Enter your email address to receive weekly essays:

Check your inbox for a verification request. Thank you!


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...

by Judy
September 21, 2013 

As I reflect back upon the last month with my mom, I feel in some ways her life has gotten more difficult. After having a stroke over fifteen months ago, and not able to walk, she has gone through many phases. At first it was very intense for months – my mother was hardly able to sleep and very emotional, but that all subsided thankfully and for at least a year now, she has been in relatively good spirits.

But lately, perhaps over the last few months, with weakening strength even to keep her head erect for too long, it’s a bumpier...

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...

tribute to grandmother

by Judy
September 6, 2013 

Recently I wrote an essay about my grandmother and it struck me afterwards how one’s lineage gets passed on from one generation to another: from grandmother to mother and then daughter. Each generation passes on certain qualities, values and even personality traits to the next.  Over time I can see how this ancestral line has certain threads; ways of being that both overlap and also diverge in new and different directions. One consistent thread that my mother taught me, by what she said and by example, was to be loyal and care.

I see...

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...

by Judy
August 23, 2013 

After my last essay I received an email from my cousin who wrote at the end “While reading your latest essay, I kept thinking what would your Mom say if she were in a different place and she was able to see clearly how you have dealt with life? It is a tribute to her that you are who you are.”  After reading this I started to think about what my mother taught me and what it even means to be taught, in this case, by one’s mother.

I had always considered myself very different from my mom - she was, in my eyes, dynamic,...

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...

by Judy
August 11, 2013 

I am grateful that the day doesn’t always follow the night; by that I mean that circumstances actually do change and life is not, in many ways, predictable. This thinking is all in relationship with my mom, but of course it could apply to much more than that. Without going into the details, there are certain daily chores that my mom does that have gotten more and more difficult for her to do…simple things like if she sits down on a chair for more than a short time, she can start crying because she is so tired and only wants to...

when the table turns: choosing not tell

by Judy
July 31, 2013 

Thank you for your responses to my last blog about whether to tell an elderly relative about the death of a loved one. It has stimulated me to reflect on this more and also more has happened since I last wrote. What particularly strikes me is how much we don’t want to lie to our loved ones in general and yet it is sometimes more compassionate to lie in cases where suffering will incur and for no real reason. For example, one woman wrote me about her mother and father who both had dementia. When the mother died...

adirondack dawn

by Andrea | July, 2013

Early mornings in the Adirondacks are like nothing else. Every morning is different, yet consistently offering an orchestra of birds, dominated by ravens—not always so sweet sounding, but nonetheless a part of the orchestra. As the sky lightens and the birds fade into the background, the wind picks up, sifting through the sky-scraping poplar and pine trees, delivering a sound so soothing to the soul, like an ancient call from a timeless past. 

The month has flown by. I barely know where the time has gone. My mother and I arrived here at Lake George 4...