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When the table turns: running for spirit

by Judy
January 5, 2015

As the weather got cooler in South Florida, I started to run in the mornings and/or evenings and since then, I have gotten an Ipod and have been running with music. I am definitely not a natural born runner nor do I have a runner’s body, but when I run on this soft artificial grass right outside my mom’s apartment with uplifting music – gospel Jamaican reggae or joyful African music – I do feel like I am running for God like the Scottish athlete and missionary in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” I think it helps to keep me sane, uplifted and to see...

not all old people are nice, essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
December 28, 2014

Not all old people are nice. I know this is an obvious statement, but I usually don’t say this kind of thing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that in our writing, Judy and I focus on the positive, placing little focus on anything negative about others, especially old people—who I always respectfully refer to as elderly people—not old people. But lately I’ve been feeling more rebellious. I don't know, maybe it was my reaction to that scrooge of a fellow who lives in the assisted living home where my mother lives—the...

A virtuos cycle

by Judy
December 22, 2014

How can I be happy...but I am. Yes, I am deeply happy and how can that be? Living with my fading 98 year old mom in her home in Florida for the past 2 1/2 years - not being with any of my friends - away from my home up north and not part of a lot that is happening up there and yet I feel no lack, no sense that I am missing out on anything. This hit me strongly when recently there was a twinge of, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to be there” and then I realized I fundamentally don’t feel that way most of the time - it’s so not the underlying ground of...

a forever love, Gerard A. DeBiasi: 1941-1914

by Andrea
December 16, 2014

In my last post, giving and receiving, I shared an experience I had while visiting my brother-in-law in the hospital—an experience where giving and receiving were perceived as one inseparable whole, not two separate parts. There was no longer a distinction between the giver and the receiver. It was a moment of pure love, and in that pure love, time disappeared. It was like a window into a forever love—an eternal love that is...

by Judy
December 8, 2014

Early on I wrote an essay shortly after my mom’s stroke called “The agony and ecstasy.” This was a particularly difficult time when she was in a maelstrom of emotions and turmoil, hardly slept at night and would burst out in tears without reason. Within that storm, there were still moments of contact, sweetness and love; however overall it was intense. Thankfully it calmed down.

Now two plus years later, I find myself in a different place with my mom. It’s definitely not intense in the way it was – good to remember that - but still there...

by Judy
November 24, 2014

Recently I wrote an essay about why I write. I knew at the time there was more to explore and uncover. In a way, it’s an endless exploration. In my case, I am diving deeper into why I write in relationship to living and helping to care for my elderly mom.

Firstly, I write to honor and give testimony to my mother’s life, not only in the twilight of her existence, but also to her basic essence that shines through even at this more difficult time of her life. And in a way, it’s bigger than my mother. It’s giving testimony to life in...

two sides of a coin, essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
November 19, 2014

Deep human contact comes in so many forms. We see each other and make contact. We touch each other and make contact. We listen to each other and make contact. It could be contact with a flower, a plant or a puppy. It could be an exquisite sunrise or a warm balmy breeze. So many ways that we make contact. But what is it that happens in these moments of contact—moments that may last only a few seconds, or possibly for the rest of our lives? And why is it that some people touch us so deeply? 

It might be the quality of someone’s voice, a...

Alzheimer's Pocket Videos

by Andrea
November 13, 2014

For so many of us, Alzheimer's touches our lives in ways that open an infinite number of questions, questions that may have no answers. Personally, I have never experienced anything so confusing, heartbreaking and ultimately heart opening as this disease. It calls upon a strength far beyond what we feel is possible. Strength, compassion and wisdom as well as a deep and abiding love for the struggle of humanity. It is my deepest hope and desire that this disease brings us closer as a human family, in honor of the loved ones in our lives who...

by Judy
November 10, 2014

Food is such an essential part of life. It not only gives nourishment but also pleasure. It evokes fond associations connected with childhood, past experiences, our culture, and our way of breaking bread with each other…our communing together. And of course it’s an essential way mothers give to their children, a way of giving love.

Now living with my 98 year old mom, it’s natural to want to see my mom eat and be nourished. In that sense the roles have reversed and I, like a mother, want my mom to be fed and ideally enjoy the process...

by Judy
October 27,2014

There is something that I haven’t written about before because in some ways it’s the most raw. It’s when my mom will burst out in tears and say she will miss me and doesn’t want to leave me. Usually when she says that, I manage to distance myself emotionally. But tonight after I put on very impassioned music – Andreas Botticelli singing romantic Italian music - Mom burst out crying and when she could speak said, “I will miss you.”  I told her I would miss her too. Then I lay next to her in bed until she fell asleep. I was left with tears running...