with a friend who lost her mother a year ago. She said her experience of losing her mom was very different from what she expected. Even though she had reflected upon what it would be like, she said that we cannot really know until it actually happens. It took her by surprise. She spoke very eloquently about her experience expressing a sense that a big chunk of her life, a reference point, that she wasn’t even aware was there, had gone and she was left with a much greater sense of being alone. As I listened to her -...

by Judy
January 20, 2014

I woke up very early the other morning a bit stunned. I’m sure everyone has had that experience of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling disoriented and insecure. It’s quite a raw feeling when one feels up against the reality of life and death. In that state of mind, I started to think about impermanence and how really everything is truly changing all the time. I had the image of being an island out at sea. This island has a basic solid ground, but it’s also always moving, coming upon and viewing new landscapes. Particularly because...

Count my blessings: when the table turns

by Judy
January 6, 2014

I have much to be grateful for this year.

First and most importantly my elderly mom born coming close to a century ago in 1916 was with me at the close of 2013. Not only was she with me, but in spite of her ailments, still glad to have “made it” as she said to me. We listened to music together at the close of the evening.

I am very grateful that I have had the chance to be with my mother in her twilight years and can say that we share a love and sweetness together that I would never have imagined when younger. It would not have...

by Judy
December 23, 2013

After my last essay about gratitude, I received an e-mail from my cousin Matty who said, “If only people could look for the positive, like you do, the world would be a better place.” I thought in many ways looking for the positive, in this case with regard to caring for our mothers (Andrea's and mine) has been an ongoing motif or strand that runs through all our essays. And it brings me pause to reflect upon why this is the case…why us? Is it merely because in many ways we have been very fortunate? We have...

by Judy
December 9, 2013 

As we have just passed the holiday of Thanksgiving and approaching Christmas, I am struck by how both days are really about gratitude. Thanksgiving is ostensibly about the gratitude that the Pilgrims felt after their first harvest in a new land, but has expanded to include giving thanks for so much more. A time to commune with our loved ones for what we have been given. And Christmas is also about gratitude – gratitude, joy and love. Not having been brought up as a Christian, I can still experience and appreciate the teachings of Christ, which...

mornings with mom, an essay by Judy Fox of When the Table Turns

by Judy
November 15, 2013 

There is such a sweet time that happens often with my mom...it's the window that opens between the time she wakes in the morning and has breakfast - that interim of time when she is just opening her eyes and I'm there to say good morning and give her a kiss. Sometimes she just smiles with such innocence and may ask me a simple question like, “Did you sleep good last night?” And then I'll ask her about how she slept. The other morning she asked me to get into bed with her - it was 8 am on Sunday morning. I crawled into the narrow hospital bed...

by Judy
October 28, 2013 

For the past few weeks my mom has been saying she is going to go very soon. When she’s said this, sometimes it’s been in a very calm way, but other times, she’s expressed sadness and also concern about leaving me, her only child at this point. It’s been a very raw time and in that sense a certain degree of gloom in the air. My mother has always been quite intuitive, but at this point I really don’t know how clearly she’s seeing the future. She has also always been fundamentally very positive and down to earth. So of course she is going to die...

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