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notes for a eulogy

by guest writer, Joan Berland
December 23, 2015

As part of our caregiver’s circle, a few participants have been drawn to write about their caregiving experience. This essay was written by participant, Joan Berland, who wrote about her 90 year old mother, Jean, last January. Joan wrote this eulogy piece the day after her mother died. This is a tender and poignant, two-part essay. We are honored to share Joan's writing...

by Judy
December 20, 2015

Pat, who was my mother’s Aide for the last six years of her life and who has become like a sister to me is also the closest link to my mom. Because of that, when I am with Pat or talk with her, I feel so strongly my mom’s presence as does she. We both carry her in our consciousness.

One aspect of my mother that was particularly delightful was her sense of humor. She found humor in so many situations and would laugh with such abandonment that whether it was very funny or not…and usually it was very funny…you could not help but laugh with...

by Judy
December 6, 2015

Someone asked me the other day how taking care of my mom changed me. I told her I had never been a mother, but felt like in some ways I have had that experience. No matter where I was physically - near or far - I felt like my mother was always in my consciousness. There is an interesting balance when that happens, especially with someone who is very fragile and whose health can change at any moment. On one hand, I think there is always in the background of one’s consciousness a kind of tension, knowing how delicate and unpredictable life is and...

by Judy
November 22, 2015

It’s been five months since my mom died and Thanksgiving is approaching. Somehow every day feels like a day of gratitude; nonetheless, given that Thanksgiving is a special day of gratitude, I thought to give voice and words to what I have been given. There is so much that I am grateful for.

For one thing I am alive, relatively healthy and breathing free. That is no small matter and not to be taken for granted.

I have had this deep love and appreciation for my mom that still – even writing these words – brings tears to my eyes. I...

going home - when the table turns

by Judy
November 8, 2015

A week ago I came down to Florida to stay in my mother’s home where she died a little more than 4 months ago. Before coming down from up north I was surprised how much I was looking forward to being here. On an almost unexplainable level, I felt like I was going home. It felt a bit strange in the sense that my mom is no longer here and in that sense I was coming down to an “empty” home – empty of my mom’s flesh and blood and yet it’s the place she lived for over 40 years and where I lived for three straight years helping to...

blog post by Andrea Hurley: being mindful of my aging mother's needs

by Andrea
November 1, 2015

“What are you working on these days? What is your practice?” These kinds of questions are not uncommon in our contemporary world of yoga, meditation and spiritual inquiry. There are all kinds of answers that one might hear in response. We might hear answers like:

  • Simplifying my life and getting rid of excess stuff
  • Working out 4 days/week
  • Practicing daily meditation
  • Turning off my electronic devices at 6pm each day

These are all really good answers and great...

by Judy
October 25, 2015

My first thought was, “OMG, how did that man survive?”

I had been reading about a deeply spiritual man called Hillel Zeitlin, a Jewish mystic, Yiddish and Hebrew writer, who attempted to ‘rejuvenate” Hasidism between the two world wars. He had a vision of a new Hasidic community that would be a crossroad between Hasidic mysticism and modernity. He lived from 1871-1942 mostly in Poland and died in the Warsaw ghetto. In the course of reading about him, I came upon the fact that his oldest son, Aaron...

by Judy
October 11, 2015

It’s been a little more than three months since my mom died and so many different threads of contemplations arise. When someone dies who you are close to, and especially I think if one is older, like myself, one is quietly plunged into reflections with an acute awareness of the limited time we have on earth. I find that without really trying, there are repeated themes recycling in my thoughts; thoughts on death, aging, being alone, on what has value, what I want to do and how I want to be. And who are we? How is it we can function on so many...

by Judy
September 27, 2015

On the 23rd of September was Yom Kippur, the most holy day in the Jewish religion – the Day of Atonement – and also as it turned out, the anniversary of my mom’s death three months ago, I lit Yahrzeit memorial candles both for my mom and dad. The candle burns for 24 hours through the night.

I woke up on the morning of the 24th at 6 am. It was still dark but the warm glow of the two candles that I had lit in honor of my mom and dad were still burning brightly and I felt such a sense of peace and stillness as if...

being loved without expectation

by Andrea
September, 2015

Yesterday I was sitting with my mother, having a glass of wine at the end of the day in her tiny assisted living apartment, about 6 miles from where I live. Teddy, my dog, sat faithfully by her feet. At one point, I glanced over at her clear eyes and soft skin. I momentarily felt disarmed by the kindness in her innocent face, remembering the time when the tables were beginning to turn, and I could barely see through the clouds. Tonight our conversation was simple and heartfelt. The fact that we were having a conversation at all was more than...