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content to just be

by Andrea
January 28, 2013

In a recent conversation I was having with someone, I was sharing my experience of writing this blog, its purpose and meaning in my life. I found myself saying things that I didn't even realize I knew. That happens a lot when speaking with someone who is truly interested. They pull things out of you that you don't realize are even inside. Once out, it's like you always knew it—but not until that moment. 

Blogging is like that too. In...

by Judy
January 24, 2013 

As my mother is moving toward her 97th year, post-stroke, post pacemaker and post aortic valve replacement; she is still remarkably there.  No doubt senses are failing: eyesight, smell, taste and to some degree hearing, but at the same time her sense of touch and feel have become acutely sensitive. It’s as though there is only a thin membrane, much thinner than skin, between her inner and outer world. She is particularly sensitized to the touch, sound and feeling of other human beings. She notices...

natural dignity

by Andrea
January 21, 2013

My mother will be turning 95 this week, and while this is not something that she feels excited about, for me there is a quiet celebration brewing within. It is not only that she has made it to 95which is a big deal in itselfbut that she is living it with dignity. This is the real cause for celebration. Especially in light of the fact that a few years ago, her dignity seemed to...

by Judy
January 17, 2013 

Since about three and a half years ago when the tides changed with regard to my mom’s health and independence, I have been involved with many people in the care giving profession: doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, physical, occupational and speech therapists in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and at home. And as in everything, there is a wide diversity of expertise and care that is shown by these men and women of all different backgrounds. In every situation that my mom has been in, certain people...

by Judy
January 10, 2013

I've been thinking about this whole phenomenon of hallucinations that happens, it seems, so frequently in the elderly. It also seems to be a phenomenon spoken about so little by doctors, nurses or caregivers. Why is that? Is it because it is so unknown and the medical field really doesn’t know why it occurs and so has not addressed it? Or maybe because they don’t know how to “mend” it? It’s like this unspoken phenomenon that no one really wants to get into, but as a family member, you are suddenly confronted...

becoming a united front

by Andrea
January 7, 2013

As this blog site unfolds, and the deeper Judy and I get into it, I find myself taking a step back to look again at its purpose. Why are we doing this blog site? Who are our readers? Why are we reaching out? Why is this important? 

My initial reason for wanting to write this blog was in response to the table turning in relationship with my aging mother—and the psychological and emotional challenges that I and so many of us face as our...

by Judy
December 30, 2012 

I continually delight in watching my mother eat her breakfast every morning. First one has to understand that this was a woman who did everything quickly and ate faster than anyone I have ever known- even faster than my brother. She ate with a ferocious quality like she had not eaten for days. She particularly loved bread. She still loves bread and especially bagels but now when she eats her eyes are often closed and she takes one bite at a time and chews very slowly, extremely slowly. Except for her mouth...

Winter light in Sweden

by Andrea
December 25, 2012

Today is Christmas Day and I am writing from above the Arctic Circle. Yes, true. I am visiting Gällivare, Sweden to celebrate the holidays with the family of my daughter's boyfriend. Swedish style holidays - with short days and long nights. The days are filled with the light of dawn for only about 5 hours. The sun never makes it above the horizon before that beautiful dawn light disappears into darkness. With an average temperature of -30C, pristine white snow blankets the area with...

by Judy
December 24, 2012

When my mother speaks with her friends, it’s like she enters a world where nothing has happened. There never had been a stroke that changed her life so significantly. She’s the woman who gives advice, is interested to hear about what’s happening – a whole familiar stance manifests that has it's own particular aroma of ease and shared life history. 

So yesterday when Molly called and said she’d like to see her, my mother immediately invited her out for dinner forgetting that she can’t...

by Judy
December 18, 2012 

I’ve been up north for a week and coming back now to be with my mom, I notice changes. She is more restful in herself, not crying so much and has been sleeping most of the night. Also I can hang out with her and carry on quite long conversations. It’s like the ground is readjusting to the traumatic earthquake (the stroke she had) and pieces are coming back into place…the landscape is becoming more familiar.  And of course that has an effect on all of us who are taking care of her. I notice I feel more...