ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2018
A TGB READER STORY: Market Dynamics

Happy New Year 2019


Wow. What a year 2018 has been for me – pretty much all drama, no routine. Here's the list, bare facts only – mostly:

Six months after Whipple surgery in June 2017, I am declared cancer-free

Discovered my son via DNA testing service

Internal bleed that drained massive amounts of blood from my body. It took five physicians three weeks to figure out a fix. It worked.

Tests reveal that cancer has returned in one lung and peritoneum. There is no treatment, I am terminal. A chemo therapy might delay advancement of the cancers. It fails.

New but much stronger chemo begins that is known, like the first one, to slow the advancement of cancer. We'll see how it goes.

After a period of speaking regularly on the telephone, my son – Tom Wark, his wife Kathy and their four-year old, Henry George, visit for a day. We all fall in love with one another.

And through all this drama, I have been blessed with the best group of readers on the known internet. You are there every last day with love, support, smart observations and funny stories. I love you all.

[This post will stay up for the holiday tomorrow and the usual Tuesday Reader Story will appear on Wednesday.]

Now, tell us your about your 2018.


Like all sharing this passage with you, Ronni, it feels good to know you are safe at home and finding your voice that gives so much to all readers following your adventure in this new terrain.

Here in foggy Portland, with lots of moss apparently growing on the shady side of this old brain, and original thoughts lost in that mist, favorite old writers come to mind that seem right for today.

So ...(brief drum roll please)...from Teilhard de Chardin , a French idealist philosopher/monk whose writings in the early 1900's were supposed to always carry a word of warning from the Pope. I kind of like that in a writer. ;-)

"Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for *all life * the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of this world, man will have discovered FIRE."

With that FIRE bringing us all warmth, sustenance and cheer, instead of the destruction of the past, hope can still bloom in a New Year's possibilities.

*I substituted "all life" for his word "God" for it is truer to my private sense of things.

I can't help but wonder how many tears it took to type for the first time, "I am terminal."

My 2018 has been drama free which is fine with me. I had too many years of drama that was health related with my mom, dad and husband before they died. I am waiting now for the results of my own DNA test---both for health and ancestry. I'm hoping the tests don't bring any drama to my 2019. And I hope to meet you here this time next year to say, "Happy New Year, Ronni!"

In January of 2018, my 88 year old mother tripped on something, hit her arm on a piece of furniture as she fell, and dislocated her right shoulder. She never made it back to the home she shared with her 92 year old husband.

Over the last eleven months, she was moved from hospital to rehab and finally to a residential memory care facility about 30 miles across the border in the state just north of ours. We had to expand the search to the next state to find the closest home-style facility that would accept her and that we found acceptable for her. We should all be aware that dementia plus being labeled a fall-risk often limits your housing and care options dramatically.

This entire last year for her has been one of steady decline. Last week, hospice was called in and yesterday her husband and all but one of her six children spent several hours with her, after being notified that the end appears near. We were thankful to find her very peaceful, in no pain, and without medication. She seemed very cozy in the bed hospice had brought in and in which she had been made so comfortable, but she struggled to open her eyes and speak now and then. We all took our turns telling her how much we loved her, and she tried to respond, but was pretty much unintelligible.

We've had some rocky times over our nearly 70 years as a family, but that mostly changed when she married the wonderful man who became her second husband about thirty years ago. It's unfortunate that her six children had to suffer through much of our childhood, and her first forty years of marriage and parenthood before she found the love of her life and learned how good a relationship could be. but we're all very thankful that she has had his love and care throughout the second half of her life, and especially this last year.

May 2019 bring us all peace and comfort.

Simply put, right back at you...

What a year! Almost everything turned upside down and sideways. Takes a lot of strength and wisdom. So glad you've had both.

I am pulling for you and the chemo you started on November. I hope it lives up to the hype, and that you break all records for living with carcinoma. Happy New Year, Ronni.

Your year of coming apart and coming together all at the same time, has a thread that I'm sure has been woven through all times of your life, the thread of innate, wisdom, humor, perspective, and love of life.

This year, I sustained my business and was able to pay myself. I had begun to celebrate more financial momentum in September, when a disturbed person sought to sue me over an unfounded trademark violation, which drained resources and re-routed the buffer I had built to rebranding, recreating website, etc. The deep questioning at the level of the soul led me to more commitment to my business, and a refresh that I otherwise would not have embarked on.

Other than this, blessed with good health, travel to see my son and his wife, lots of volunteer work with a german shepherd rescue group, and continued questioning of where I should live and settle at 67 years of age. Perhaps Lake Oswego!

Blessed with the connection with you and your posting, grateful for the opportunity to reflect on you and your strength and wisdom through adversity and send my wishes and blessings for your peace and joy.

My 2018? I finally saw someone about my cataracts and discovered that the blurriness in my left eye was actually due to glaucoma which is now under control but the optic nerve damage joins the baggage I'll carry throughout the rest of this journey.
I've established a working relationship with a primary care physician and seen him more than once already.
I think I've come pretty far with my reading of Stoic philosophy which, along with following your journey, I credit with giving me perspective on what I can control and what I probably just need to work around.
It's a work in progress to which you contribute immeasurably.

God bless you .. real good ... in your transition, your giving and receiving of love and peace and love. I don’t comment frequently but love you for your work and your inspiration. I have serious COPD and know I will not get better. You are my model for moving into this transition with dignity, grace and peaceful acceptance.
Thank you.
Peace, Prayer and Love.
Pat Crawford
Near Ann Arbor, MI.

Happy New Year to you and all your lovely readers! Gratitude overflows at the thought of the wonderful relationships that have blossomed in this slower and gentler time of life. That includes this long distance relationship with you that has become so rewarding.
Let’s see what surprises 2019 brings and engage in even small things that improve our planet, for Mother Earth is our home and the home of our children and grandchildren.

The first six months of 2018 went along just fine. Then in June my good friend of 40 years died. I was, and still am, bereft.

Two health issues came up in August--my cervical spinal stenosis shows further deterioration and my husband would need open-heart surgery to repair a valve.

His surgery in October really set me back as this was a very healthy, vibrant man who could do anything and now he couldn't. I had to take on all of the household tasks along with my other work. The neck retaliated and began to hurt. I had not had any pain before that.

In December, as his heart healed, we learned from his surgeon that my husband was severely dehydrated which was causing other ailments. Progress is being made, but oh so slowly. We were also told, by the same surgeon, that 70 is considered elderly and elderly patients have greater need for water.

And just as the year was wrapping up, my 83 year old sister died.

I'm not overly optimistic about 2019, I just hope it brings lots of good things.

As an adoptive mother, as well as a birth parent, I know first hand the joys and surprises that are part and parcel with non-traditional families. I am glad you have found such a happy ending/beginning.

I will not be surprised to find you here a year from now. I will not be surprised to NOT find you here a year from now. I will always be grateful for your generous sharing of your journey - the journey we are all embarking upon for our entire lives.

Thank you.

Loved Charlene's quote from Teilhard de Chardin: "Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for *all life * the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of this world, man will have discovered FIRE." Wishing us all the energies of love in 2019.

Love you and all that you do and have done for these years.

You have indeed, shared your gift with us.

Thank you,Ronni for leading by example and learn/teaching us how to ennoble some of the biggest challenges one can face. Happy New Year to you and all your precious readers. Cruise on on the goodship you captain.

Ronni, your life shared with us in 2018 has enriched us all and continues to do so! Don't forget to ask about the "Poppy Pocket" for your pump, if you think it might make carrying the darn thing around easier for you!

Our 2019
Jan - Dave and I decide to sell our home in Phoenix and move to a 55+ community to find more friends and activities we enjoy plus save money. We find the place we live now in Mesa, AZ.
Feb- We make an offer on a home in Mesa. Then Dave diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and we begin the doctor/chemo appointments.
Mar-April- We sell one rental we owned and scramble to all his appointments. He loses weight and is very ill from chemo and disease.
May-June- We sell our home and start packing. Dave gets sicker. Doc stops chemo and schedules surgery sooner, giving him time to gain some weight and get stronger first.
July- I end up 3 days in the hospital for complications from my long-ago colon cancer surgery that result occasionally in a blocked colon from adhesions. We move a day after I get out on July 4 when temps in Mesa are 110+. Dave does as much as he can but still feels punk. Local family jumps in to help. Surgery on July 18 and for a long 30 minutes we are told they can't get the tumor out but will do what they can to improve his quality of life for a while. Then they are able to remove it all. LOW POINT OF 2018
Aug-Sept-Oct-Nov- Dave gains back some weight and feels MUCH better and stronger! Sails through the new chemo with few side effects. With lots of family help, we finally get settled into our new place and promptly buy two other (very cheap) rental homes in the older part of our complex. We both needed a "project" and we have a blast fixing them up until they are really cute and rented for the high season. Also make some new friends in our new place slowly.
Dec- Dave finishes chemo then discovers he needs to have a month of radiation "just to make sure." Ugh. We thought he was finished! Will start in January. Meanwhile we have a blast in our new neighborhood with the holidays, golf, great food, family get-togethers and being happy to be healthier and happy. We host a potluck Christmas dinner for 12 who would have eaten alone but instead have a great evening and somehow go through 4 bottles of wine... Welcome 2019!

Thank you for sharing your ups and downs in 2018; we readers/friends learn a lot. And we'll be with you in spirit for your journey.

I've had a couple of health scares this past year, which turned out to be nothing serious. Started biking in June at a local park, loved it right up till late November when I fell while out raking leaves. Messed up one leg ligament, and still healing from that. It's always something... I'm seriously thinking of downsizing to a condo, less upkeep and outdoor work at 67. Sigh.

Hang in there! You're incredibly generous to share your life with us.

I lost a dear friend this past year which makes me think about my own mortality. I have reached that point in my life when THE END is a daily possibility and it's starting to bum me out. There's too much I want to do and see.
I want to see where our country goes 2 years from now. I want to know that we have finally come to our senses and once again became the compassionate country we once were. A country that cares more about its elderly and poor than it does about GM or Chase.
I want to know that the millions we spend on medical research finally results in a real cure for cancer.
But most of all, I would like to be able to say happy 2020 Ronnie, and many more.

What a brave and cheerful person you are! Hip, hip, hooray for you, I say......I'm gonna
try to increase my bravery and cheerfulness just as a result of reading you! So thanks
and Happy New Year! !

Let’s see. Did anything interesting happen to me in 2018?
January: no.
February: no.
March, April, May: no.
June: no.
July, August: no.
September: n... Oh hang on. I broke my neck.
October, November: no.
December: no.
Well, that’s about it really.


I rarely comment because you have so many eloquent responders who write beautIfully in response to whatever you have posted for each blog, and I would rather read what you have written and what "they" have responded. I learn so much and/or am so moved every time.

I wish there were a way to have an in-person "Crabby's People" symposium or convention. I guess it can't be a reunion because so many of us haven't met. I know I would find so many people to learn from, have an enjoyable time with, and "grow" with. I guess the next best thing t0 in-person, is the blog entries you thoughtfully write and the comments each time.

You have given us all the gift of your wisdom and experience and research. Throughout your health travails, you have continued to educate yourself and us and to ease our minds and hearts as you make this final journey.

You will never be forgotten, and perhaps, hopefully, you'll still be here to wish us a Happy New Year for 2020.

Dear Ronni, I read every blog post of yours, and like Beth I find that others say what I would say, but more eloquently. How to live when you are diagnosed as terminal, let alone what to do, what to say, how to think... you are an inspiration and a model. My year? Much dancing, much writing, some events, the Older Bloggers Survey, a writer's residency in Seoul, family, and so it goes. It's a funny little life but I love it. Ronni, I have only just discovered that on 10 March 2005 you wrote a post "Blogging into old age". This year I have been unwittingly channelling those ideas of yours. So I'm 13 years late, but I'm finally on to it. I plan to start a multi-author blog for older isolated people in New Zealand, soon, and I now think of this as a Ronni Bennett project :)

You're right, I need to start going over the year, just not now..........tomorrow. All I need to say now is that you are lighting candles that will burn for a long, long time. I wish you and all your readers many, many times of joy in 2019.

Oh, I know, I took the first little vacation in four years! Swimming in the ocean, lying on the beach in that lovely daze. Still meditating with my sangha, holding life drawing sessions in my studio, painting. And trying to get right with the human situation as I see it now.

Happy New Year, No Matter What!

[this one seems not to have made it when I first tried to send it. sorry]

"What a roller coaster year you have had, Ronni. And how grateful I am that you have shared that year with us, teaching us things along the way, imparting your amazing insights, leaving us moved and all the wiser for your words.

My year? Too much time spent in distress and anger over our woeful politics. None of the travel that I have undertaken in earlier years. But one blessing came in the only trip I did take, flying to New Jersey to see my sister who is in the hellhole of Alzheimer's, living at a place where they take very good care of her, and visited regularly by her wonderful loving husband. Of course my brother-in-law and I spent time with her -- but during our visit with her this time, she never opened her eyes. I talked to her - I stroked her - Bill and I talked too to each other --- but there was never a sign that she was able to notice us.

During most of my stay, my brother-in-law and I had splendid days together. We have grown closer over the years - and we are never bored together - whether we are complaining about trump et al. or catching up on family news, or going out to eat, or visiting some of his good friends. It was lovely.

But that was it for trips.

The sadness of the year was in the loss of my youngest and oldest kin: my granddaughter Ashley, pregnant with her second child, lost that child at birth. Of course it was devastating for all of us.

But what knocked me down completely was word several weeks later that my 88-year-old brother-in-law had not appeared at a scheduled cardiology appointment - and when someone went to check on him in his apartment, found him dead. My immediate thoughts were self-pitying, I'm afraid --- how can I NOT see him again? What about not only my visits with him but also the many very long phone calls we made back and forth over the years?? I have always sent him something, usually a treat [soups, cheeses, etc.] from Williams Sonoma - for the holidays, and this time I found myself almost automatically going on line to seek out something good for him, before I remembered.

I will miss him a lot. But I am also grateful that we had such lively, such cheery times together.

2019 is just about here. It is the year I am due to turn 80. That thought takes some getting used to. But what I wish for Ronni, for all of you, is a year of joyful companionship, of as stable health as possible (and maybe an end to the horrors in DC??)."

Praying & wishing that you have a good 2019. I have a "real" friend in the same position as you & he is doing well. So I am being as optimistic as possible for you both. Stay strong. Dee:):)

What can I say about 2018? I am still alive and didn't expect to be when at this time last year I was thought to be dying. I fooled the doctor, my son, and myself, but not my daughter. I must be one tough old bird.

When I think and read about the ravages of being old that so many suffer I consider myself to be lucky. I can still take care of myself somewhat and still fix my own meals, even though they are microwave prepared. I am getting weaker and less able too do things, but I think that is to be expected at 93.

I am so hoping for a miracle and that you survive your predicament a lot longer than the doctors expect, Ronni.

For all in the "This Ends Up" boat with me I wish you a Happy New Year with peace, good (or better) health and some wonderful surprises.

@Peter Tibbles: So glad that breaking your neck did not damage your sense of humour!

My 2018 was... well, yeah, I've had better. Even so, there were plenty of good moments. None to compare with Ronni's, but having my kids tell me, "Relax, Mom. We've got this. You raised us right," that was a big deal for me.

In 2019 I'm just going to hang in there, see what happens. This life of mine, it's a story. I want to write these last chapters so other people besides me will remember it as it satisfying.

Happy New Year everyone!

How was 2018?

One story:

My volunteer partner Y has terminal liver cancer.

Y and her husband once owned a large grocery store in Ottawa.

They had four children.

All was well until her husband died of a heart attack. Y and her family were devastated. Y kept the store for three years then sold it and moved to Montreal with her children.

When I met Y, she was sharing a house with her two adult daughters and a grandchild.

Y, age 83, volunteered at two ILR's, taking time to pick her granddaughter up after daycare, select and purchase all kinds of decorations for the ILR dining rooms, took isolated seniors out for breakfast, kept her home spotless.

Now Y is at home. Her doctor comes to her house. Y is heavily medicated.

One daughter works from home, so Y is not alone.

Last week Y asked to meet me for breakfast, in spite of her situation.

We sat in the restaurant and stared at our plates of food.

We ate.

No, that's not true. I ate and she stirred her food around.

Y called her daughter to pick her up.

We said goodbye.

I call her.

I don't know what to say, except to remind her of all her lifelong acts of kindness.

If I had never become a volunteer at the ILR, Y and I would never have met.

We would never have become friends.

Adios, my friend.

You are a star.


From San Jose, Costa Rica

We talk. We talk.

As usual, whatever I would say has already been said more eloquently by others. Briefly, 2018 was an O.K. year for us in that there were no major disasters--natural, health, financial or otherwise. My spouse (89) and I (82 six days from now) were among the fortunate elders. Still, there is more physical pain for me and loss of ability for both of us despite our efforts to remain active and hold on to what we have. We fully realize how lucky we are that neither of us has dementia or cancer (so far). We're still more or less mobile and can usually pay our bills every month.

Old age is not for sissies: truer words were never spoken. I hope for a 2019 devoid of disasters for all of us, also that the "disaster" in Washington, D.C. will somehow be permanently relocated to Mar-a-lago as a private citizen!

Happy New Year! Wishing to send you this same greeting in 2020...and years beyond!

As for my ‘18 year — I discovered I truly am old now as the ol’ bod shows some signs of wearing in places — not that it didn’t before, but not as obvious as now. I continued to get really annoyed with friends and family, especially any younger than me, who inconsiderately departed this life, but my holiday greeting list has declined in number again this year. I’m just really selfish expecting to have the company of those I care about for all my days here. Starts to get kinda lonesome after a while.

Enjoyed the attention of my children, grandchildren though on limited occasions in person given the miles that separate us — but through the wonders of communication technology, real-time video/audio screens gave us shared events in time together, such as the most recent opening of our holiday gifts.

Started a group for our city senior community of oldsters who want to “thrive in place” — not just live or age in place. For over ten years our city has sponsored a similar group based on the village concept, but requires a considerable (for some) yearly fee. Some in our group made feed their group, but for the rest of us we’re exploring our own angles so far. While I always planned to remain in my residence as I aged and did my best to assist my mother in doing so years ago, there just weren’t that many aids to assist. I’m truly appreciative of ideas and information I learned from RB and additional writings here for their influence on my pursuing forming this group now that I’ve finally retired.

Looking forward to whatever the coming year has in store for me. Hope to carry my weight positively on the good ship “This End Up” — will value the time wherever we sail through calm or stormy waters.

Oops...”...some may (not made) feed their group...”. I did proof read what I wrote — guess I’m not a very good editor, or maybe there’s a gremlin/dybbuk as the retired Business Week writer I enjoyed reading who was a feature on TGB for a time once wrote about.

May 2019 bring you love, light , peace and joy. Thank you Ronnie and the wonderful people on This Ends Up ; I cannot believe how close I feel to you all.

Kvelling from your magnificent post - you're in my thoughts, as in the thoughts of the whole crew...

Just a huge thanks to you Ronni, for teaching/leading by example. And to the readers/commenters here who have shared so generously.

I may not comment every day but you are in my thoughts every day. I have been your follower for a long time. It was awful to hear that you were told you were cancer free, only to have it come back in such a terrible way. This happened to my spouse and I hear it from others over and over. We had such hope and then it was dashed away. You are brave and helpful to many.

May this New Year bring peace, Ronni. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

2018 was more a good year than not. I made a lot of new friends by getting involved in local issues and campaigns through a grassroots organization. What fun that has been. Most notable, though, is that my husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage this month. And, all of our children, spouses and their children were together with us, first time in several years.

I have hopes for 2019.

Thank You Ronni. Happy New Year to you too--with high hopes of your treatment exceeding all expectations--it's very possible.
I loved reading the comments, including those with a laundry list of medical issues and the health issues (including reports of deaths of friends and relatives). As I speed read through them, the one about 70 being considered elderly caught my attention. That did it, I am now convinced that at 71 I am certified old, elderly. Therefore, I will try to focus on the year ahead and have an action packed year as though there may be no tomorrow. In fact, I was looking a actuarial tables and I have a 33% chance of not making it to 80. Therefore, I just booked Gaga tickets in Vegas for October! And a bunch of other stuff between now and then. I'll see if my wife and I are still relatively healthy in December (we've had some issues but currently at bay), and if so, reload for the following year. It's later than we think is my working slogan. Sail on me hearties.

MAY EACH DAY BLESS YOU WITH JOY in 2019! What makes us happy and content is knowing people think of us and smile. You have been an inspiration with your wisdom and refreshing outlook.

Best Wishes, Nina

I will be glad to put 2018 behind me. My disabled daughter broke her arm, again, while in care. When I asked how it happened, she was evicted from her group home. On the upside she is now in the care of an amazing agency and in a new, peaceful home. She is happy and relaxed.
My son is back in jail for assaulting his girlfriend. She's pregnant with my first grandson. They both have a lot of issues. On the upside, my young woman is sober and welcomes us into her life as grandparents.
And then there's tRump.
I guess it could have been so much worse. I work with cancer patients and I see so much worse everyday.
But I am hopeful that 2019 is a kinder, gentler new year.


2018 saw my family and myself through the worst of mom's cancer. There were other notable moments for us all - good food, good friends, good travel, a citizenship ceremony, an engagement, a kitten. And I discovered a love and a talent for weaving. But 2018 was really all about mom and cancer.

She died in July and it was shortly after that I discovered your blog. Thank you for your writing, it helps me wrap my own thoughts about what she, what we, went through.

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