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the essence of a beautiful life

by Andrea
April 30, 2016

I hope you read Judy's last post, the landscape of my being. In her essay Judy continues to explore her experience of loss and grief from the passing of her mother over 10 months ago. She shares with us her discovery of what I feel is a lesser known secret about living a beautiful and whole life. She shares that by staying close to—and not avoiding—her experience of loss and grief she is finding an expanded landscape within her self. She then takes a leap, and goes...

by Judy
April 17, 2016

I seem to be, whether I am aware of it or not, in a continual contemplation of loss and grief; grappling to understand it in a way that I didn’t in the past when I lost someone I loved. I am older now and in a way have more time to reflect. Also having this forum, where I write every two weeks, helps me enormously to keep in touch with this process.

What I notice as time goes by is the sense of this gap or hole in my life, like a huge reference that is no longer there or a tear in one’s heart or a presence that was so strong and now is no...

 by Judy
April 3, 2016

I am just driving home and all of a sudden I feel the loss of my mom. It is experienced as the sense that something is not there anymore - a space that is now empty - a space that held so much love and care. It was a constant space, my mom, who was always there to speak to, share good news with, just laugh with. That space which for much of my life was taken for granted; a given, not fully appreciated, is gone. At those moments, it’s hard to even articulate the fullness of what one is missing. It’s not as if I lived with my mom for most of my...

Judy Fox
March 20, 2016

This morning, just back up north from being down in Florida in my mother’s home, I took my usual walk around the loop up here in Western Massachusetts, listening to gospel reggae music, and filled with delight by the sun, sky, trees and open space. I thought to myself, I am really happy. Then I remembered an exercise I did a few months ago at a writing workshop where we were to start the essay with, “Deep down inside….” and continue writing until the teacher said to stop. Afterwards some read their papers where they spoke...

Judy Fox
March 6, 2016

It was just a simple gesture; a simple movement with regard to my mother’s hospital bed that still sits in the middle of her bedroom eight months after she died. What happened is the bed level moved from a high queenly position to a normal height making it much easier to get in and out of it. That was all, but that change “set off’ an unusual response from me and a subsequent contemplation. Let me backtrack a bit. A good friend of mine, Margaret, had been visiting me for a few days down in Florida in my mom’s home where I have been staying for...

by Judy
February 21, 2016

Four months after my mom died in October, I took the plunge and signed up for a writer’s conference in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I had heard about this conference a few months earlier…it looked very interesting but the thought of traveling by myself to and in Mexico and not knowing anyone, somewhat scared me. I had also been living such a sedentary life in many ways for the last three years of my mother’s life when I helped to care for her. But I took the plunge and it really did feel like a plunge. At the time I wrote in my journal: “I...

by Judy
February 7, 2016

It’s been two weeks since I came down to Florida staying in my mom’s home. I came down partly to get away from the cold and also because it has become like another home for me, at least for the time being. This is the second time I’ve been here since my mom died seven months ago and again I was not sure how it would be, but it still has the flavor of home and the quiet space that was often my experience over the last three years of my mom’s life. 

And naturally being here I am acutely aware of both my...

happy 98th birthday mom!

by Andrea
January 25, 2016

Today is my mother's birthday. Born January 25, 1918, in a small town of western Massachusetts, she is now 98 years old. That is a lot of years and a lot of life experience! Born 10 months before the end of World War I, and 2 years before women had the right to vote, the world has seen enormous change in 98 years—from the industrial age to the digital age, through World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and countless other massive historical events, all of which have shaped and transformed the world we...

by Judy
January 23, 2016

It has been seven months since my beloved mom died…it does get easier…and sometimes I am still overcome by her loss. In those moments I just want her back, want to be able to call her up on the telephone, hear her welcoming voice. Those moments are hard. It is really something when you no longer have a mother, father or brother. In that sense you are an orphan and that is something new. I don’t feel alone however…somehow they are always with me in some way.

This blog site is called “When the Table Turns” and initially it was related to...

by Judy
January 9, 2016

The beginning lines of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy read: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” I thought of this line recently when thinking about the grieving process and how very different it is for each person – each person grieves in his/her own way. If I were asked to give advice about grieving, how could I tell anyone else how it’s “done” except to say to allow oneself  to grieve in their own way and let go of all the ideas and “shoulds” that may be there. It is such an individual matter...

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