Follow-Up on Monday's Death With Dignity Post
INTERESTING STUFF – 23 May 2020

Settling Into My End Days – Or Die Trying

(Sorry about that headline; I couldn't resist.)

When the medical people say you are now eligible for hospice and for medical aid in dying (MAID), you know the end of your time on Earth is nigh.

Not that I haven't known of that outcome for these past three years, but when those two services are on offer, any wishful thinking one might have indulged in is wiped away.

A large majority of pancreatic cancer patients – nearly 90 percent - die within a year of diagnosis. With the help of my excellent doctors and nurses, the universe granted me two additional years of golden time most of which, if you don't count chemotherapy side effects, was not too much different from life before cancer.

It got to be almost funny sometimes when whatever new health issue turned up, I couldn't figure out if it was cancer, COPD or old age.

So I have no complaints about the place in life where I have now landed. Except this: what I said above about having known the eventual outcome of my disease from the beginning and the implied acceptance in that statement? Maybe not so much.

I suspect I've been fooling myself or, if I had made peace with my death as I thought I had (with a hefty dose of help from psilocybin), it slipped away while I was enjoying those extra years.

My first clue to that was a bit more than two months ago when a variety of body aches began popping up regularly. It was not long before they became a daily routine. Certainly it occurred to me then that the cancer was on the move but I shoved the thought aside and took another ibuprofen.

The second clue turned up several weeks ago when the oncologist told me on a telephone visit that my recent CT scan was “not bad.” He said it in an uncharacteristically flat tone that told me it actually was not good news.

As I had done in the past, I could have read the visit summary doctors post to my online account within a day of our meeting but I skipped it this time and tried not to think about what he said. That wasn't wildly successful and the pain continued too.

On Tuesday this week, I spent an hour on a video visit with the man who has been my palliative care provider for more than a year. I like him enormously. He is the one who told me I am now eligible for hospice and MAID, and we discussed how that will work in general as we move forward together.

In future now, we will meet every two weeks instead of monthly. I feel safe with him.

What I do not feel is at peace. As I look back today at the early days of this journey, I am surprised at what now seems like arrogance in thinking something akin to, “I've got this. I can handle my end of days.”

Yeah. Right.

I've spent some of the time since the Tuesday video visit talking with a handful of friends I am totally comfortable with but trying not to lean on them too hard.

Most strongly, what I feel now is sad. So achingly sad at the thought of leaving. To make it even more poignant, this is a most beautiful spring season here. I could be convinced that that is just because I've become a short timer but what difference does the reason make. I'm still sad.

Could I be at the beginning of working my way through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five (or is it seven?) stages of grief? Obviously – see above – I've had time with denial. Some unfocused anger has erupted. Just this week, the effin' ants returned to the bathroom. The whole outdoors isn't enough for them?

It could be that I am too pragmatic to bother with the bargaining stage of grief but who knows. I'd like to skip the depression stage too and go straight to acceptance.

I was so certain I had this end of life stuff under control. It's going to be awhile.

Comments

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Shit! I hate this.

I'll do anger for you if you want, Ronni. I'll do bargaining too. And endless denial.

Acceptance not so much. Just stay here.

Oh, Ronni. Oh, dearly beloved Ronni. While you “still have a lot to figure out,” you wrote on Wednesday, you already have our “help along the way.“ And, it is tender, solid, abundant, and loving.

As a hospice RN Case Manager I encourage you to accept the hospice team's help. Being eligible for hospice does not mean immediate death - I've had hospice patients for several years. What it does mean is that you will have a team that will be your advocate for your wishes, both physical and emotional. Comfort and a peaceful death is a worthy goal. Peace to you.

Dear Friend--I doubt that any of us would drink the Kool-Aid in order to go with you even though we/I hate that you must go alone. You have been and are such an important part of life for so many of us that I'm sure I'll hear an anguished sigh from across the world when I read that final posting from your dear friend.

You were "fortunate" enough to have had your devastating cancer diagnosis at an early enough stage that, although you had no choice in getting the cancer, you did, in fact have a choice in how you addressed it. You made the choice to carefully follow your medical team's directions to, hopefully, stretch out your time on Earth. You also chose to face reality as an adult and arrange for trusted and beloved friends to help you provide closure for the rest of us. Thank you for those choices, and thank you for continuing to include us in your journey as far as is possible.

Shalom

I love your column and it has served me well for the past few years. A friend of mine, who has since died from some strange type of liver disease, recommended it to me. She saw herself in your column as I think many of us do. Godspeed, and thank you.

Thank you for sharing this, Ronni. It is a beautiful spring. And, with its many faults--those ants!--it's a beautiful world.
Your column today reminded of two things: the poem In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver, and--of all things--the Garth Brooks song Kickin' and Screamin' .
I will, as the Quakers say, "Hold you in the light."

Thanks to you, none of us are isolated. You have become a part of the extended family and we are now all here with you. I am sorry to lose this place now now that I've found it, but I will be even sorrier to lose you. As long as contact is available, we'll comment. I really feel bad about the pain, but it is inevitable. In turn, we'll all have some such eventually. We'll
all be listening and sharing with you. Ronni, you are not alone. Also, the ants can be a real
hassle. We had to have pest control in here. Most household types are the odorous small
black variety. The large type carpenter ants are dangerous to wood, like termites. The small ones can be controlled or eliminated by pest control. We live in the woods in a log house and ants are a constant battle! B

I am wishing for those Facebook symbols, since I find myself at a total loss for words. But I’d like to reach out and squeeze your hand just to let you know I’m here.

That said, I endorse (e.g. “like”) the message from Nurse Darin and embrace you as Tamar does. And Katie? She seems to speak for us all!

Thanks for being so honest, as you have all along, about your thoughts of dying. It makes sense that as scary things get closer we are not as ready for them as we thought we were.

A palliative care team seems like a good group to rely on along with your friends & family.

Adding to all the cheers you have coming your way,
SusanD-L

You have graced us with your generosity of spirit.

A beloved father in law said, "You want to keep me with you for a thousand years", and you see in these comments, that so many feel that way. Grateful you have good people at hand. The journey is hard, you are letting us see that and I shall never forget it.

I have always felt that no other writer so openly and honestly has shared the ups, downs and sideways antics of life as you have, my friend. I echo the sentiments of those who also love you and have shared their thoughts and encouragement. While I can't imagine what your journey feels like, know that we are all beside you now and forever.

We're ferklempt. Wishing you a steady spirit and no pain anywhere. Ask for the check when you're ready, and not a moment before.

Thank you for sharing your life with its pains and joys with us. You are a wonderful spirit in my life and I hold you in my thoughts and my prayers.

Ronni - I join all the other commenters who have grown to love you over the years. Thank you for sharing your amazing access to information and your own experiences of aging -- and your wisdom -- and humor - and struggles - with all of us who are on this same journey. Different timelines for each of us. But the same journey. Please know that we are - I am - sending love and gratitude. And offers of providing support in whatever way we can.

In spite of all that you have had to go through, you have given us all a reason and a place to express some very delicate, serious, heart-rending yet heart-warming thoughts. Your thoughts and words will stay with us long after we no longer get the daily posts. In the meantime, if wishes and prayers and good thoughts, and long-distance love, do some good, know that you have all of those from your readers and friends.

"Achingly sad" seems a reasonable and honest response to where you find yourself today. I would suspect you are far too pragmatic to bargain over what you know to be inevitable, but there is at least a kernel of superstition in all of us, and who knows how that will factor in? Still, no one can give you what they don't have.

You've fought the good fight and lived a good life. I wish it could be much longer for you, as I do for all of us, but not when life has lost its shine and joy. I am extremely troubled when people or other animals have to endure pain and suffering, and I am in awe of those who are able to live with it for any length of time. When I think about John McCain enduring his time and treatment as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and our current president speaking of him in the abominable way he has, I cannot comprehend how America got here.

I wish you as much comfort as can possibly be provided by your team of palliative care professionals -- and even more. Not everyone is brave or fortunate enough to be able to exercise some control over the dying of the light, but you are. I doubt that acceptance looks like lying down with a serene face and waiting for the chariot to swing low. I think acceptance may be hard to recognize, but one of its qualities must be the ability to look discomfort -- what ever its source -- in the face and carry on. Through writing about your life, confronting its reality and sharing that with others, it seems that you've done a really good job of that. If you have not been to the mountaintop, I think you've come pretty close.

Wishing you peace and comfort always.

Thinking of you Ronni from the state, Maine, that I don't think you enjoyed living in lol May you still have smooth days ahead.

Aw, you know, I've been in denial right along with you Ronni, it sounds as though a lot of us have been. "She could be the one to beat this!" was never far from mind for me. And right now, I'm latching on to hospice RN Judith's comment that she's worked with people for several years...........why not? We all love life, and, we all love YOU. Now, if you'd told me some years ago I'd love a person I'd never met, "just online," I would have scoffed. But it's true. I'm tempted to go on and list all the reasons why...............but I think you already know them.

Life and death, we just want a bit of control.......and we get that, just a bit.........but the big picture, no. I well know the syndrome of "I've got this together now, this isn't going to throw me into the pit again, I'm on it, I GET it now and for all time!" Well, I think we do get it better than before, but it's always a learning curve. And woman, you have it WAY more together than most people I know.......... You have educated yourself since day one, taken it on, done the emotional work as well as the spiritual, and that will stand by you, every step of the way. Even when you're scared. And there's no shame in fear, as most of us were taught, it's just what's up sometimes.

Much peace to you, much love to you, all blessings to you, Salinda

My heart goes out to you, Ronni. And I wonder if any of us are ever prepared for the end. As a good Buddhist, i spend a lot of time thinking about death and doing contemplations. And yet . . . I'm not sure I could face it. I guess I go back to the truism of taking each day one step at a time. And it has been an amazing spring.

As above. xxGeorgina

I am inspired, and I hope you are too, by the comments here. I am especially moved by Cathy J's observation about acceptance. I wish I had something as profound as what others have written, but instead I will simply echo their sentiments about peace, love and blessings to you.

The life force I have would keep me wanting to hang on, to see the trees, hear the birds and the voices of my friends.

Ronni, As you know, first hand, this is a path you follow on your own terms. I'm guessing you know that Kubler-Ross' stages are not consecutive, but rather each one can come and go --and some don't reach every one. Something that has frustrated me for a long time is the way the term 'denial' is bandied about. It takes on a negative connotation which is another topic. Denial is when someone knows that have a difficult/terminal diagnosis and do nothing to address the symptoms or mitigate the disease. You have not done that. You have followed every protocol suggested by your MDs. I believe that what you have done is better called 'repression'. Repression is a positive and understandable defense mechanism. Very different than denial. I read (can't recall the author) that one represses the diagnosis "beacause one cannot look at the sun for more than a few seconds at a time." You've been a strong woman over these years and I feel confident that you will ride this roller coaster as nobley as you have done in the past.

So many have expressed what I feel in my heart for you, but all I can say is - I wish you peace and comfort on this your final journey .

My undying gratitude for all you’ve shared with us~💕

Lola G

Ronni, I found you (this blog) in 2006 the same year I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. I loved your writing and so, went back and read all the postings I had missed. I have been with you ever since, Bookmarking this blog and reading all that you post.

You write clearly and have been vulnerable with us and I appreciate that very much. You have had quite a journey in your life and have blessed all of us by sharing that journey with us. Thank you for that sharing. You have built a community here and all of us regulars have helped in our way.

I guess I am grieving this news and the knowledge that you will move beyond us. However, I am thankful for the gifts that you have given us. Much love to you and your family.

Your journey has been our journey, and we will continue to be here with you, no one is promised tomorrow, and you have given me so much both in the blog, and on your show with your X.
Read all, and loved the part about the bugs... I live in Florida we just have so many of them.
Reading Elizabeth Kubler Ross and her ideas, and yours, and knowing we now (well you do, we don't here) have the option to time things, it adds to living each day to the fullest.
Be there for your son and his family, and put out the FLAG, Memorial Day.

Oh Ronnie,
That is so sad. I cry for you. I save wishbones. Gave a whole box of them to a friend who died of pancreatic cancer after 6 months. Go easy and know you have made a difference to more people that you can imagine. You will survive in print. love,
Betty

I'm so touched by this post, as I am always reading how and where you are on this journey. I felt akin...walking along side of the feelng of preciousness of life, of Spring, of all I have enjoyed and don't want to leave behind. In the orientation or tradition I've been somewhat haphazardly aligned with over most of my life, they (Mindfulness practitioners and Indian and Zen monkish types) have often prescribed staying close to one's death in every day life. I have felt the pronounced and stark feeling of my impermanence, but after reading your post here, with a combination of denial designed to maintain my feeling of immunity and well being thrown in. Now, I feel the pending feeling you are expressing here, and am so honored by your sharing it. Still, you must hang on until the election (at the least), dear Ronnie. I don't want to go through it without you.

I meant to say I wish I could send you my waiting wishbones. Bb

Words fail. Thinking of you.

Keep talking, Sweetheart. We are here and we are listening.

Linda

Such beautiful thoughts. Feels like we're all holding hands....

Ronni, I join the comments with all of the others. Thank you for sharing your story along the way. I have been with you for many years now and am carrying you close now too. No words to express but love and light to you.

I need to second Judith. As a former Palliative RN I can tell you it is so much better to have the hospice team early. It doesn’t runout at 6 months You just get recertified. They will be by your side and truthful with you and help with annoying problems.
When it is not the time you are never ready, it’s just not human nature. My experience has been that a point comes when you are ready and then it happens or you can choose to make it happen if you live in a more enlightened state like you do.
I still want you to be around for as long as possible. You are a shining light who helps us and makes us think.
May you be free of difficult symptoms and be at ease in mind and body. Many are wishing for more time and when time is up you will be in the hearts of many.

Oh Ronni....I am sad. Like so many on here, I wish you comfort and peace.

Ronni,
None of us get to pass up dying whether we full recognize this or not.
Treat your pain and talk to those who bring you what you need. However, dismal things may seem it can and must be about you now.

luci

How generous and brave you are to share this process with your readers. It seems to me that your honesty strips away any persona you may have developed over the years to reveal the raw, vulnerable human inside. We readers observe this, and want to wrap our arms around you, to warm you, comfort you, encourage you and thank you for your openness.

What you are sharing will no doubt help us as we face our own transitions. Thank you.

I have been reading your blog almost since it began. Went through your move from NYC to Maine and then Oregon. I am also a New Yorker of the same age who moved west but to Washington state. Always appreciated your writing along the way although I have rarely commented. Take care. You mean a lot to so many.
Mary

Thinking of you.

My heart aches but in a good way with all in this community grateful to have you sharing with us all along the way. I agree with Judith and Andrea that Hospice isn't necessarily just for the end but for the comfort of the journey. Having those wonderful beings to answer even the silliest of questions or to sooth your concerns will help all of us to know you continue to be in good hands. Peace and comfort in each additional day, week, month, or however long we can read your words is comforting to us good days and bad. It can also be a useful education to what may be in store for us if in similar circumstances.

Of course, thank you for whatever you chose to do and share, Ronni. Much love!

Time for another round of psilocybin.

Ronni - thank you for sharing your story and your fight with us. My husband has terminal cancer. 18 months was the median from surgery, June 7 it will be 24 months. You have given me the 'other side' perspective I so have needed. Hugs to you and wishes for a clear mind, peace and comfort.

Sad and grateful...and sad.
It's amazing to me what you have been willing to share over the years.

I'm thankful for the community you have built. Though I don't comment often, I read all of the posts and comments. Today, all these brothers and sisters have said so much of what I feel, too. So much out pouring of love and appreciation for you and the legacy you are leaving to us.

Thank you, Ronni Bennett.
Your courage, vulnerability, and grace will serve you in good stead.
I will remember you a long time...until I follow. ❤

I too echo Judith Darin's comments. Letting hospice help you, at the same time knowing that many people have this help for a long time. As a friend of mine, in her 90s, did.

Much love and kind thoughts for you, Ronni.

Ronni, we live as long as we are remembered, and you will be remembered by each of us until we can’t remember anything.

Thank you for everything you have shared with us for so long. I’ve learned so much from you as time has gone by.

You are a blessing.

I’ve been a lurker, pretty much, since I first found your blog. Before I miss the chance, I want to say thank you for everything. Your words, your attitude, your honesty. I’ve learned and grown a lot with your help. Thank you.

Hi Ronni,

I think I know how you are feeling now, as my dad, who died in 1980, felt the same way. He was very very sad, as we all were. It is very difficult to say good-bye for the last time. I have been following you for a couple of years but have really enjoyed reading your writings and the comments. I hope you have physical comfort and mental peace. I too will feel a loss when the writing stops. Sending you lots of love, and a big Thank You for sharing your journey.

Your words are beautiful. I don't know what to wish you. What I can do is sit with you and care about you.

Ronni -
No matter what happens, keep in your mind the image of all of us holding you up on your journey, wishing you comfort and peace of mind as you move forward.

Am I allowed to say this stinks? This stinks. I'm mad and sad.

We're all of us in line to cross into the unknown. Thank you for all your words of advice over the years to those of us at different spots along the line. I wish for you a lessening of aches and pains, and more time of feeling good. You’ve done the hard work and more preparation than most — enjoy each day as much as you can, the rest will take care of itself.

There is so much warmth in my heart for you, you might even feel the glow. It seems we all feel the same way. In this non-hugging time we send a multitude of virtual hugs your way.

Ronni--I am so sad to read this post, so sad that you have reached this point. So how's this for denial: just because you're eligible for hospice doesn't mean that the 6-month period is immutable. If we've learned nothing from the past couple of months with Covid-19, it's that there's still so much we don't know about serious illness, and it's still fairly unpredictable. When my mother was ill and had hospice care, she had to be recertified several times because she kept defying expectations.

OK, that said...Do lean on your friends as much as you need to. It's a gift to them too, to help you. Do lean on your palliative care team. They're there to see to your comfort in all ways; it's what they do best. I'm sorry that you're committed to MAID, though I respect your decision and admire your courage in choosing it, but that's a discussion for another time perhaps.

Your courage, your humor, your honesty, in short, your great character and ability to connect with us will see you through. I join with countless other readers in sending virtual hugs and affection.

Thank you so much for all you have given us on your unique journey. The eloquent words of readers above have expressed the love, the gratitude, and the sadness we all feel. 💔 Vala

I don't know if acceptance is a bad thing or even a heavy thing.

I do know that acceptance is not resignation. Acceptance can bring peace.

It is an opening, not a closing.

We bless you, all of your readers and friends bless you, we bless you Ronni

Thank you for being you, Ronni, and all that being you has brought to to me in your blog. Through your various posts and snippets from writers you like, I've learned a lot about how we age -- individually -- in different ways and in different stages. Unpredictably.

At some point there comes the stage of Being where we have value in a different way than being intellectual or mentoring. I don't think we can predict when that will happen -- just like it's pretty hard to predict anything else in life. As I understand it, we become more vulnerable and willing to share that vulnerability as you do.

Some of the authors you've mentioned gently discuss the art of dying. And I agree with the hospice nurses who have chimed in. From my experience with hospice and my mother's death, it's comforting to have a loving person who will listen and care for you in a way that an emotionally involved friend or relative cannot. Someone who can help you through this final passage -- whenever and however it occurs.

Again, thank you for being you, Ronni, and for sharing your progress through life.

Oh my, at a loss for words. The proper words. Virtual hug in the meantime!

Dear Ronni. I have been following you for so long I can’t remember when I started. I think Cop Car, Millie and others are of the same vintage as I .You were living in NYC then Portland Maine (why you ever moved there is a mystery) then you and your beloved Ollie moved west to Portland Oregon. You have always been a brave soul setting out on new adventures with a positive attitude. I just turned 90 in December snd it seems each day brings some new ailment but with the help of my 91 year old husband I manage.
I don’t want to lose you. You are a treasure.
I bless the long ago day I happened to find Time Goes By.
PS: Please stick around until Nov 3 to vote against DJT..

It is what it is--but in this situation I really, really, REALLY wish it weren't! Hoping for a l-o-n-g, pain-free "transition".

What did Gandhi say? “My life is my message” You have wrote what it is like to a Create a meaningful life In spite of what you have been going through and shared it with others. It’s not over until it is over. Hugs.

Hugs and hugs again. I’m grateful we got to meet. Thanks for sharing all this.

When my father was near the end, he accepted in-home hospice.

It was a good thing.

I hope I have the opportunity when my time it is my time.

Sitting with our dad as he used MAiD on June 8th, 2019 was a great comfort to me and my siblings. I hope you will have the hand of a loved one in yours when you are ready. Until then, I join the others in saying thank you. Wishing you all the best in the days ahead, Ronni!

Dear Ronni, I first started reading your blog about 20 years ago, when you were selling your apartment in New York. I think you lived in Greenwich Village. I found your writing so interesting as I had turned 50 and was having difficulty dealing with getting old. I admit I lost track of you a few years later because of a lot of upheavals in my life. But here it is about 20 years later and I have recently found you again.

I am now 70, retired in Arizona, have many health issues including COPD, and live alone while isolating myself from the coronavirus. So far, I have evaded cancer, but I feel pretty certain it will be a part of my future and end. I am so extremely sad to learn of your cancer Ronni, and regret the years I have not been following your blog. I cannot imagine how sad you must feel right now. I’m glad you have good care providers, good friends and many thousands of your followers who love you and care about you. I hope you are able to enjoy each day to the fullest and live in the present as much as possible.

I will never forget when Bette Davis was on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show not long before she passed. After Johnny commented on all that Bette has survived, she said, “Old age ain’t for sissies.” So true!

Stay strong, or cry a bucket and then stay strong. Thinking of you! ❤️

It's strange I used to be so 'talkative' or gabby as some would say. But when I want to say something I find I am at a loss for words. :-( Others have said well what I couldn't. If I knew how they got the little hearts in I would put some. (betting they are on a phone)

You are a gift that keeps on giving, thank you. Dido to all of the previous comments, especially 90 y/o Janet's PS.

Mom said upon receiving her diagnosis: "I have to accept it, but I do NOT have to like it. " Hospice was a great support to us. Nothing wrong with a good long swearing hissy fit! Slug some pillows. Get it out, don't hold it in. Whatever action or words works for you, is OK and necessary. YOU are all that matters now. Your mental health really matters.

I'm sorry you have reached this ##@$%#$% damn hurdle in your life. You have my utmost respect in being so very honest and your integrity to share your story with all of the ups and downs. I have no doubt you have educated many in this world and I hope more people find your story in the next few years.

My huge hugs to you and a sincere, I am so sorry.

Thank you for your beautiful writing, your honesty and your generosity In sharing your journey, Ronni. Sending love and wishing you well during this next phase.

Stopped breathing for a moment. Think about you with love each day. Wordless.

What a fluke after I received my first computer that I read a little blurb in a newspaper about something called a blog. The writer noted TGB as being excellently written about growing old. So, I ventured out on to the Internet and began reading your blog in 2005-6. Lots of uphills and downs in my life and yours since then, but a ride I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

I have assumed all along given that you are younger than me that you would be here long after I was gone. Still could be. I echo the R.N’s and others here who report instances of individuals who have had more than one re-certification of their hospice care, each 6 month period having expired.

I think specifically of one woman who I was called in to provide services three different times for quality of life issues with her eating and communication. There was no delusion on either of our parts as to the inevitable but all was so unpredictable with meaningful times, words, instances of humor along the way — much as you offer here.

Your “Die Trying” headline does not escape bringing me subtle laughs that somehow evolve into tears filling my eyes. But I tell myself, that’s life. I’m still counting on reading your take on this election year, it’s outcome in November and afterward.

Aw, Ronni, Ronni; so sorry you're having to go through this. My thoughts and wishes are with you. This old world is so lucky to have people like you in it.

Damn is all I can say. I’ve been following you for many years and you have become a good friend. I admire your honesty and hope if I ever get a serious illness I can be as strong and gracious as you are.

Comfort is what I wish for you now.

Everyone has said it better than I can, but thank you so much. I’ve followed you for years and have saved many of your posts and comments. I’m so grateful for them to have to look back on from time to time.
You are a true gift to so many of us. Thank you

I have just finished reading all the comments/reactions to your post today. I echo whoever it was who just said "shit." What I found in most of the posts was a mix of sadness and love and disappointment and even anger: why should you - or any of us have to die? Why can't we just continue endlessly to enjoy - to be moved by - to laugh with you and marvel at your amazing words? Why, why, why?

I am like a stubborn child, wanting just to put my fingers in my ears and start humming
loudly so that I don't have to think too hard, I don't have to live with Reality ---

ah my.

Mostly I want you to live until you outlive trump. At least that long, and preferably much
longer.

I know you will hang in there. That's what you do. That's one of the zillion things about you that I love.

Ruth-Ellen

In 2008 I started reading your blog and it gave me the courage to start my own in 2009. Blogging friends with whom we can share happy and sad posts help tremendously. Having no French kin in this country I think of you as part of my family and also as a great girl friend who is intelligent, perceptive, witty, brave and full of wisdom.

All your blogging friends love you as you can tell by the great comments here. I can only say that you are surrounded with love and understanding. We are here for you, loving you and trying to pass any strength to you that we can. It’s difficult to find the right words, just know that you are in our heart.

I am grieving...I have profound words of comfort or hope for you, only the words that I will miss you so much. I echo the "prescription" that you take advantage of the hospice and let it enfold you in caring and care.

No more can I say, except I wish you peace and love and light at the end of your tunnel.

No words. You are in my thoughts.

Busy - life has been busy for me during COVID. And I've not read all of what you've written, Ronni, tho lately I had begun again. This one .. on top of one about OR's laws -- made me cry. Lots. I'd already been crying bec a friend posted a most beautiful 60th b'day video for himself .. he's ok ..and I know how fragile life can be. I'd seen the topic of this email earlier and couldn't - couldn't make myself read it. Yet, yes, I laughed.. bec it's so you. I've always thought I could face my own impending death better than I had about others. I now am not sure and more because of what you've written and shared. And because the sadness is so great to think of your humor and pragmatism and intelligence and wit facing this .. and sharing it. Thank you for yet more gifts.

The tears started at the title.

Be in peace and love and remember that you are still the captain of This End Up, and we're all on the ship with you, loving you, thinking of you, and hoping there's still substantial quality time left for you and us.

I am so grateful that I have come to know you through this blog. You are an amazing woman who has had an incredible life.

Take care dear friend.

Ditto, ditto to what everyone else has said. I am very grateful to you for writing this extremely well written and researched blog. It is an exceptional column, and you've done it so well for so long. Many, many people will miss you very much.

Big sigh. Prickle of tears. We knew it was coming, but the reaction is always, "Not yet, not yet".

I hope you will really avail yourself of everything hospice has to offer, including drugs, but especially the emotional support. Sharing bits of this last journey can be immensely comforting, and you don't need to be tough and self-sufficient and in control any more.

What acceptance means is not struggling with the fact - giving up the hope that things can or will be different. It need not be sad, once you have worked through it. And live, live out loud until you can't.

I'll really miss you, Ronni.

Ronnie, I am one of the "young" older women who read your blog, at 58. I vividly remember when you had your surgery and waiting breathlessly to hear how it went. I wondered why I cared so much. But you had touched me like so many others. I hope that there is some comfort in the knowledge that you are teaching us during your journey. I expect to think of you often over the years and share your wisdom if others will listen. We will be carrying you into the future, like your sweet family will. Thank you. For all you have given us and all you will be giving us!! May your journey be full of blessings! Isn't spring the most wonderful time of year? 💕

I love you Ronni

Be well

Beatriz


I am at loss for what to say, Ronnie. Everyone has said it so eloquently. I wish there were some way to give you that gift of peace. Who can have this at the time of their death? I don't know? But you do need to know that you are beloved, cherished, needed, and you will be leaving us a legacy of memories from all you have posted and put in our minds to contemplate and grow from. There aren't thank you's enough for the awakenings you have provided on your journey.

Oh my...my heart aches...

You have my love and caring even though we never met,

Karin

I admire your courage Ronni. Your anxiety about the unknown (death) is a human condition we all must face. Thanks for sharing your private journey. I hope it will help me and others face our own end of days.

Ronni, I cry with you and for you.
Lucky for me that I found you when I first started bogging! Little did I know what a fantastic person I had discovered. You enriched my life in many ways! Eye opening posts and encouraging words that kept me posting.

Never did tell you that I was sharing your words with my friends who do not have computers but I knew they would appreciate your thoughts.

Hospice should be a good service for you. They will be there for you when yo need them.

i love you, I hug you and care and think of you. What else can I say -Have some ice cream!!!

Ronnie
From Melbourne Australia - love your blog, use it in teaching about growing older ... this journey - you invited us to be part of - has been and continues to be a wonderful thing. Take care and remember those stages were never meant to be linear ... I think Kubler Ross was trying to describe the roller coaster of emotions- as you have with us. Take much care Ralph

Most of us who thought we completely accepted our own deaths probably didn’t. Nor did we accept yours, and now we must, thanks to your honesty. As Cathy says, acceptance is less about serenity than about confronting reality. Thank you for sharing everything over the years.

Aside from this new reality, there is much to thank you and TGB for. With your help we have shared so much about the inevitabilities of aging—from dropping things to incontinence, from Medicare to death with dignity, from the consequences of falls to the benefits of marijuana, from elder weight gain to diet and health tips and so much more. And of course TGB gave us an occasional forum to discuss the evils of Trump.

It’s all still there for the record and I can’t help hoping that you’ll be adding to it for awhile longer.

Thank you again for your courage in sharing this with us.

I send you all my love. You have became a friends. Your words are so eloquent, your spirit so strong it transcends the page. Thank you for sharing yourself . ♥️

I feel sad.....you will leave an empty place in my heart.
sending lots of love and abundant blessings for your journey....
Thanks for EVERYTHING Ronnie.

There are no words to say how sad this makes me... selfishly I wish I’d hopped that plane last summer and knocked on your door...but I knew it was more about me than you - when your time was so very precious spent doing your things not mine...
When the time comes it will break my heart you didn’t have more time... and we don’t have your musings or presence in our lives.
You are loved my friend. And you will be so warmly remembered. Of no use ‘as and when’ but rather it is said now than too late for you to know it.
All my love...

So sad to read this, hoping very much that you will be writing about your relief that Trump has been resoundingly defeated in November. Everyone above has written all I could say so just THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us these many years.

Such marvelous, moving comments -- not only have you been an indispensable companion for all these years, Ronni, but look what you've inspired among your ardent followers!

How about this: when you reach the bargaining stage of grief, you ask to be able to read every comment that comes in. That should keep you going for a good long time (and us too).

We love you,
Rayna & co.

We are all on this journey together with you, Ronni. Every step of the way. Prayers. Peace. Blessings.

I have no words of wisdom. Thank you so much for yours. Now, I'm simply saddened. I'm just one of many who are thinking of you.

Like Shelley, I have no words of wisdom and thank you so much for yours. I've read your blog for years and you've been a grounding energy for me. I enjoy your writing style, your telling-it-like-it-is, and your amazing insights into life and aging. Thank you doesn't say enough. When you won't or can't write any longer, I will miss you terribly.

My sister died from cancer with the care of hospice. I was with her when she left and it was a beautiful experience. That may sound strange and I'll never be far from the overwhelming sadness, but it made me unafraid of dying. I do hope you're one of those hospice patients who lives for years!

You may not feel as ready now as you thought you were, but I think, from all you've written, that you will find peace. I so very much wish you a peaceful journey. And Thank You for being so important to me, Ronni. Namaste

Ronni, know that you are handling this as best you can. We will all come to that point. I think you've been such a brave lady, and a weak one. What else is there. We laugh and we cry. We don't accept. And that's ok. Don't accept. Fight to the end. Or accept if you can but who really does. I think all of us fight/will fight to live another minute. Maybe just accept who you are and be you. I love you and who you are.

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