To Live Well is All We Can Do

moms_fall2015I spent the last weekend at mom’s place in London.

Beautiful fall colours surrounded.

moms_fall2015_02At one point, while we were sitting, enjoying each other’s company and looking out the big front window, mom said, “It’s really nice looking out there. How is it that it’s so nice to look at?”

moms_fall2015_03Those of you who know me know the struggles my mom and I have been going through the last few years.

Those of you who don’t may have noticed that I haven’t been quite as consistent with my blog posts.

Instead of posting every single Friday without fail, I’ve missed a few, here and there.

fallcorn_01I have had to let my Friday posts slip every so often. I was having too hard a time keeping up and this blog is supposed to bring me (and you) joy, and it was starting to feel like an obligation.

You see, my mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her ongoing care takes up a fair amount of my time.

As well, the joy that bursts from my heart most of the time has been more subdued of late. A wise person told me to let the joy lapse if that’s what’s happening.

Grief is hard. And the ongoing, slow-burning grief of caring for someone who is being stolen away slowly can be overwhelming.

It makes it hard, sometimes, to race out to find something beautiful to photograph.

fallcorn_02As well, this past weekend, a very good friend and an excellent human being passed away somewhat suddenly. Far too soon. He has left a family and a community full of love searching for … we don’t know what. Meaning? Hope? Understanding?

“Keep up beat,” were his instructions, passed on by his partner, the woman who loved him above all else.

fallcorn_03Amid all this beauty there are still sadness and grief; and the signs of season’s end are all around.

The winter will be upon us before we know it, with it’s own mix of beauty and sorrow.

In honour of my mother and my friend, I request that you take some time to look around, enjoy the crisp air, the blue skies and the clouds, keep up beat when you can, keep living, and live well.

It’s all we can do, really.

In the face of mortality – live well.

Love to you all.


  1. Esther, this is a beautiful, heart-wrenching post. Grief is hard. Living through times like these makes it hard to see the beauty, but it’s all around us and your joy, although subdued, is still inspiring. Sending you strength, and hugs.

  2. I didn’t know. So sorry you’re going through that. After watching my mother go through it with *her* mother, it’s one of my greatest fears (and my mother’s too). I’m grateful that we seem to have dodged that bullet so far.

    1. It’s a thing, that’s for sure. More and more common as well. Fortunately the understanding around Alzheimer’s is increasing in regards to care and what those with AD need to continue to live full(ish) lives.

      But no, I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who would voluntarily sign up to go through it.

  3. Esther Vincent i can really relate to this post, although my family has suffered from a different ailment, it is slow burning, can be all consuming & hard remember to embrace joy. I find sky watching and sunset chasing very soothing too. Gives you time to be in the moment, and enjoy the beauty of life for what it is right then and there. Thank you for your beautiful words, and hugs to you

  4. So beautifully expressed, Esther – my heart goes out to you. During the last several months of my mother’s life, having a coherent conversation with her would sometimes be very difficult. I would leave these visits feeling frustrated, angry and depressed. I soon realized that if my visits brought her joy and at the very least, we could exchange lots of hugs and kisses, then mere words really didn’t matter that much.

  5. Thanks, Yvonne. My mom is pretty much past the point of coherent conversation. Each time we talk it’s almost as though I can see/hear words dropping from her vocabulary.

    You are exactly right, it isn’t so much the content of the words, but the feelings expressed that matter – exchanging joy and hugs is far better than worrying about the words.

  6. This is a lovely piece, Esther. …And God, yes, it’s hard to see the decline of a beloved parent — or, indeed, of any beloved. I took my little seven-month-old granddaughter for a walk today to share the experience of a glorious November afternoon. Her delight in everything — blue sky, birds singing, cars passing, people saying hallo — was wonderfully healing.

    1. Thank-you, Paul.

      My mother was a painter and her focus was the landscapes, weather and time change around her home in suburban London. I’m grateful to have been raised to see the immediate world around me as being filled with wonder both in the expanse and in the detail.

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