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by Judy
December 13, 2012 

Such a changing landscape; one minute I am in communion with my mom. She is lying so peacefully in the early morning hours; dark outside as the rain comes down and it’s so sweet with her… and now I feel like screaming inside. She is moaning and groaning as she lies on a bedpan; her choice not to get up and go to the bathroom. It’s so hard to listen to her groans. I can’t distance myself from that as much as I try. It pierces consciousness.

Nearing the end of life aint always pretty...

by Judy 
December 3, 2012 

I have always been touched by the ending of life. For some reason the experience and fact of birth has never pulled me in a big way. I have no idea why but it hasn’t.  Instead since I was little, I’ve been very aware of death, thought about it - my own and others - and also as I got older, very aware of the poignancy of a life lived that is coming to its end. This acute awareness of death perhaps has something to do with the fact of being a postwar baby, Jewish and very conscious from a young age of the...

by Judy
November 26, 2012 

And now since the stroke, that’s a whole other jump from who she had been. Now sometimes my mother will moan and cry with no thought of how it appears; caught in her emotions and nothing else matters. I notice I am getting more and more perspective on the whole phenomena; it’s perhaps partly to do with my own survival, but it’s something else as well.

I have more understanding of how strokes effect the emotions and that it does seem to be out of her control or my control. Today...

by Judy
November 18, 2012 

At the age of ninety-five my mother relaxed.

She let her hair that had always been colored

go white.

No longer relentlessly restless

She was content to lie in bed most of the day - doing absolutely nothing.

The "put on" smiles and faces for the public dropped.

"Relax," she said to me, "Relax."

Still beautiful, but now so quiet-

soft - still funny.

This mother who had always been larger than life - taking up so much space

shrunk...now small - sensitive - loud...

by Judy
November 7, 2012 

Who are we? How is it that our personality can change so radically? Even before the stroke, my mother had gotten so much quieter…actually a better listener than she had ever been and not trying anymore to be the center of attention. That had dropped away.  It all changed quite dramatically three years ago when my mother was 93 after being hospitalized for low salt and more importantly for a restricted aortic valve. From that time in the hospital, she went from still living on her own in the condominium she had lived in for over thirty five...

by Judy
October 30, 2012 

The agony and ecstasy: the agony of being with her at night when she can’t sleep; can’t get comfortable; she’s miserable and restless and is moaning and babbling. It’s like she enters a different realm at night that is full of demons and there is nothing you can do to help except continue to stroke her and then maybe she will sleep for five or ten minutes before she wakes again. Sometimes she wakes from a nightmare and confuses reality with dream and what can soothe her in that moment may be as simple as...

by Judy
October 24, 2012 

The title of this blog is “when the table turns” and really the table started to turn quite a while ago. There are subtle and then not so subtle changes that have been happening over quite some time. Life is about change and yet we don’t always fully acknowledge that or live by that undeniable fact.

So when did the table start to turn? When did my strong, ever independent mother who late into her early nineties still insisted on doing all or most of the driving when I was with her; who continued to cook not only for herself but at times...

by Judy
September 24, 2012

It's a continual letting go; letting go of who my mom used to be; who I used to be with my mom; letting go and at the same time taking on new attributes like patience and more patience. I remember when my mom’s memory which had always been quite good began to change and she began to repeat questions or not remember what I had told her. At first there is a rebellion that takes place or perhaps a better expression would be a resistance to really accepting what is happening. I would get impatient and annoyed with my mom; “Come on mom you...

by Judy
September 17, 2012

The hardest battle my mother has ever fought is going on right now at the ripe old age of 96. A little over a month ago she had a massive stroke in her midbrain on the right side which left her almost paralyzed on the left side of her body. And it has also affected her emotionally and who knows in how many other ways. I think of it like an earthquake that has occurred and she is still feeling the aftershocks. It has changed her whole inner and outer environment. She is struggling and going through a lot and still she is fighting.  In spite of...