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breaking the unspoken rule, blog post by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
June 29, 2014

One of the pleasures in getting to know my mother as an elderly person is the discovery of how she has changed, softened and become more receptive in her senior years. Sometimes she even seems like a new person to me—or that she is the same person and a new person all at the same time. 

I've had to come close to see some of the more subtle changes. My feeling is that if we don’t come close and spend time with a degree of openness in our hearts, we may never see or know who our elderly loved ones are becoming and how they may have changed...

whenthetableturns: care for elderly moms

by Judy
June 23, 2014

Recently I started an essay for my next blog post and even had a title for it, “Night and Day.” In it I spoke about how my mom is like two different people. Like the difference between night and day, I wrote, she has these two different faces, voices, mentalities that are particularly pronounced when she is out of the comfort of her bed and when she is in bed. We all have different temperaments, moods, faces depending on internal and external circumstances, but it is very extreme with my mom. I gave the example of going to the...

by Judy
June 9, 2014

“Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter -- to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.” – Albert Schweitzer

I’ve been thinking about music lately and what a profound and Universal effect it has worldwide. Music goes deep into our being - evokes many feelings; memories, nostalgia... uplifts us to heavenly...

whole body listening: a blog post by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
June 8, 2014

Sometimes I struggle with writers block. When I do, I feel disconnected and empty. And when I try to force something to come, I become like a rebellious child. Refusal. Stubborn refusal. Seems there is nothing I can do about it, with nothing interesting to say, so why bother? Oy. What an attitude! So this morning I have taken myself to a nearby cafe, which is bustling with conversation, spurting with the steamy sound of the the espresso machine, laced with the high pitch voices of playful children—all of this weaving seamlessly with the barely...

when the table turns: getting down to basics

by Judy 
May 26, 2014

My mom had her 98th birthday a few weeks ago. We had a very simple celebration at home. Her dear niece Barbara flew in from California and Pat, her trusted caregiver, and Pat’s daughter and grandchildren came. Mom stayed in bed most of the day and in the afternoon went into the dining room for the birthday cake with lit candles. Nothing too elaborate. That is what she wanted. Barbara had brought a beautiful shawl that had been hand knitted by a good friend of hers who feels a close connection to my mom.

The next day I put a photo...

when you have dreams, blog post by Andrea Hurley: painting by Rita Hurley

by Andrea
May 20, 2014

My relationship with my elderly mother has become a metaphor for my life. It truly has. Several years ago I made an important decision. I decided that I wanted no regrets about my life. As I looked at my life through the rear view mirror, I saw a lot that I could be regretful about—plenty of missed opportunities and wrong turns. And yet somewhere inside I knew it was possible to live a life of no regrets, even with an imperfect past. But how does one do that? How does one live a life of no regrets? 

It was...

by Judy
May 12, 2014

Lately I started thinking about emotional resiliency as a few weeks ago it had been quite intense - a combination of my mom being more unhappy and uncomfortable than usual - so sensitive that even kidding around was often too much for her and having computer difficulties that created ongoing problems. I felt like I had to expand myself to allow for this increased intensity - let it land on a wider, deeper field within.

I have never been particularly patient when having to deal with difficulties. I remember when I was a kid and my...

another kind of table turning: essay by Andrea Hurley

by Andrea
May 4, 2014

A few days ago I was speaking with Judy, sharing with her about the family party my husband and I hosted last weekend. Well, it was not just a party—it was a remarriage celebration. Our own. After 20 years apart, my former husband and I remarried, and last Saturday we brought both of our very large families together to celebrate. Judy said, “Andrea, write a post about this!” I thought, “Really? But this has nothing to do with what we share on our blog.” She said, “But it’s another kind of table turning.” And so I reflected…

What is a table turning...

by Judy
April 28, 2014

When I was a kid, I remember first hearing the French singer Edit Piaf, a small woman nicknamed the little sparrow, who had a huge voice that pierced right through your heart and soul. She transmitted through the words she sang and the power of her voice the full weight of her life which was definitely not always easy. One of her famous songs was, “Non, Je ne regrette rien” (No, I don’t regret anything). I mention this as I’ve been reflecting upon regret. I’ve been thinking how it is almost impossible not to have any regrets in one’s life –...

when the table turns: sink or swim...

by Judy
April 14, 2014

After reading my last essay, “Too Sweet…Too Salty,” my cousin Matty wrote to me, “I am speechless…where do you get your strength and positive outlook from?” Her question stimulated my inquiry.

Where does this positivity come from in relationship to caregiving and watching my mom fade away and not always happily fade away? I remember my mom used to say, “Either we are going to sink or swim” in this life and she chose to swim... and she swam with vigor. Well, I want to go even beyond swimming…perhaps even...