Are You More Conservative or More Liberal Than When You Were Younger?

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


I don't talk about it often, but I think about it often. I enjoy most of the sandwiches, and thinking about death fairly often helps me enjoy them.

Me, Me, Me.
Last month at Christmas dinner there were three generations present and there was a discussion of end of life considerations and wishes. Was interesting and enlightening.

Having had all four of our parents die in the last few years I was interested in this book...and disappointed that my library doesn't have a copy. is my comment.

Well, death's been hitting too close to home lately. I've had cancer, and while I was receiving chemo, my BELOVED brother, Robert, passed away from cancer. Where do folks go when they die? I want to see my brother (my dear soul) again. His loss has broken my heart.

I love winning and I also love competition and seems like there is a lot of that but my theory is, why not try?

Holy cats! So much competition!

I felt I had to become comfortable with dying rather suddenly, when I was a young lieutenant paratrooper, standing in the door of a C-130, flying over a forest, looking for the drop zone. I had a few very long minutes to think about it then. I have been at ease with the prospect ever since. I thank God for my life, which has been filled with blessings for over 70 years, and I know He didn't bring me this far just to drop me. I am ever grateful. I would prefer that my passing not be in such a way or time to be bad for those I leave behind, but I trust Him for that. "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

Came back to check and my "entry" isn't posted!! Hmmm
Hey, Ronnie!!!!
Oh my.

I finally found the comments section-so disregard the email
I am an Episcopal priest aged 68 and even though I am faced with the death of others quite often I myself and many of my parishioners don't like to talk about. Maybe this book can help all of us.

Wow! Lots of comments...I would love to win this book. Thanks for all you do!

I too will buy the book if I don't win it.

Sounds like a great read for Book Club. Will read, discuss, pass on. Count me in!

My eldest son just passed away unexpectedly three weeks ago today. He had been recovering nicely from open heart surgery necessitated by a Staph infection. Now I know what people mean when they say our children should not die before we do. It has been heartbreaking and transforming all at once. Mikey, I miss you. I could use this book right now.

I'd love to read this book, and I'd love the cash card also. At 76 I think about my mortality and try to live the best I can. Sometimes I think, "This may be the last time i do this." At 66 I didn't think this way.

Ronni, leave it to you to high-lite the taboo in a post. I enjoyed the video, it was touching, but I found the comments more interesting. I recently faced the possibility of losing my wife to cancer and she is now cancer free. At 62 I hope for more life with her and admit to fear dying. I guess it's the unknown part that scares me. Is there life after death? My faith tells me there is, but being just human I wonder. The idea of just ceasing to exist is frightening, even though I know that rationally it will not matter to me. If I win I will read the book and use the card to buy something nice for my wife.


I think I need to read this book since I waste a lot of precious time just feeling sorry for myself.

Me please.

I'm interested in death, so count me in for the Visa and books. Thank you.

Would be great for my studies. Oooo! Hope i win 😊

I confess, I share Woody Allen's POV:

"It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."


"I do not believe in an after life, although I am bringing a change of underwear."

Thank you, Ronni, for the opportunity to win this book! (And I'll buy it regardless.)

I stare death in the face every single day, all day. I am a nurse and I review medical records for every Medicare patient who comes into our large hospital system. I would be very interested in this book.
Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this excellent blog. You are an inspiration.

Ronni, count me in.
As I grew up and then grew older, along the way, it was always somebody else. Great Grand Parents, Grand Parents, Parents, Siblings, and now I'm the only one left. I'm next. One comfort that I have is the fact that about 100 Billion people have died previously and seemed to have gotten through it ok, so it can't be that bad, can it?

In the LA Times, journalist Steve Lopez has been writing a series of columns on "Matters of Life and Death," starting with his father's illness and what are his final months.

He has interviewed many and shares their thoughts on aging, planning for and talking about death, illness, caregiving, and dying. A really good series.

I posted earlier but it didn't come through. I'll get a copy of this book even if I don't win the contest. Thank you for bringing the book to our attention.

I confess I'm with Woody Allen on this topic, though:

"I do not believe in an after life, although I am bringing a change of underwear."


"It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

It is late here, on Newfoundland time, 4-1/2 hours ahead of Pacific time so I should squeeze in under the wire to put my name forward for the card and the book. And one to give away, how lovely is that.
I am fascinated by dying and we all are. I live one day at a time of it. but need to figure out my importances a little better.

Me too. Would like a $25 Visa cash card and copy of Enjoy Every Sandwich...

Death. Is it an exit or an entrance?

Would like to see more discussion on the topic.

Charlotte Dahl

Glad to see this topic being explored here again. WOW! over a hundred contestants.

A life long relationship with an East Coast friend has periodically prompted some death discussion between us for years. She's currently having death's reality draw close in her life as her husband's health deteriorates. I recently sent her a book of poetry, but now think this book would be especially appreciated. So, should I win I would like to have the book sent directly to her, or if need be send it to me -- I'll read it first, then I'll mail it to her. Her caregiver time is busy, but she has some support and follows admonishments to take good care of herself as best she can she tells me.

Fortunately in my homes, death was not a taboo topic. Ultimate death was always an accepted given consequence of life for as long as I can remember. I particularly recall thoughtful dying process discussions and expression of sometimes changing views on body treatment after death. We talked when all of us were healthy and when death was much more eminent. I have no fear of death, but as my mother said, "I just don't want to miss anything."

Like most of my loved ones with whom I've talked over the years, we'd like to just depart this existence in our sleep, pain free. My husband actually died in his sleep, but had experienced pain filled days for years.

My work, in which I continue to engage, sometimes has me intimately involved with dying patients and their families. Many seem to find comfort and reassurance in having made their own preparations psychologically and in documents.

First of all, my condolences to Dr. Lipsenthal's family and friends ~ may they find healing in their journey.
As a retired mortician you don't have to tell me how freaked out people get when you approach the topic of death. I have had people turn and run away from me. Hearses really do the trick. Education seems to be the key to minimizing the scariness of it. I used to give people tours of the funeral home and then go through the entire funeal process with them. Once they understood what it was all about they would comment that they weren't as scared anymore and that it took the mystery out of it. I really do think that the anxiety comes from the fear of dying and not death itself. In addition, as a society our media tends to make it scary and foreign adding to the anxiety. I think that education about the death process was the most gratifying part of my profession. Oh yes, and I would love to get the books and the VISA card!

Ah, I missed the contest deadline, but the book is now on my list to read. Coming to peace with death is not something I know how to do yet, but I agree with you - reminders are important here.

Here is to living every moment fully this year and ongoing!

No more deserving than anyone else, but concerned with the same matters.

i talk about death alot. its been swirling around these last 15 years. first husband, grandma, both parents,and some contemperaries. the better thought out the easier for us left behind.
recently a friend asked us to be his health care proxy. in nov it was time. we sat in the hospital with him, holding his hands, just talking til he snuck out on us. the doc pronounced him gone. at his memorial, we danced to our friend's favorite songs, after folks got up and told little stories. that was a nice one.

LOL...and I get the TGB blog in my email 'inbox' a whole day later. This one is dated Jan. 7 at 12 a.m............sigh.....

Hmmm trying again....when I receive the TGB blog in my email inbox, it is a full day later. This one is dated Jan. 7 at 12:44 a.m. ... Sigh....

If I had my druthers, I'd like to have a quick and easy death when my time comes, sort of going to sleep. I wouldn't mind knowing that I was on the verge of death. After all, I'd still be alive in those moments, and then the switch would be turned off. The end.

And, hey, if I end up skipping around in the clouds or whatever, well, that would be a bonus and it would be interesting to figure all of that stuff out... And I'd love to see my parents again and my grandparents. I've never met my father's father -- he was murdered when my father was just 12 years old -- so that would be cool too.

And if it's just a switch being turned off, well, once the switch is set to off, that's it. It's all over.

I do not want to spend years trapped in a bed hooked up to machines -- unless somebody can convince me that in X number of months/years they will have perfected sufficient nanotechnology to refurbish me and make me young and healthy again. And, I'd really much prefer that they perfected that technology sooner rather than later. I assume it will be developed eventually, but I think it would be nice if they did it while I'm still around to benefit from it.

I'm not really interested in retirement. I'd love to go back to school and learn new stuff and start new careers.

It is certainly true that, for our mind and overall well being, we should carpe diem, sieze every moment; be present to what is and appreciate the fruits of living. But it is impossible to live every day like you're dying if you're not. You can't pretend to die. When a person gets news of their impending death (say, terminal illness), their body and mind go through a horrdenous change to accomodate such news. First there's shock, denial, grief and eventually acceptance. I think you can be grateful everyday, practice slowing down & be more aware of each moment, but this takes a lifetime of practice.No matter how much you meditate and pray, I don't think you can even come close to the shattering experience of your impending death, unless it's genuine; only then are you propelled to "live every day as though it were your last" .

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.

The comments to this entry are closed.