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Friday, 06 January 2012

Making Peace with Death - A Contest For You

Yeah, I know. "Death" and "contest" in the same breath sounds just a little creepy. Maybe that's what I like about it.

Earlier this week, we talked about one of the social taboos of getting old – women's hair loss. It is rarely spoken of or admitted to which means there is little good information and many women suffer through it in silence with no one to talk with.

But if you think hair loss is out of bounds, try bringing up a discussion of death at your next lunch or a dinner party. You won't get far. Hardly anyone talks about it.

Throughout the early and middle parts of our lives, the eventuality of our demise seems far enough away that we can pretend it's not there, but that becomes pretty much impossible after age 60 or 65.

Although it has been awhile, here at TGB we have discussed death and we will again – particularly in regard to Carl Jung's seven tasks of aging one of which is “facing the reality of dying.”

Enjoy Every Sandwich_cover So, I want to pass on a important and useful book that could help navigate these fraught waters. It is not that Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal, MD has such a new message - Tuesdays with Morrie covered similar ground: to live and love fully, to embrace every moment. But it is remarkable how frequently we humans need a fresh perspective on this ancient lesson which Dr. Lipsenthal eloquently gives us:

Dr. Lipsenthal died in September 2011, a few weeks before Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day as If It Were Your Last was published.

Here is what we're going to do today. To promote the book, Random House/Crown has set up a giveaway especially for TimeGoesBy. One (1) winner will receive a $25 Visa Cash Card and two copies of Enjoy Every Sandwich - one to keep and one to pass on to someone else.

To enter the contest, leave a message in the comments section below (no emails). That's it. If you have something to say on the topic of living with the inevitability of death, that's good. Or not. The only requirement is that you state your interest in winning the books and Visa card. Typing "Me, me, me" would do it, too. I'm not fussy.

The contest will close tonight, 6 January 2012, at midnight Pacific Coast time.

It is open only to people with U.S. and Canadian mailing addresses. The winner will be chosen in a random, electronic drawing and announced on this blog Monday 9 January 2012.

You can find out more about Enjoy Every Sandwich here and read an excerpt here.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Stroppy: Eccentricities of Being Eccentric No 1


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I have a collection of books on death and dying and would love to have Enjoy Every Sandwich to read and share with others. Two of my favorite books are Being with Dying by Joan Halifax and Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Dying is the biggest life adventure since being born!

I would love to read this book. Steve Jobs last comments before he died add an interesting twist to the task of dying.

I would be most interested in reading and sharing the book. Count me in,

"He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan
I too would love this book.

We're all on a journey...ler's make it peaceful, not a battle. Love this statement.

Me,me, me, too.

Just finished watching the trailer. You can count me in, too.

Me me me! I'll definitely buy a copy regardless.

Which reminds me Ronni, Tribes of Eden comes out in paperback in late February. We'd love to work with TGB on a promotional giveaway. Let's catch up soon.
Happy New Year.

I would like to win.

For this, I wish I had an American or a Canadian mailing address.

I don't have a problem with discussing death and my last conversation about it was last night and the two of us agreed that we need to enjoy every moment as this moment is all we have. I have also made sure my wishes regarding cremation are known. I don't find it frightening to think about. Nothing I would welcome today but I have seen sudden death come to those I know or love often enough that I know it can happen with no warning and at any age.

I'd love to read this book. If I don't win, I'll buy it.

I have been dealing with friends losing parents who have no idea of the process. I would read this book- but it would be sent out to my friends losing loved ones. Enjoy your loved ones now. Enjoy my life now.
Sign me up!

I definitely would read this book & recommend it to others. Was blown away by "Day of the Dead" festivities in Oaxaco,Mexico a few years ago. There death is definitely part of life, expected at any moment & not feared. Death is actually sometimes mocked. There are altars to the dead in public places like restaurants & private homes, with pictures of the deceased, booze, fresh flowers, & food. What a wonderful way to be comfortable with death!

Both my parents decided to donate their bodies to the local medical school. I'm considering it since I currently work at a medical school. We'll see.

I would love to read this so like others, if I don't win, I'll purchase it.

I am bowled over by the video because that Marin County redwood forest is where I go to restore my soul ... I try to say aloud to someone, every day, something that names the truth that we all die. I think I am trying to remind and make peace for myself.

Someday we will have the right to decide how we die and when but in the meantime we have a responsibility, a duty, to prepare for death carefully and completely. each of us has his own priorities (religious, family, legal etc. but we musn't leave anything to "the last minute

Send me the book before i'm dead already!

Me, myself, and I;-)

And, thanks for sharing the link, outing death, and writing your blog! XO

Although I'm 52, I'm no stranger to thinking about death. Lost a number of young acquaintances in the '80s from AIDS and lost my closest friend (Paul) at the age of 30 from a still unsolved homicide.

Paul was hispanic and we held a Dia de los Muertos party in his honor that first year after his death. I agree with Lana, and honor my friend and all others who were close to me and died, with an altar including their photos, candles, flowers, food and a glass of water (to quench their thirst from traveling from the other side), on the Day of the Dead each year.

Sounds like the books is a must read and would love to win it! Thanks!

Sounds good to me. Talk of dying at lunch? Usually the accusation of being MORBID! I am 77, my lunch friends the same or older. It always seems a shame to me, as we are certainly on this road together. There are a few who will talk about it, but mostly with lowered lids. Of my friends, there is only one that I can think of - we usually speak of all aspects and its always refreshing. She is indeed, company on the road.

I hate the topic but I know I have to deal with it. I lost someone very suddenly and even with that said, I am putting off the clearing out of all the house clutter so loved ones are not left with it, a major thing on my to do list is a Will, not done as well. But, I know it will eventually click in my mind. I just hope it won't be too late.

I've just started volunteering with Hospice and this sounds like a great book to help me.

Another tool to help me when I die. Thank you. Dee

Wonderful advice about living in the present. As for dying, the best thing we can do for ourselves, our loved ones and society is to have a living will.

Thanks for bringing up this subject.
As it is my birthday this month I would love to win the books and gift card as a gift to myself.
Tazz11

His is a simple message that becomes more provocative as we get older. At 62, near the ages that my dad and grandmother died, I am drawn to Dr. Lipsenthal's book and enjoyed the book trailer. His message is even more meaningful this year as my best friend has just died. My blessings to the doctor's family, as they continue their journey.

have spent a career working in the field of grief, loss, death and dying. riches most can't afford to buy. thank you for helping to bring this inevitable life event into the homes of many. thank you for extending the read which sounds enticing. may the most fortunate participant benefit by your giveaway.

Winning the prize would help me live that day to the fullest, just as I try to live every day.

The old maxim to 'live each day as if it were your last, because it just may be' seems to be appropriate here.

I think I am at peace with the fact that death is on my shoulder and each day is precious. But you can't have too much information so - me, me, me.

What a great start to 2012. Something that should definitely be dealt with by us all. Thank you for bringing the book to our attention.
M!

Please count me in.

It helps me to read books, articles, etc., on the subject, especially since no one seems to want to talk about death.

I feel education is crucial even on the topic of death and dying. Makes me less afraid.

And the old tried and true cliche "Life is short" comes to mind of course. Sounds like a wonderful book to read and share for any age. Would love to win, but I image I will be buying other copies as well.
Thanks for you wonderful posts and insightful wisdom you offer this community!

Just recently I've begun talking about death and find there is very much a stigma associated with death and dying.
I would love to win this book because I certainly can't afford to buy it. Ha. The perils of being old and poor.

Submitting name for book contest.

I lurk here every day.....post only once in a while. Count me in the drawing! On the Oregon Coast this week. I'll wave towards you in Portland while I am there!

I'm afraid I am a little put off by the all the recent commercialization of "dying the good death". This may sound harsh, but most people's experiences of the dying process are going to be very different than Steve Jobs or Dr. Lipsenthal. Not so upscale and privileged.
When you live with someone who's in the process, it's hard not to be consumed with thoughts of dying, and living. Or at least, that's been my experience. I have read many books on death, dying and trying to find meaning in both, over the past few months, but especially enjoyed and would highly recommend, "The Thing about Life is that one Day You'll be Dead", by David Shields, and, "The Hospice Movement: A Better Way of Caring for the Dying", by Sandol Stoddard. Shields looks at impending death primarily through a lens focused on himself and his 90+ year old father, with humor, pathos and lots of fascinating references and statistics.

The hospice book is old, from the mid-70's, but what i really appreciate about it, in addition to interesting history of the hospice movement,is the author's concern that everyone, regardless of their means and status, deserves tenderness and care in the process of dying. Most people won't have access to gorgeous surroundings and various comforts, and lots of supports in the process, but they are no less deserving of whatever can be done to ease their going "into that goodnight".

I now will apologize for having slipped into my own crabby old lady persona today, and go read a book.

I live in a retirement community and most of us here expect to go out, feet first. We see death often, kid around about it a lot, but seldom have serious discussions. Amazingly, this is not a sad place to live: we're all too busy doing what we enjoy doing. Are we living each day to the fullest? Sometimes - it takes focus. Would love to read this book.

Hello, I'm interested!

Yep, me too.

"From the rocking of the cradle to the rolling of the hearse, the going up was worth the coming down." — Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim, Chapter 33

Having lived on what I call "bonus time" for over 30 years, I really would like to read this book; That said, I won the last book give-away so please leave my name out of the hat. I'll go buy it!!!!

I am dying to read this book!

Sure, I'll bite! With 40-something commentators before me, random electronic gives me a chance at least! Even though as a cancer survivor I've been on that page (see title) for more than a year now! And still enjoying all my sandwiches! :)

I signed up at 35 for AARP and got a degree in Gerontology because I was fascinated with learning about aging. This book would be another step in growing my understanding 20+ years later

Exactly what Darlene said except: please send the book to the old lady in Pennsylvania, not the old lady in Arizona.

Hi Ronni: Having lost my son at 7 yrs old and my husband when I was 48, I figured out right away that being in the moment, of course in a responsible way, was how to handle this. Now that I am 67 (almost 68) I appreciate every little flower and bird, believe me!! I would love to win this by the way, me, me, me!!

This post touched me today. I just wrote to a friend "I must believe, I must believe, I must enjoy every minute, every day!" thank you.

As I viewed the video I got choked up and tears started. That is my usual approach to this topic. I think I need the book so that I can, at least, be calm as the end approaches. Count me IN the competition. Thank you for the offer.

Since I literally almost died several years ago (sepsis) and had made peace with dying even with conversations, such as they were, with family, I'm really glad it wasn't my time to go then. Thanks for mentioning this book. I'll read it even if I don't win it. Also made a list of the others mentioned in the comments.

count me in please

I would love a copy of this book. I savor every moment of retired life, caring for my wonderful grandchildren three days a week. It means getting up at 5:30 AM, traveling into Manhattan from Long Island and returning home after 7:00. I get paid in hugs and kisses and it is the best time of life. I want to share the book with my niece who volunteers in hospice.

I like the oldest book I could find on the topic: The Tibetan Book of the Dead -- available on Amazon video, Kindle, audio books, and also online.

Just Google:

amazon video The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The more I watch it, the more I am able to watch it. Happy reading! ;-)

I'm late to the party I see, but me, me, me as well.

I'm interested. I've just finished a terrific book on looking back during old age: Julian Barnes's Booker prize winner "The Sense of an Ending." He ponders our leaning towards nostalgia instead of insight and responsibility. Read it.

This sounds like one my sister and I could read at the same time! Pam

I'm an aging school librarian trying to hang on until I'm eligible for MediCare. Having held a job since the age of 14, living long enough to enjoy at least a few years of retirement would be a gift, though not the financially comfortable golden years of my grandparents era. I remember after one of the many deaths of people in our lives, my 30-yr old self telling my younger sister that's what would continue to happen - a series of losses, until at least we will loose ourselves. No, I don't discuss this issue with anyone anymore - I would love to read a viewpoint hopefully different than my own.

One of the best gifts I ever received was the privilege of caring for my dying father. It was a profound and wonderful and sad time.

Both my parent were of the generation where parents gave to children and not the other way around. So, it was very meaningful that I was able to give him something. I still fear dying (there is incessant nattering about the upcoming seniors' tsunami in Canada) but of death, I am indeed less estranged.

Thanks Dad for leaving me a bit of courage before you left. Sweet gift!

Hi Ronni, found your blog about 6 months ago and do much enjoy your writing. Happy New Year to you and to TGB readers.

pardon the unforgivable previous misspelling - "lose not loose" - would love to say it was only a typo!

Part of a quote I read this morning..If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door,I'd embrace you,kiss you,and call you back for one more. Would spend the $25 on another book and gift the extra book to a senior center. Think the funny posts like me me me should win. Laughing is already as good as winning!

I would be very interested in receiving the books and the VISA gift card. I have worked in long term care for many years, helped start innovative programs, helped my parents through the last years of their life and their dying and am now the elder in my family. I hope to live live well and die at peace with my life. And I hope to live in such a way that I and my family, including my daughters and their families/friends and my granddaughter, now 3 1/2 can celebrate our lives together and be at peace when death does come.

He who is not ready to die cannot fully live. As a culture we have this taboo - as if we mention death the Grim Reaper will swoop in. I had to face my own mortality at 27, with two small children at home. It gave the rest of my life a different perspective.

Coming to an acceptance that this life will end gives us more peace, gratitude and joy and helps us to appreciate every day.

I work at 3 senior centers and every day talk about material presented in Time Goes By with my mental health education groups. You are all the experts, after all. Based on your recommendation, I am going to buy this book anyway. If I win two copies, I will donate them to the senior center libraries and use the gift certificate to buy a third copy for the third senior center that I visit.

Me! I'd really like to win the books and the Visa card. I'm on the young side for this; a mere 50, if one is ever too young to contemplate what is inevitable. But I have sat with relatives far younger than I, and also those who were far old; number of years has little bearing of whether you are prepared or not.

Yes, I find myself thinking more and more about death and dying, and wishing that I could talk to my children about it without them insisting that it's too far off to think about. I am 66. I feel the need to think about it. I would love to have the books and gift card. I would be sure to share them.

I've just finished two memoirs, It's an Ill Wind, Indeed..., about life after my husband and young son died as a result of a fire in our home, and ...Invisible to the Eye: The First Forty Years. I'll be 81 years old at the end of this month...my children don't want to even begin to think about my death, which doesn't appear to be imminent, but.... I'm hoping this book will help me find a way to help them come to an acceptance that this life will end, which would make my anticipation peacefully and with gratitude and joy.

I am interested in the book. I think dying well is just as important as living well. And I'm always trying to define what that means.

While I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not really "living," and that is what I'm struggling with right now. I don't know what kind of life I CAN have and WANT TO have at age almost 72. I feel like I need to "get a life" and have not yet been successful at doing that. (Maybe it's just "seasonal affective disorder," but I'm feel SAD.)

my husband just passed and i would love to read this book.me , me, me.

Thanks for bringing this subject up Ronni!
It is time this subject was thoroughy aired.

I think we should be able to choose both the manner and time of our on death if we wish.
Is a "designer death" what we should all be aiming for?

Since the death of my precious husband, eight months ago, I am being led to explore this topic. Interesting that I have had a thought in my head for awhile now, to write about death. So it shall be.

I'd like to recommend this excellent article on the subject of death :
http://zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/read/nexus/

Elaine, I woke up with some of those sad thoughts this morning. I've had what most would call "a life", but it's not enough somehow. As I stare down the last years of my life I want to fill in the blanks I've missed. I would most welcome finding a soul mate friend, partner, whatever to love. I really, really need to learn to love what I have now and make the most of it. So, I guess I really need the book.

Please include me in the contest. I'd love to read and share this book.

Perhaps because my parents both died at an early age, I have been aware of the fragility of life for over 50 years. I count the last 20 years as precious, doing my best to live every moment for all it's worth.

"Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment."
-Dag Hammarskjöld

How about Stephen Levine's A YEAR TO LIVE - How to live this year as if it were your last. Written in 1997.

P.S.
(this is my second post -- I am not trying to cheat -- honest)

Another fun new book on death, sort of, is David Eagleman's Sum - forty tales from the afterlives where he has 40 different ideas about life after life.

See Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Sum-Forty-Afterlives-David-Eagleman/dp/0307377342

15 monthes ago was told I had
terminal metatastic lung cancer. Working on having a good death has been my task since. NEED this book!

Like most of us, I'm trying to get up enough nerve to really stare my own death in the face. It's not easy, & I need all the help I can get!

Thanks!

Today is my 75th birthday and I think I'll pass on the book for now. I'm not afraid of death per se, as I've noted before, but I AM afraid of "the American way of death". Dr. L. was a relatively young man with a young family, and we may have somewhat different perspectives. I'll see when I get around to reading his book.

I'm healthy and active (at least for today) as is my 82 Y/O husband, for which I'm very grateful. I'm also a strong supporter of allowing mentally competent elders at the end of their lives to choose the time and means of their demise. One of your other posts (by Cathy) mentions that most people won't have the resources to die relatively comfortably in beautiful natural surroundings, having achieved spiritual enlightenment, as Dr. L. was able to do. I so agree with her that everyone deserves a "good" death, but the best most of us can do is. . .the best we can do when the time comes.

Dear Ronni;

Thanks for blogging about this book and posting the video. Very relevant.

Jan

For some reason I have been thinking about this topic for more years than I care to admit.

I have moved beyond the belief that we have to die in a state of grace if we are to inherent some wonderful life after death. If there is another life after this then I welcome it like any other thing that comes from being human.

Fear is not what haunts me most when I think of death but it is the dying itself and the physical pain that can occur with it. I envy those who die a quick death and suffer very little.

Death comes to everyone but too few welcome it with a peaceful, calm, ease of mind.

I would love to read and share this book. Being 71 years old now, I have thoughts of death flash through my thoughts frequently. I tell myself I'm ready to go now but still dread the experience. Hopefully this book will show me the best way to go. Is that last sentence considered a pun? Good!

I've been ready to go for years.

Me. Me. Me.

I think more about death now that my mom has been ill and in declining health. Not only do I try and visualize what my life will be like without my mom with me (I am 56, she is 74) ... but it makes me even more aware of how quickly time is going by ... and that I will be next in line. With all of that in mind, I really try to enjoy every minute with my mom, my husband, my son ... this day is a gift! Tomorrow will be the icing on the cake.

Me, please.

I would love the book(s) and Visa card. If I win I will def send my give-away-copy to Betty M. Lucas. I wish I'd had it to share with my mother 11 years ago. Though dying from congestive heart disease and lung cancer, she refused to believe she was dying and kept asking her hospice nurse, "When am I going to get better?" It not only prevented her from being fully present in her final stage (far better than going with Alzheimers), but restricted my interaction in it (until dealing with the service, scattering, and a full year of probate hassles with the greediest lawyer in our town.)

If I should be the winner, please give the books and Visa card to Betty M. Lucas (see her comment above).

Me Please.... I am teaching a Collage class for elders (i am 76) and it is based on celebrating who we are, were and will be. I could sure use the extra boost since my income is one of those limited kind. I would like to share it with participants.

Why not me?
I'm interested in winning the 2 copies of the book, Enjoy Every Sandwich, and the $25 visa cash card. I will read the book and pass both copies on to others.

I would love to read this book... aging has a way of changing the things that are important to you each and every day.

Have enjoyed everything you've recommended so put me in line for the book!

I'm a retired hospital chaplain who worked primarily with persons with AIDS, their volunteers and family members, for twenty years--and I am now using my experience (especially from the early AIDS days when almost everyone died) to facilitate end of life planning groups for seniors/elders/mature adults (anyone over 50). I call the groups A Gift for Yourself and Your Loved Ones--three or four group sessions in which participants learn about all aspects of the dying process, all available resources and discuss their own plans with each other, which makes it easier for them to talk to their children, providers and POA. I would really appreciate copies of this book to share with these groups. And I could certainly use the $25 to print out more reprints for them also. You are so right about this subject!
Thank you very much.

I can identify with Kim's comment above...my dad will be 96 in a few weeks and is in declining health. I'm 64 myself so it's definitely on my mind a lot more these days. When the generation ahead of us is gone, we realize we're next in line and I've become very concious of not wasting a minute of what's left of my life by getting mired in the negatives; worry, anxiety, anger etc.

Whoa! By the time I got here to leave a comment, I think the probability of winning this went WAY down. But here I am, wanting to throw my own hat in the ring, too.

The video is only 3 1/2 minutes long, but I felt like I was taken to a completely different reality. I would love to read this book.

How ironic that this book should be your topic today. As a person dying of pulmonary fibrosis and under Hospice Care it seems like I should read this book. Hurry up and draw the winner. I am anxious to begin the first page.
Thanks for your column Ronni Happy 2012, Shirley

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