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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Dancing Through Life

My sweet, beautiful, lively mother has forgotten how to walk.

This is the second time in a month that Mom is on antibiotics. If something is ailing her, we don’t know what it is. Perhaps there’s a connection between that and her sudden inability to walk.

This is a woman who last year danced like a young ballerina for the admissions panel at her care facility; who astounded us five years ago when she and my dad spontaneously started cutting a rug at my son’s wedding; and who, since I can remember, has been leading me on a beautiful dance called life.

Maybe it just feels sudden. Maybe all the signs were there and I didn’t want to see them. I’ve been writing and talking about and observing Mom’s waning use of her legs for months now. I’ve noticed with alarm that there were times when she could barely stand let alone stroll around the hallways. I’ve realized that for her to stand and balance her weight on her atrophying legs is a painful process.

It is one thing to know and another thing to experience. It seems that Mom can no longer walk. And I am devastated.

When we got her to her feet, she could not move forward. She was frightened and we immediately sat her down again.

One of the nurses suggested it was due to her glasses breaking, that her sight had diminished significantly and she was afraid to walk. I actually perked up at this suggestion; but when we brought her her spare glasses (while we wait for her main pair to be fixed) it had no significant improvement on her abilities. I am grasping at straws.

And though I hope I’m wrong, it probably has nothing to do with whatever caused a slight fever yesterday.

If this is our new reality, what is in store for us? How do we move forward? What will our visits be like? Will this physical decline also signal another mental decline? Today, I couldn’t even get her to understand how to stand up.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. I must accept that. But I am dreading this new reality.

It is very hard to compartmentalize Mom’s slow and menacing decline while I’m out in the world shopping, talking, listening to music, drinking coffee with friends. But it is what I must do. I must continue to sample the new and to experience the joys in life. I am thankful for my kitchen as a place to accomplish that.

This is mango season in Israel. I love the sweet, juicy fruits, their orange color, sucking on the seed, getting fibers caught in my teeth. I’ve found that the best place to peel and cut them is over the sink. I can never peel them without getting my fingers all sticky. There’s a mango salad with lettuce that I love, and I was thrilled to find a similar recipe for green beans with mango.

Tangy Green Beans and Mango Salad

My husband Jeff doesn’t like the smell or taste of vinegar, so I’ve tried to cut it down in this recipe, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating the leftovers, not him. And that’s fine with me!

800 gr / 2 lbs frozen fresh green beans

1 large purple onion, sliced thinly

6-7 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 Tbsp water

½ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp mustard

3 Tbsp date honey

2 mangos, peeled and cubed

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring green beans to a boil in a large pot of water then simmer until their color turns bright green and they are tender but not soft. Drain under cold water and set aside. In a food processor, pulse garlic, vinegar, water, honey and mustard, salt and pepper, leaving small chunks of garlic. Mix green beans, onion slices and dressing in a large bowl, adding mangos last. Toss with seeds and serve either warm or cold.

I’ll be taking vacation next week. See you back in September!

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