Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Standing at the door to my bedroom, my father stood in his dark blue suit tapping his foot while staring at his sixteen-year-old daughter. “Jackie, hurry up. We’re going to be late,” he ordered. In the Madden family, punctuality was right up there with perfect manners...
Gourmand

Gourmand

Although many things have changed about my father in the last few years, his willfulness is not one of them. Having spent his career as a sailboat captain, he’s used to being master of his domain, the boat being the tiny universe in which he reigned. When he gave...
How to talk about death

How to talk about death

There are a lot of articles out there telling you how to talk to your family about death as if it’s a complicated thing to do that requires special care and attention. It doesn’t. I wonder about the personal lives of the people who write advice about...
Love and Lapses

Love and Lapses

It’s hard to change roles after living a certain way for decades. Dementia — and aging in general — forces our roles with certain family members to undergo dramatic changes. Producer B.A. Parker started recording her calls with her father because she...
Thankful Grateful

Thankful Grateful

On a gray, rainy Monday afternoon, as I sat with my mom in a consultation appointment with her new surgeon, the definitions of two words came to life for me in a new way, offering a glimmer of hope during a cloudy season.  When I heard my mom, who has been my...
What I Wish the CNAs Knew About My Mom

What I Wish the CNAs Knew About My Mom

When my mom moving into a nursing home last year, I was terrified. I was leaving her in the hands of people I didn’t know, who she didn’t know, and who didn’t know her. Scary stuff. Sure, the team wanted to know what she likes and what kind of care she needed, but...