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striving to take in the whole picture/when the table turns

by Judy
May 23, 2013 

At one time in my life I was a Buddhist practitioner and loved hearing stories about the Buddha, the fully enlightened one. One of the stories I loved hearing was how the Buddha taught his students by what is called skillful means which meant that he would use different practices and techniques for different students depending upon their temperament, background and particular weaknesses. I thought of that recently after reading...

when hearts collide/when the table turns

by Judy
May 15, 2013 

Each week after I’ve written an essay I have no idea what I will write about next and every time something emerges. I begin to think that when the intention and interest are there, material comes – sometimes out of the smallest stimuli. The stimuli this time was a simple trip taken to Loehmann’s department store. A very ordinary event which involved, in this case, four people going shopping. Yet it not only left such a sweet aftertaste but led to an appreciation for how much life is enhanced when all the parts...

the force that moves her being

by Judy
May 3, 2013

This past week has been quite momentous as my mom reached the ripe age of 97. Given that she had a stroke almost ten months ago, in some ways it is quite miraculous that she is still here. So much has happened since the stroke and I have much to be grateful for. I have a small crew of caregivers - all from Jamaica; loving, caring and really good people. Having passed through the storm of the stroke, my mom now is fundamentally doing alright. She has at times difficult “moments,” but basically she is fine. She is well cared for and she still has this...

by Judy
April 24, 2013 

At one point in my last blog post I wrote about contemplating whether I had left any stone unturned, words unsaid with my mom after taking leave of her for six days with the sense one never knows what the future brings. One woman whose father had recently died responded, “No matter how aware you are of the fact it 'could' happen, it is still a shock and you still feel like you didn't do all that you wanted to do with that person.”

Her response struck me. I reflected on the truth of...

the assumption of continuity

by Judy
April 15, 2013 

On the way to the airport to go up north for six days, I felt my usual pangs of separation heightened by my mom’s frequent teary response whenever I say good-bye. The pangs don’t last long, but especially when just leaving I have that sinking feeling in my heart. This time I caught myself thinking, “It’s only six days Judy and you’ll be back soon.” Then for some reason I started to reflect on this thought and could see a whole stream constructed in the mind about the future, an assumption of continuity - if A...

moments of decision making

by Judy
April 4, 2013 

Anyone who has gotten seriously involved with care giving for a loved one knows how deeply involved one has to get in the medical world; hospitals, doctors and medical treatments. I have learned over the years how important it is to not be passive in any way, to independently investigate and not assume that the doctor always knows best. There are so many decisions that have to be made almost on a daily basis. These decisions of course vary in importance. The small decisions like whether to give a sleeping pill...

aging as a natural process

by Judy
March 28, 2013 

I recently read “Reflections on Aging” a chapter in the late Dr. Gerda Lerner’s last book Living with History/Making Social Change. Gerda Lerner, the foremost pioneer of women’s history in America, wrote insightfully and poignantly from her own experience about the aging process. This week I would like to give you a few selected passages from her reflection. Interestingly part of what Dr. Lerner expresses about the aging process is applicable to how wisely we maneuver through our life right now whatever our age. She writes without any...

by Judy
March 21 

I feel like I’m peering into the aging process. I’m rubbing up right against it, observing its contours and planes and how the landscape subtly changes. About ten days ago I wrote in my journal:

“Mom is fading. The hard edges have softened even more. She’s merging into pink. That’s who my mom has become – softening shades of pink and white with a dash of red every now and then. When she smiles at me in that simple unadorned way, I always melt. My mom used to have that smile in the morning just at the break of dawn, but recently now it comes...

by Judy
March 7, 2013 

Do we ever see our parents objectively? Do we ever see anyone objectively? Do we ever see ourselves objectively? You look at another person and depending upon the angle from which one looks, the view is different. Also we are all changing; the other person is changing; you are changing… what we are looking at and who is doing the looking is all in flux.

We are also all getting older and as I get older, my perspective changes…I step back and don’t focus on the particulars so much, the...

a choice of love

by Judy
February 28, 2013 

Lying in bed early one morning a line came into my head: “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”  I thought: “Where did that come from and what did it mean?” Almost instantly I knew it had to do with the fact that I’m living with my mom almost all the time now in South Florida. Immediately I knew it was true and it surprised me. I wondered why. Had I ever thought that this time with my mom was just an interlude between my “old’ life and “new life, (whatever that means) but some sense of an interlude? Was I waiting in some...