ELDER MUSIC: These Arms of Mine
A TGB READER STORY: Finding Your Tribe (OR Notes On Losing A Local Poetry Contest)

Dreaded Diseases and Attitude

You may think you were talking about ice cream last week on the post titled, An Unexpected Anniversary, but you also reinforced a thread that's been common here since I first wrote about my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer two years ago.

Readers use such words as “honesty,” “insight,” “inspiration,” “courage" to describe my attitude. They reference “Superwoman” sometimes. They admire my efforts to “beat” cancer (which I try not to do). And they have all kinds of other ways to praise how I deal with this serious predicament. You can imagine, I am sure, how I preen when I read them, even sitting alone at my desk.

Maybe my lack of anything more than a passing response - a "thank you" here and there - has been brought on by my inability to find an adequate group of words to express my pleasure and gratitude but that's not a good enough reason or even excuse.

Such kind thoughts and words as yours, especially uttered in obvious sincerity, should not go unacknowledged and certainly not for two whole years. Yet, here we are in that situation of which I hope to remedy at least a little bit today.

Let me start in my childhood, my parents. Both were orphans with no siblings who came of age in the middle of the Great Depression. There were times they went hungry. They had few material goods and not much love from the adults in their lives.

Sometimes they related stories about their childhoods but never, ever complained. To them, it was what it was and you were expected to observe, accept and carry on. My parents believed it is up to each of us personally to do the best with what life throws our way – you cannot expect others to help.

This came to them, I think, naturally from their early circumstances and both probably would have been surprised to know that their “observe, accept and carry on” attitude was closing in on being Buddhist-like.

I didn't realize that until I spent a year or two in my twenties studying Buddhism – not particularly to become an adherent but to understand something so different from what (little) I knew then of western philosophies.

No one much loved either one of my parents when they were children. They were not hugged or kissed often if at all, and I realized as an adult that neither were my brother and I because our parents didn't know how.

They found it mildly embarrassing to express loving emotion, as I still do to a degree these many years later, although I've tried to shed it.

In my parents' early lives, I'm pretty sure that when you are scrabbling for adequate food every day, emotional issues don't matter much. And I doubt you ever forget going to bed hungry.

All that baggage my mom and dad brought to parenthood teaches you, as their child, a great deal of independence at a young age; you realize that you must rely on yourself for whatever emotional sustenance and well-being you need.

I've tried to change this mindset in a variety of ways over many years but mostly I've done "it" – that is, living - my way all these 78 years much, I guess, as my parents did. (The apple falling not far from the tree, etc.)

How far have I gotten with this exercise? Well, I'm pretty good, finally, at accepting gifts but not so much gifts of personal time as I received so much of from friends and neighbors during my months' long recovery from the Whipple surgery.

One thing that gets in the way is that I always, always worry that I will not be able to repay the help and kindness, so I had better to do without than deal with the shame if I cannot reciprocate.

But blessings on those wonderful people who force their help on me when they see the need. They are saints to get past my resistance.

To those of you who would tell me I'm being foolish, I don't disagree. I just haven't been able to change these things in my 78 years.

Although I tried to sort out some of my issues in a couple of short bursts of therapy long ago, I don't much believe in psychology, at least not to get past such emotional problems as I inherited. I've tried to be self-aware day-to-day and monitor what's bothering and not bothering me. Sometimes it has helped and just as often not.

Life is what it is. Nobody ever promised you a rose garden. Or, as my mother often said, “Into every life some rain must fall.” Just as frequently, especially when I was whining over something that had gone wrong, she would recite, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

Maybe more than anything else in this post, that paragraph sums up the philosophy of life that was instilled in me way back when: Buck up, life isn't easy.Deal with it.

So. I am good at absorbing the slings and arrows life flings our way from time to time but quite practically, what else is there to do? I keep going without much thought about why. It is who I am and, as far as I can remember, always have been. I was born this way.

When tough things happen, I go off somewhere alone and wallow in it. I don't want to talk. I don't want advice or hand-holding. I want to be alone with whatever the current problem is. To wail and weep can be part of the process and you would be amazed at how well that works in brightening one's days.

By the time I crawl out from under the quilt – hours or days later – I've reached acceptance. I don't claim any Buddhist influence but my pattern seems to follow their “observe, accept, carry on” belief and it has worked that way for me.

What flowed from that routine this time is a deep curiosity about what the end-of-life is like when you know it is coming relatively soon. It has become a kind of purpose for me, to chronicle these weeks, months, years(?) and I would be doing it for myself alone if I did not keep this blog.

Now, apparently, I have been granted extra time beyond what statistics suggest which I see as a gift to learn even more about life and about death. I have come to believe in these two years and since my psylocybin session last December that life and death are one but that's another story.

If some of you who read and write all these lovely words like bravery and amazing or inspirational along with other kind words, I am so pleased if I can help you on your personal journeys. Thanking you for your messages seems too little for what you have come to mean to me so perhaps this explanation is a bit more I can offer to keep with my genuine gratitude.

On that ice cream post last week, reader Carol Leskin had this to say:

”What continues to amaze and inspire me is your ability to find some ray of sunshine even when it is almost dark. In this case, ice cream. Some say a positive attitude and hope are critical to successful outcomes and prolonging life. Others think that is malarkey. You have made a strong case for the former.”

Until recently, I had spent a lifetime living the “malarkey” end of that dyad. Without feeling any need or desire to give up my atheism, I'm admitting to myself these days that maybe, just maybe, there is a little piece of the ageless universe somewhere that I belong to and am part of.

Perhaps the extra time the good medical treatment I have been receiving is that universe's way of telling me I have a bit more to do before I go. (I cannot believe those sappy words came out of me just now but there you are – strange things can happen when they tell you you're dying.)

Or, as reader Cathy J quoted author, Thornton Wilder:

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate."

Thank you all for the good words and kind wishes with which you enrich my life (and death).


Somehow I always felt a connection to you and it made me feel a closeness that sometimes bewildered me. I have never met you in person and rarely talked with you on the phone and yet I felt a kinship beyond admiration.

Now I understand that connection. Although the circumstances in our parents' lives were different, the philosophy we learned from them was the same. Perhaps it was the Depression that made our parents so self-sufficient in their outlook. One had to be in those days. It was survival because there was very little help available if you failed. We were taught to make the best of things, be brave, don't complain (that lesson was wasted on me) and to take it on the chin.

The lessons you learned from your mother in her quotations were the same lessons I learned. Although I do not remember ever being hugged or kissed, I somehow knew I was loved. I guess it was part of the philosophy that children should be seen and not heard.

It has taken me a lifetime to overcome the bad results of that "be brave" attitude and I am still working on how to be grateful without feeling an obligation to reciprocate. Psychology or not, some things are ingrained in us by the age old question of 'nature or nurture'. A bit of both I suspect.

You are blessed with the ability to write and express yourself. For someone who has been accused all her life about talking to much I really grasp for words a lot.

I truly believe there is no ‘ledger’ of ‘owings’ where friendship and (fraternal) love combine.
You have both from here in spades xx

(And “yeehar!!!” for ice cream 😁😁)

As I read, I saw my childhood and my current thinking/pattern of reaction.

I admire your unblinking look at yourself and the situation, and your matter-of-fact recitation of same.

I think Stoicism, which makes it possible to continue no matter what, was a critical survival skill during the depression, and still is critical when life punches hard. Asking "why" spends energy on "what if" and does not move forward to deal with realiity.

That said, I have empathy for your situation, which like affectino, is difficult to express fully.

Ronni -

You have an uncanny success at tackling this dreadful adversary of yours. Keep after 'it'. So far this enormous, collective spirit that has been ginned up among us has had its consequences.

Here are a few pithy (and timely) quotes to hang on that PC:

1> And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. — Abraham Lincoln

2> Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. — Dr. Seuss

3> Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. — James Dean

4> Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. — Maria Robinson

5> It is not length of life, but depth of life. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

6> Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

7> Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by every moment that takes your breath away. – Anonymous

8> We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. — Randy Pausch

9> Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you’re born to stand out? — Oliver James

10> You live but once; you might as well be amusing. — Coco Chane

11> Carpe diem (Cease life. You only live once) - 'Dead Poets Society' Robin Williams (?)

Nice post and summary of your journey toward and into gratitude, emersion. I can relate to parents that kept at arm's length in their child rearing approach and other aspects of family communications style, all interrelated. My parents were not huggers, not kissers and not "I love you" types. I could go away from home for years and come back into a room full of relatives, including my parents, and nobody would get up and I'd get a monotonic "Hi John". Overcoming this has been a continuous effort and not easy to keep the momentum going but I seem to have done okay. I always wonder, how I'd handle a predicament like you, Ronni, are going through, and whether or not I'd become "warmer" in my approach to people. Perhaps I'll have that chance someday. Odds lean to "warmer". Death bed conversions are rampant, also, like with my father.

As a side not, I married a first generation Slavic girl--half Polish and half Russian--and I was instantly immersed in the ultimate hugging culture including a kiss on each cheek, men and women alike--sometimes just one kiss on the cheek. I've adjusted and so much so that it has served to point out how dull, in the outward demonstration of love and emotion to family, that it is now extremely awkward to be with my own family. I'm all mixed up. As I get older, I find myself drifting back to no touch as much as possible as I have had enough except with my wife. New policy is to hug back or kiss back but, usually, not to initiate it. Like Joe Biden :) Just joking.

Gratitude is a whole other story. I've got that nearly mastered because, after running the gauntlet of life, I'm amazed at having arrived "jelly-side up". Somebody seen and unseen was always helping me--yes, there does seem to be some rhyme or reason to life that is mysterious but obvious with reflection, so gratitude is in order, always.

Good luck.


Words to savor and reread...so pure, honest, heart- and soul-ful. Thank you, Ronni.

I look forward with hope to learn about your experience of 'life and death are one.'

"jelly-side up." I love that - in fact, John, I love the entire paragraph. What a wonderful community this is. Ronni, it's hard to imagine exactly how much comfort and guidance you have offered so many. I'm sure there are so many of us who rarely, if ever, comment - if only because someone else has so eloquently posted our thoughts. We are hidden away, but touched and warmed by the love you and your shipmates share.

I am so thankful for having found your blog, Ronni, and for "meeting" all the generous and gracious people you have following you. Blessings and thanks to all.

Thank you brave and treasured woman.

My parents also were like yours. Always felt they missed the best in life. Nothing beats love, intimacies, honest expression, freedom to be.

And until my return from too-many to-do's this busy Monday morn, I'll thank Darlene and John for saying what I could not improve upon.

Interesting insights, especially towards Buddhism. Your upbringing parallels mine.
Depression era parents. In my case, leaving home created an isolationism in myself that
probably contributed to my aloneness. Now, for nearly 30 years I have had a loving wife
and the relationship is drawing me out of the shell I created 50 years ago. Learning to love
another person is a learned/acquired skill like any other. Through your experiences, Ronnie,
I develop my own therapies. Your life may be concluding, but you are providing a lantern
in the dark for some of us. Thank you.

Thank you for this post. I love everything about it.

Last week I read the obituary for Leon Redbone - written by his family, and highly entertaining. In it there were descriptions of a musical and mischievous afterlife that Leon is sharing with other deceased musicians somewhere out in the wild blue.

At the time, I thought I just enjoyed reading the obituary, because I am somewhat of an obituary aficionado, and most are awfully bland and dull.

Later, as I recalled the obituary, I was struck with how easily I had bought into it. How I was unconsciously comforted by those fantasy musings. How, even though I am an atheist, I realized found some sort of solace in the idea of an afterlife. I gently chided myself for falling for such silliness, even as I hated to let it slip away.

I think you put it well, when you said we may be a part of an "ageless universe". That is something I can take comfort in, something that is more reasonably acceptable than the lovely vision of Leon Redbone playing music with old friends on a fluffy cloud.

But wouldn't that be fun!

I come from a different background growing up and I can tell you that you all are the lucky ones.

My parents were not overly affectionate, but were good and loving people and set a good example.
But I was spoiled and they were always there for me, even when I didn’t deserve it. They gave into me too often and all of this did not go towards making me a strong emotionally self sufficient person. I do ok in practical matters.

I’m now 72, a widow and no children. My biggest struggles are I have a low tolerance for physical pain (which I haven’t had to deal with yet) and most of all is absolute dread of being alone (not fear of crime, but loneliness, so my SIL lives with me.)

I know it’s just me and I don’t fight it. I do have a full life with friends and hobbies, but those things linger from too much dependence and need as a child.

I am grateful for all I’ve had and my life and I don’t fear being dead, just the process and also the missing out on the future of the world and how things play out. I have a curious nature and I don’t like not knowing.

Best to you, Ronni. I’ve followed you for years and just love your blog and you and many of your commenters are such a wonderful example of how to live.

Thank you so much for your words and your website Ronnie. I can only speak for myself - you have given me a Speakers Corner. I too was born into a cold place as I suspect many of your followers were (how else could they have learned to express themselves so well?). Along with pain you inherited a great intelligence which you are using to help others and I suspect not giving yourself much credit for. Do, please give yourself credit for consoling and sharing with us! Good on ya!
I too find these crazy small miracles popping up - could I be mistaken in my belief that dying is the end of the story? Or is it just that the last part is actually the best part? Shakespeare has been dead for a long time hasn’t he? His story is far from told. Ours too?
This is for Sylvia [tried to write re her last night but screwed it up and it wasn’t published]. My Toronto friend died in palliative care on March 14. I spent 3 hours with her the day before she died. She was full of morphine but lucid and totally wonderful - I can’t tell you how impressed I was! She told me 3 times in 3 different ways that she wanted to die “I hope I don’t see you again Betty” - “I want you to leave now Betty” - “I have a message for you Betty”. Before I left I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go and when she said yes so I suggested she tell her doc tomorrow. We had discussed Assisted Death but both she and her daughter thought it had a long waiting period. However —- If the patients death is imminent, if he or she is able to say she wants to die and if 2 doctors agree the 10 day waiting period can be waived!
She died the next day with her daughter by her side. You might want to know this Sylvia - it is not the doctors place to ask you if you are ready to die and a lot of people don’t know you do not have to be in agony [my friend made it clear waiting to die was agony despite the wonderful care, wonderful family and friends and wonderful painkillers] for 10 long days. I am so glad I was with her on her last day - I learned so much and I sure hope I die as aware and as giving as she was.
Personally, I have a palliative care nurse on call - I have COPD and although I am very well most of the time I had a terrible night of choking not to long ago. I want to die at home so the next time this happens I will call my palliative care nurse who will come with morphine and we can take it from there. Now, is that not a miracle?
Back to my ice cream - take care all!

Dear Ronni

Thank you for the support.
You are giving me courage every day
I am 80 and I am living with mieodisplasia ( a blood cancer) for 6 years and you are my inspiration in the times of difficulties.

God give you all his blessings



Ronni ~ Beautifully written! Thank you. I never fail to be amazed! Diane

Ronni- I just read the posts that were posted before me this morning. My heart beats hard - it hurts as I am sure yours does -hurts from the pain and the beauty of living and dying and being able to be with people who are also living and dying. What a miracle the WWW is and what a miracle we human beings are.

All before me have expressed it so clearly. You are a gift, Ronni. I am a grateful follower of your blog to learn from you.
Thank you.

Words of wisdom and awareness shared and witnessed are powerful, enhancing the wisdom of originator and receiver. All are blessed thereby.

I definitely believe in an "ageless universe," though what that means after death I don't know. I feel that anything is possible. Life is full of more joy and tragedy than most of us ever dreamed of. And for all the suffering, most of us are feel privileged to have been gifted with it for however many years.

Thank you, Ronni. As always, your words give me pause for thought and reflection. Please keep on writing and expressing the inchoate thoughts so many of us have - it helps so much to know that one is not the only one who thinks/reacts in a particular way.

What a great post! And interesting that you bring up the thing about your parents and their childhoods, for me, because, at just short of 82, I'm now getting more deeply into recognizing that my mother was mentally ill, and the effects of that on me, and the things in her own childhood that contributed to it. Part of me thinks, what? Don'tchya think it's way too late to hope to make any positive changes from those formative experiences and how my attitudes and behaviors have been affected? And part of me, including a therapist and--remarkably--a closed Facebook group of women with mentally ill mothers, seems to think that it's never too late to recognize and work toward change in defensive traits that have long outlived their usefulness.

About life and death being one--I believe it, as a longtime Zennie--though I'm sorry to say I haven't had the gut experience of it. Mushrooms make me nervous, but, maybe one of these days . . .

Meanwhile, Ronni, enjoy TODAY!!

I'm late to the comments, as I often am being a night owl and all, so what I would say has already been stated--in many cases, more articulately. First of all, may your success in living with cancer continue! I doubt that I would/could be as much of a trouper as you are.

I think most of us in the TGB age range were raised by Depression-era parents, and the ethos of the time (of necessity) was to "get on with it", do the best they could with what they had, and protect their way of life. My father was the traditional 1950s breadwinner, and he was good at it. Ours was a pretty typical upper middle class family of the time. Like many others, however, it was strictly a "Father Knows Best"/Archie Bunker-type structure. My dad had shortcomings as a family man, but I'm grateful for the material well-being he gave me, including a topnotch college education.

Unfortunately, nothing in my upbringing prepared me for being disowned although I suppose I should have expected it (see above). While living and building a career in the state where I live now, I married my current husband; he's a truly wonderful man who happens to be of a different race. I have absolutely NO regrets except that my original family missed out on knowing my husband (we've been married for over 41 years), but that was their loss.

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't much like old age. Yeah, I know, pain, illness, disability and loss are just a part of life but what's to like about them? I'm still "basically" healthy and work on remaining as able, active and independent as I can. Maybe the human life span can be pushed into the 90s+ for many, but I think my body was designed to last for about 80 years, so at 82 it's pushing its expiration date. Attitude won't change biology.

It is what it is. . .

Ahhh. Finally I learn how to post a comment! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog. This one especially touches mead also a child of depression era young adults who scrabbled hard and did not know the how’s of affection and love. I truly “get” what you say here and know the deep well of feeling that those words or acts from people who love you touch—feelings that I struggle to manage. I am getting closer but sometimes just need to retreat. It’s nice knowing someone else feels something similar. Said by a clinical psychologist who kind of agrees with you about psychology and just can’t accept the religion/god concepts. Thank you.

Ronni, your experience of being emotionally alone is all too common, as these comments reveal. And the longing to feel connected to the rest of life is, too.

I was raised by parents with very significant emotional problems, and all three children grew up damaged in different and profound ways. The most significant way, in my opinion, is how well we all learned to keep other people away.

I have resisted adopting a Buddha-like thinking about life, largely because it is so popular and trendy, though I certainly agree with its tenets. For me, it is just a restating of the existential dilemma. Just as for me, religion is an attempt to avoid dealing with our singular aloneness in the universe.

Acknowledging our aloneness, our insignificance, and determining our own meaning for our lives is important, but just as important, to me, is realizing that while the universe does not offer comfort, other people do. And that is part of being a human - that we can understand and empathize with each other. And being seen and understood is the ultimate comfort. Who can comfort us when someone we love dies? No one, really, but we can get momentary alleviation of our grief when we are held in someone's accepting regard. And that can give us the strength to continue faltering along our journey through life.

I'm just sort of blethering here, but it is very moving to me to see how your approaching death has helped you feel less alone, and more peaceful, and more grateful. You are so lucky to have achieved this stage of being - so many of us die afraid, in unawareness. No, you can't really depend on us to make you feel better, but somehow, we do.

With love, Mary

These last two posts seem to have come from a deeper place within you Ronni. Not that others have been less reflective or thoughtful, intelligent or articulate, but these have a little different feel to me.

I think being a parent must have been infinitely more difficult for those trying to make their way through the Depression, WWII and their aftermath. Even the 1950's, despite a better economy, seemed to demand something other than authenticity and so many people were distracted with trying to live up to what they were supposed to be (and NOT be) that it presented another entire set of obstacles to self-realization, acceptance and being happy. And psychologists who were providing parenting advice prior to Dr. Spock were mostly bizarre. John Watson initiated the detached "scheduled" and "scientific" approach to caring for children, with a focus on being physically distant. Sometimes I think it's a wonder that society survived at all, and I feel sorry that our parents had to live in the times they did. They might have really benefited from some of those magic mushrooms.

"The Silver Tsunami." (There may be legions of us in the thread, but the hard-earned wisdom and reflection I see suggests otherwise!)
Here's some background that may seem irrelevant here, but might provide context. My mother's side of the family has been wracked by breast cancer-no one has died of anything else - including a male cousin. My maternal grandmother died at 45, my mother at 58. I'm a carrier of BRCA2, the breast cancer gene. Statistically, my time may already be up! My father was an e.r. doctor, and surgeon- so with that family combination, death was a pretty constant presence.
My training and background is theater, but I'm no longer performing. I have found what I feel is my "calling" - a sugary word- a word I can say and hear about others, but not myself. I have found what I think is my place. I work with 4 basic groups of people- the aged/infirm, those with dementia/Alzheimer's, the dying, and special needs children and their families (my 2 sons are autistic.) I look at much of it on a scientific level in order to comprehend and handle it. I have no medical degree, though my life experiences have certainly made me more familiar than most, especially with the brain (and my Dad was mentally ill, perhaps with borderline personality disorder.) Unfortunately, I have gotten the mental illness from my dad (Major Depressive Disorder) and the breast cancer gene from my mother. I often think that if I'd inherited my Mom's brain and my Dad's breasts, I might live forever. (Morbid and dark, but always funny to me.) I'm trained as an EOLD (end of life doula.) The common factor in all my "patients" is loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of self, and- in a tangential way- a parent's loss of the child they dreamed their child would be. I continue to see the similarities- because almost all of it is related to the function of the brain... I'm rarely sentimental (at work.) When I speak with my colleagues about our patients who are "no longer with us", I say that mine have died, and I've given up trying to employ the euphemisms my friends use with ease: "dropped her body"- "transitioned" or even my favorite: "went to cook for the Kennedy's" which is ruthless, but gallows humor is helpful here...
I pause a moment or more, literally, before I enter the door of any of my patients and families- I put my brain down, and then lead with my heart. Since I walk through so many of those doors, I think I may be an expert here. I want to tell you thatw here there can be no cure, there can still be healing. Those of us who are childless and single who fear dying alone need not: this movent began as NODA - no one dies alone. If you're concerned, look into it - you will be heartened by the many services available to you - most covered by Medi-caid... Each patient I've met has died in a different way-even when circumstances are similar. The "personal growth"/inspiration/transcendance I've seen has startled my unsentimental mind. Things I cannot account for with the laws of nature as I understand them. Grace - even when there is no religion. Communion - even when family chooses to stay away. Redemption - even when someone takes the journey alone. Is every passing Disney-like?- not at all. Does death bring resolution to all regrets and mistakes? Sometimes. Were my autistic children"sent to me" because only special parents can handle special kids like that? Not a chance... To the best of my ability, I approach each situation with blank openness. I think of a vessel, or a conduit. I have no answers, and even if I think I do- they are not mine to give. What I'm hoping you understand here, is that your challenges and suffering are no less than others who seem to "have it worse." Marvelous things happen when people embrace that we're terminal. It certainly elped me stare down many fears. Please free your self (as much as one can) from the task of figuring out why you're here - why you've been given "extra time." There really isn't extra time. Of making sense of why you are the way you are, in order to understand, process and move forward. Let's absolve ourselves of knowing any answers; of questioning whether an offered kindness is sincere, and lastly, of worrying whether you can ever re-pay the kindness someone else will do for you. Would you keep that score and expect a return from the giver? Of couse not. Be as gentle to yourself as you are to others. Be comfortable in the not knowing. And be surein knowing you'll leave your mark somehow, by example, by a kind word when one is needed- or with a page like this-where Ronni has changed the world and made it better- in more ways that she may never know.

Thank you so much for helping me on my journey in life.

Wow! Today’s post generated a lot of lengthy comments. So I’ll be brief.
I am an atheist through and through. In spite of that, when my very much larger than life husband passed away almost 20 years ago, I found it difficult to rationalize that he was simply “gone”. It comforted me to speculate that his essence was floating around somewhere in the universe, perhaps to alight in a lucky newborn.
I’m still an atheist, but it’s a fact that those who we have lost remain alive, in a sense, as long as there are those remaining who remember their loved ones.
It’s wonderful that your blog has brought so many thoughtful people together. It’s very special.

Hana Greene, thank you for your writing and sharing what you do. This is inspirational, practical and mostly spiritual. I applaud your considerable and vast means you have and use in comforting others, and your self.

Yes, thank you Hana Greene. Simone just said it better than I could.

I will especially remember this line of your comment:

"To the best of my ability, I approach each situation with blank openness. I think of a vessel, or a conduit."

That's a very useful image, particularly when you're struggling to help someone awash in suffering and you feel so helpless.


I have always thought, and still think, that staring unstintingly at reality -- and reality includes ones own death -- is an essence of bravery. You do it, so publicly. How not to marvel and applaud?

Love ya -- and thanks for being you here among us.

Thank you again, and again, Ronni.

BTW, Did your mother use this one?: "If wishes were horses. beggars would ride."

What a strong, insightful being you are + I understand the influence of your trip with the ingestion of a peyote button, being a child from the '60 + '70. Perhaps a portion of Jethro's song from Skating Away (year 1978) can help you at this point. Heck, this song has helped me every day. I call it my Prayer song. Below is a section:
"For those who choose to stay
Will live just one more day,
To do the things they should've done...
And as you cross the wilderness,
Spinning in your emptiness,
If you have to, pray...
Looking for a sign, that the universal minds,
Has written you into the passion play" 🎶

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