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when hearts collide/when the table turns

by Judy
May 15, 2013 

Each week after I’ve written an essay I have no idea what I will write about next and every time something emerges. I begin to think that when the intention and interest are there, material comes – sometimes out of the smallest stimuli. The stimuli this time was a simple trip taken to Loehmann’s department store. A very ordinary event which involved, in this case, four people going shopping. Yet it not only left such a sweet aftertaste but led to an appreciation for how much life is enhanced when all the parts...

by Andrea Hurley:  a pure love, but not an easy path

by Andrea
May 8, 2013

In my last post, listening between the words, I shared some of my experiences with my mother, my daughter and my sister, and how when we listen very closely it's as if we're listening between the words. Sometimes with my mother if I didn't listen this way, I'd probably feel boxed in to a world which has gotten small. But by listening in this other way, I never feel boxed in. Even though my mother does not have the same repertoire of experiences to share with me, it doesn't matter. What does...

the force that moves her being

by Judy
May 3, 2013

This past week has been quite momentous as my mom reached the ripe age of 97. Given that she had a stroke almost ten months ago, in some ways it is quite miraculous that she is still here. So much has happened since the stroke and I have much to be grateful for. I have a small crew of caregivers - all from Jamaica; loving, caring and really good people. Having passed through the storm of the stroke, my mom now is fundamentally doing alright. She has at times difficult “moments,” but basically she is fine. She is well cared for and she still has this...

listening between the words

by Andrea
April 29, 2013

I was moved by Judy's last essay, "could I have done more?" It is a question that is on my mind a lot. It's probably on a lot of our minds. In a way her essay touched the essence of why I wanted to create this blog—to reach more deeply into my heart and experience, to understand and give voice to this impulse that wants to leave no stone unturned, no words left unsaid, and to open up this conversation with Judy and others who share this similar life circumstance with elderly parents (or others...

by Judy
April 24, 2013 

At one point in my last blog post I wrote about contemplating whether I had left any stone unturned, words unsaid with my mom after taking leave of her for six days with the sense one never knows what the future brings. One woman whose father had recently died responded, “No matter how aware you are of the fact it 'could' happen, it is still a shock and you still feel like you didn't do all that you wanted to do with that person.”

Her response struck me. I reflected on the truth of...

Mom and Ali at the Town Diner, March 23, 2013

by Andrea
April 20, 2013

It is difficult to write this week without acknowledging the agony that has gripped the heart of Boston after the Marathon bombing last Monday. As a native Bostonian myself, it all felt so surreal, painful and confusing. As I watched local news when law enforcement was honing in on the second suspect, I saw in the background the Town Diner where I sometimes take my mother for lunch (photo above is my mother and daughter at the diner). The final drama in Boston took place not far from where my mother lives, only 5 miles away. I thought of her,...

the assumption of continuity

by Judy
April 15, 2013 

On the way to the airport to go up north for six days, I felt my usual pangs of separation heightened by my mom’s frequent teary response whenever I say good-bye. The pangs don’t last long, but especially when just leaving I have that sinking feeling in my heart. This time I caught myself thinking, “It’s only six days Judy and you’ll be back soon.” Then for some reason I started to reflect on this thought and could see a whole stream constructed in the mind about the future, an assumption of continuity - if A...

my mom - too sweet

by Andrea
April 11, 2013

My mother moved into an assisted living community last November. If you have been following this blog, you will know that I fought like crazy to prevent this. I did everything possible to keep her at home, where she wanted to be and where I felt was the most natural place for her to live her remaining years. The idea of assisted living frightened me. I had all sorts of ideas that my mother might never adapt, that she might feel betrayed by her family because we moved her away from her home. My mother had become so fragile, that I didn’t know if...

moments of decision making

by Judy
April 4, 2013 

Anyone who has gotten seriously involved with care giving for a loved one knows how deeply involved one has to get in the medical world; hospitals, doctors and medical treatments. I have learned over the years how important it is to not be passive in any way, to independently investigate and not assume that the doctor always knows best. There are so many decisions that have to be made almost on a daily basis. These decisions of course vary in importance. The small decisions like whether to give a sleeping pill...

by Andrea Hurley: a new narrative

by Andrea
April 1, 2013

What is the narrative of our life? What story can we tell at the end of the day? End of the year? End of our lifetime? Stories matter partly because they can outlive us. They hold meaning and value that can travel from generation to generation. Stories also matter because they can influence and change us right now. Some stories uplift the human spirit, and others crush it.

A big part of the reason Judy and I are writing this blog is to tell a story about aging from a particular point of view. It’s a view that I feel is very positive. It...