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Eulogy for beautiful mom: Rita Marie Marra Hurley

My mother passed away on May 7, 2018, surrounded by loved ones. This is the eulogy I wrote for her... 

My mother, Rita Marie Marra Hurley, mother of 9, grandmother of 16, great grandmother of 12, and second mother to so many of our friends and spouses. She lived a beautiful and full life. She was fun-loving, smart, hard-working, healthy, fierce at times, and so very gentle. She was deeply spiritual, anchored in her Catholic faith. Always welcoming others into our home, both in Jamaica Plain, and at Lake George, she created a rich life for our...

quiet endurance and unbroken commitment

by Andrea | Dec. 17, 2017

In my last post, I gave you a glimpse into the beautiful life of my sister, Mary. It was only a glimpse, but when any of us spend even a moment to glimpse into the beautiful life of another, it can be enough to ignite a spark of that life in our own. It can be enough to open our hearts and minds to new possibilities that did not exist prior to that moment. We may not always be aware of it, but beneath the surface of our human interactions, those sparks are like...

Beautiful Mary

by Andrea | Nov 17, 2017

A human life is impossible to wrap your arms around—in its fullness, complexity, completeness, and history. It is too big, too vast and mysteriously endless. The more you ask, the more you find, and the more you find, the more you ask. The more you look, the more you see, and the more you see, the more you look. This goes on like an ever-expanding galaxy. I’m not always in touch with this expansive reality, but a window into this knowledge seems to reveal itself strongly when a loved-one passes away. When quiet and stillness descend, and there is no...

what do you do when you don't know what to do?

By Andrea | July 2016

What do you do when you don't know what to do? What do you do when you need to make an important decision, but the answers are not yet clear? What do you do when preoccupation sets in and pressure builds, making the process of deciding even more difficult? At this stage I often feel a thin veil develop between myself and the world. That's when I know I have to go within and listen. Listen as silence reveals its secrets. 

As those of you who know my mother (personally or through this blog) probably know, she spends her summers in a big old rustic cottage...

the essence of a beautiful life

by Andrea
April 30, 2016

I hope you read Judy's last post, the landscape of my being. In her essay Judy continues to explore her experience of loss and grief from the passing of her mother over 10 months ago. She shares with us her discovery of what I feel is a lesser known secret about living a beautiful and whole life. She shares that by staying close to—and not avoiding—her experience of loss and grief she is finding an expanded landscape within her self. She then takes a leap, and goes...

happy 98th birthday mom!

by Andrea
January 25, 2016

Today is my mother's birthday. Born January 25, 1918, in a small town of western Massachusetts, she is now 98 years old. That is a lot of years and a lot of life experience! Born 10 months before the end of World War I, and 2 years before women had the right to vote, the world has seen enormous change in 98 years—from the industrial age to the digital age, through World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and countless other massive historical events, all of which have shaped and transformed the world we...

immeasurable moments while lost at sea

by Andrea
December, 2015

For this essay I decided to do something different. Having allowed myself to lose some writing momentum, I found myself for weeks feeling lost as to what to write. Sometimes this happens. I sit and wait. Nothing comes. And so in an attempt to free myself of this spell, I tried something out of the box. Early this morning I sat quietly for hours, listening to the awakening silence and capturing words as they appeared on the horizon. Without judgment or direction, the following poem was born. Once complete, I touched...

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...

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...

two sides of a coin, blog post by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
August 25, 2015

So much of life can be viewed through the metaphor of “two sides of a coin.” Almost everything, in fact, can be seen in this way. There’s the bright side and the dark side. The ups and the downs. The struggles and the victories. And yet mysteriously, the net sum of our lives is not neutral. These two sides don’t inherently balance each other out or flatten the plane of our existence. Most of us would probably agree that at the end of the day, year, or lifetime, there is some net gain or some positive momentum generated, even if only incremental. We...