A TGB READER STORY: Attachments
TGB Readers and My Youthful Dream

Winding Down a Life (or Not) in a Troubled Time

During the president's repugnant Bible photo op Monday evening, it struck me that I will not see the outcome of the extraordinary time we are living in.

They tell me I haven't long to live - “they” being the doctors. But even without the CT scan a couple of months ago, I knew that.

Not counting the pain during recovery from my Whipple surgery in 2017, which was significant, I had no pain until early March this year. Now it is an infrequent good day when random body pains don't intrude.

Mostly, it is the low-level kind of constant pain that grinds down one's energy and mind accompanied, in my case, by the darkest kind of thoughts. To counteract, I use over-the-counter pain killers liberally. They work (if you don't count the two hours it takes for them to kick in), and as to dosage warnings – oh, please. What does it matter now?

Also, my appetite is diminishing. I force myself to eat as much as possible to prevent frailty and it's not easy overcoming the urge to puke halfway through a meal.

Right now, I'm down two pounds from this time last month. (Do you know how hard I had to work at dieting most of my life to lose two pounds?)

Cancer and COPD together are robbing me of energy. I tire so easily that I sometimes need to nap in the afternoon, a time when I am done for the day doing anything that involves effort from body and mind.

Even reading is difficult later in the day. I understand each word but my focus is so weak I lose the thread of paragraphs and even sentences before I get to the end.

Due to my doubly damaged lungs – COPD and cancer – I'm fairly well freaked about COVID-19 so I'm overly careful about distancing, masks and disinfecting anything I bring into the house. Would that other supermarket shoppers cared as much.

It all sounds grim, doesn't it. But it's not. Discounting bleak thoughts when I haven't taken pain pills soon enough, I'm not unhappy and nowhere near miserable.

I'm adapting, as the diseases make necessary, to different living arrangements and I think that generally, most of us are like that. We make do quite well much of the time when circumstances require it.

You may recall that when I was first told I had pancreatic cancer three years ago, I immediately gave up my daily workout, having hated it for many years. Well, I'm back at it.

Those amazing nurses at pulmonary rehab showed me how exercise helps me breathe and I certainly know they're right because now, whenever I skip a day, I pay for it heaving for air if I move faster than a sickly old woman ought.

Last week, I was reminded of some sage advice from Darlene Costner when I quoted her in her birthday blog post about cutting back on housekeeping:

“I no longer care if my house is spotless,” she wrote...”I am aware that I am unable to do the hard work necessary. I shove it onto my list of things that I won’t worry about. Now I am more like Phyllis Diller who joked, 'I clean my house twice a year whether it needs it or not.'”

Me too, now.

The virus has made huge changes in all our lives. And now, following the death of a black man at the hands of white police, there is widespread civil unrest exacerbated by a ignorant, little boy president and his sycophantic, West Wing enablers.

Something big is happening in the United States. We already knew there would be no going back whenever the virus is contained. Now, whatever that new way of being, of living will be complicated by this eruption of often violent clashes and the divisions they are causing.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, I took part in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests and marches. My health doesn't allow participation this time, but I sure do want to see the eventual outcome, and what follows from that.

This time I won't and I am sorry about that. None of the fear, anger and disruption we are seeing now can be resolved in a few months or even years.

When I cared for my mother during her last several months and talked to my great Aunt Edith every week during the last two years of her life, I watched both of them, little-by-little, lose interest in and let go of the world and its events.

Ever since then, I have hoped their gradual withdrawal is a normal development as death approaches because I don't want to die feeling like I missed the last reel of the film.

As much as I yearn for this disinterest as my days dwindle down, for now I am still very much of this world, following events as closely as any previous time in my life. Curious, curious, curious and full of the can't waits to see how it turns out.

So, I choose to keep going for as long and as fully as I can or want in the time that remains. I choose to rise in the morning, be present each day, be kind to others and especially, to be as honest with myself - and with you in these pages – as I am capable.

Comments

Beautiful post.....my thoughts are with you. Your words inspire me every day - thank you!

We can wish for so much more of you, Ronni, but we can't ask for more than you already give so generously to us.

I'm sure your will to see through as much of this current mess as possible is true for all of us. It's so mind boggling to find our country in the hands of such corruption. Not sure how many of us will see our way through all the healing that needs to happen.

For now, we can wish you comfort and send our love your way.

The value of what you are sharing about this most personal journey is beyond words but not beyond the feelings of wishing comfort for this last part. Hang in as long as you feel able. I wish “out there” wasn’t so fraught with ugliness and harm at this time.

You continue to inspire me also. Thank you for taking your time and most importantly your energy to share this part of your life with us. Wishes for less pain and more time.

Thank you for another beautiful post. You are still so articulate in times and conditions when being so is just another drain on your energy. Thank you for all your writing and sharing with us. You make us family--in the best sense. There are not enough nuanced words for love in our language. So, a simple I love you will have to do.

I am one of your anonymous readers who gains much and gives nothing in return. I know I must comment and thank you at least once before your ship sails.

I found your blog when searching for information when my mother’s health was declining. I found your post “Last Best Lesson“ and simply continued to read, to learn, to laugh, to think.

Your community of commentators is as helpful as what you write.
I never fail to read every one. The names have become as familiar as long time friends.

You never know who or how far your words of wisdom reach.
Thank you.
Susan in Texas

Beautiful thoughts today.

I wish we could fast-forward through our current events to see how this all turns out. Guess we have to have faith that our compassion and humanity will lead to meaningful changes.

You are my friend that I think about as if you lived next door. Over the years we’ve laughed and cried and been grumpy together. You’ve inspired me to live fully, absorb losses, treasure surprises, and fume with passion. Old friend you are still of young heart and I am so grateful that you continue to teach all of us how to wind down with dignity and grace.

I have been with you for a long long time and treasure each post. It has been the only blog I have read consistently. Thank you for being a part of my life over these years. A faithful friend you have been. A Teacher! Blessings on this journey. Love to you.

My gratitude again for another beautiful, heartfelt and heart-ful post. I just love you.

You rock!

Virtual hug for you!

Thank you so much for all the effort that you put into sharing your feelings so frankly and beautifully. You inspire us to carry on with dignity no matter what misfortune may befall us. Your readers appreciate your words . We wish you more energy and less pain as you carry on. Take a break whenever you need to!
Ruth M.

Champion. Thank you.

I am in awe of your ability to feel reality, to act on it, and to translate your life into clear direct writing that informs and deeply touches me and the many who read your blog.

I’m a lurker but want to grab this moment of despair about our country’s future to express my deep appreciation for your sharing your soul. I wish for you a smooth glide path that lasts as long as you choose.

My wife, Carlin, told me about your blog, which I've been following ever since. We're all on this journey called life. Someone once told me that "life is a journey we each do separately, together." Sharing your journey has been a great gift to me as I continue doing mine. May you have peace, joy, and some comfort knowing you have changed the lives of many and brought ease to us in this difficult time where there is so much personal, political, and social dis-ease.

This may be the most moving of your posts, Ronnie. Reading it, I have only love and admiration for you.

Perhaps for the first time, I'm not so sure I want to see how this ends, because I find myself wondering if it will end with me and like-minded people in gulags somewhere in the vast empty places in this formerly great country. Flawed, of course--what human institution isn't?--but aspiring to be fair, free, the land of opportunity that it was/strove to be for most of its short history. Freedom of speech, the press, secure in your own home... I just re-read the Bill of Rights, and, whatever happens to the United States, that document will serve as a guide and a hope for people for generations to come. Assuming there *are* generations to come.
I am grateful to you, Ronni, as I've said before: you helped me find an approach to aging. I am sorry for your pain, and I got a kick out of your line about disregarding dosage warnings. Your profound engagement with the world, your integrity, and your great generosity of spirit are a bright beacon in a pretty bleak time.

This post, above all past ones, has grabbed at my heart and I realized that there will be no more Ronnie in the near future, just as there will be no more me at some point. Reality is setting in and I don't like it! Like all of the above commenters and our fellow readers, I love you. I will miss all the writing you do which saves me from looking it up; I will miss the fun stuff on Saturday that I share on my Facebook page; the music on Sundays; the looks you give your ex 😊. Boy, oh boy, how I will miss you, dear friend.

Hi Ronni
Such a heartfelt response, living in Australia, we watch from a distance and my wife's brother and his family live in Missouri and Arkansas so we hear about the troubling times you are all living through.
Your reflections today, have made me think how sad we will all be, when you are no longer able to share this blog with us, as a follower for many years your posts are also welcome in my in-box and today I was having a not so good day (working at home, isolation etc) but your message was a reminder of how precious our time is and how worthwhile it is to stay engaged with the world and to play a part in making it a better place as you did in earlier times - we all have to keep fighting for a more just and equitable world.
Take good care with my warmest wishes
Ralph

My mother was a great reader, probably one of the reasons I became a librarian. At the end of her life one of the things that broke my heart into yet another piece was seeing her paperback book on her nightstand, with a bookmark halfway through it knowing she would never finish that book or any other. That was 27 years ago this past May. I can't remember the name of the book but I can vividly remember the actual shock of realizing she wasn't going to finish it.
Like several of your regular readers but not posters I have read your blog often and for a long time. I can't remember when I discovered it but it has been an inspiration to me in so many ways that you will never realize or know. It truly truly has made me a better person. Thank you.


Perhaps your mother and great-aunt had different personalities, or died when the times were not so cataclysmic? But you're you, and I am grateful. The best way to say thanks is to continue to advocate for the causes and changes you have long written about.

Somehow, some years ago, I stumbled onto your blog, and what a fortunate blessing for me ever since! Many can fill one's mind, but add the heart and..........well you are that for me, and many others. And these learnings don't go away, they are now in our very being, for all time.

A friend of mine recently used the word "transitioning" about her mother's death. I liked the word, it gave new possibilities for thinking about a process and a journey that has, and still gets a bum rap. Thank you for your courage and honesty, you are the one ahead, holding the lantern high.

Ronnie,
I am so sorry you are suffering.

Luci

I send a long a hug for you as well.

It's strange Ronni when DT was elected I said he is going to cause a war. Little did I realize it would be with the American people. I didn't think I would live to see a civil war.

I admire your strength and think it is absolutely amazing that you keep up with this blog when you have so much to deal with. You are quite an inspiration!

Social distancing be damned. Here's a huge (but gentle) virtual hug.

We are truly blessed by your continuing engagement in life.
It is hard to believe that your journey began 3 years ago.Time flies no matter what.
Therefore, I treasure every moment you spend with us.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sending wishes for peace and love.
Marena

Hi Ronni, I don't think any of us reading your blog will live long enough to see all of the change that is required but we are seeing steps in the right direction. The Minneapolis School Board has voted to sever ties with the police, the Park Board is following suit, and the University of Minnesota did so a week or more ago. A major law firm has announced that it will no longer provide pro bono services to city prosecutors and our governor, who is one hell of an awesome guy, has ordered a human rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department. Our state Attorney General, Keith Ellison, will be taking over the prosecution of the police who killed Mr. Floyd because there is so much distrust toward the county prosecutor. So while much remains to be done, a lot has happened in two weeks. George Floyd will never be forgotten. Best wishes and a big thank you to you.

Your honesty tugs gently at my heart. At the same time, your words are signaling the inescapable parting that lies ahead for all of us who have gotten to know you and care so deeply for you. I continue to be grateful to you for showing me the way forward, even when I find myself resisting its pull.

Ronni, thank you so very much for all you've written. Although I'm not yet at the end of my cancer journey, I will be there in the not too distant future. You've given me more strength than I thought I had and for that I am deeply appreciative. I am now 80 so close to you in age. I've always felt we had similar backgrounds in that we were from New York...you worked in media. I worked at an ad agency in CT. Your writing was always so close to my heart. Love and strength in your continued journey. My spirit is with you. Love.

Your words are inspiring and I wish you the best in your journey.

a courageous essay.... sending a hug.

Ronni, you are an amazing human being! I have always hoped that my life would - somehow - make a positive difference....in the lives of others, or maybe even the world! Possibly this wish is a little egotistic. I guess I don't want to live (for however many years I have - currently 80 years) - without having some kind of impact, hopefully a good impact. Well, YOU are definitely having an impact and a very positive one! You are a person of whom many will remember and say to others "I knew Ronni! What a wonderful and positive influence she was to so many!" Please know this and think about it every day! Thank you.

Thank you for sharing this with us, with me. You remind me to keep trying to be patient, loving, kind, unselfish and be full of courage by showing all that yourself. You are, indeed, inspiring. How I wish I had found you years ago but thankful that I eventually did find Ronni.

You are a wonderful woman.
Thank you thank you thank you.
o/

Once again, you have written truth and honesty, and your readers have done the same. I am not a long-time follower--only because I didn't know about this blog earlier--but I shall continue to read it as long as you write it....and I will go back and read some of the earlier writings, too. You lead an amazing group of people who find such incredible ways to express what is deeply felt, but also what is amusing. What a great combination. I thank each of you, and you, especially, Ronni.

Ronni,
I read your post several times. You pack so much wisdom into your words , I need more than one reading. Or maybe my focus is also dimming...The line I kept going back to is this one: "Discounting bleak thoughts when I haven't taken pain pills soon enough, I'm not unhappy and nowhere near miserable."

Thus is such a wonderful thing for us, your readers and friends, to know! I wish you many more hours of comfort and that you are here just as long as you wish to be. Maybe none of us will see the unfolding of the events we are living in----But at least you are still interested. and we are ALL interested in you.
LOVE to you, and a Big hug.

You have accomplished a purpose that few are able to do. You have shared so much important information and insight into aging, politics, a meaningful life and now your very personal cancer journey.

But for me, most of all, you have acquired many intelligent thoughtful decent commenters, who see things and problems in this world with our very dangerous president, much as I do. I find it comforting to know there are many like us out there, just not too many where I live...but enough to make my life pleasant in my old age.
The best to you Ronni and I feel you will be around longer than you might think.

Ronni, I am touched deeply not only by your essay, but by your readers' responses. You have created a safe and generous place in a dangerous world, and we are all so grateful. I came across this quote last week and can't help including it.
"The world is a wonder, but the portions are small." (Rebecca Hazelton).
So true, yet you have made your portion large enough to enfold us all. For this, my endless thanks.

Hi Ronni -- this has me thinking about a song by Edwin Starr: "War -huh- yeah, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin' " -- only I'm inserting "pain" in place of war. I understand that, realistically, pain serves important functions, but find it hard to think what those might be when it simply comes along with the decline of our bodies in age or terminal illness and provides no real 'heads up' to which we can respond and fix. Thank goodness there are medications that can at least help ease that, and, in some cases as you've chosen, final options that can prevent the last and most extreme episodes.

Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and feelings as long as you're able and keep fighting the good fight. It's quite a journey that you're on and we're right there with you.

Ronni, you inspire me with each of your posts. I look forward to your life wisdom as I open my mail each day. Because of you I also listen to GABNet. I am sure that you are the one who Alex refers to in his closing, so I will say , “Ronni, Alex loves you”. Thank you for being there for your readers. We are there for you, too.

Ronni, I'm a faithful reader but very infrequent participant in the wonderful, compassionate conversations you inspire. Your courage and clarity, wisdom and wit, and passionate engagement with the broken, beloved world you are preparing to leave touch my heart and engage my mind. The world is blessed to have you in it and that blessing will live on, even as, one of these days, not soon but too soon, we will have to go without you. And I think all of us will have to trust that today's young people will take up the task after we are gone of mending the world that is becoming more and more broken day by day. The outpouring in Minneapolis and St Paul of caring and creative mutual aid, citizen neighborhood protection, blooming street art, and peaceful demonstrations provides hope. And thank you for the hope you have given us all.

Thank you, Ronni. Thank you for everything.

I admire your grit and your courage, so ... keep on truckin'!

Ronni, everyone else has said what I feel about you so much more eloquently. You have given all of us so much of yourself —you have my deepest gratitude and love. Each of us, in our own way, has some (or many) takeaway(s) from you that we will long remember. I don't want to believe it, but if your time is drawing nigh, then I am pleading with the universe that at least you be spared much pain. And that you feel enveloped by love.

Your last paragraph is a way of being we could all adopt whether we know we are dying or not. Be at peace.

Right on Ronni. I will carry on with your good work in advocating for elders until my day comes to let go of worldly concerns. Thank you for opening your heart to us in this blog. I wish you peace.

This is wise, touching and brilliant. I will keep it forever.

Thank you very much for sharing your progression through life with us. I wish you peace of mind and ease of heart

This is not how your blog and writings were to unfold. From when I first started reading here I soon believed there would be an ever expanding number of TGB followers. There would be increasing attention and attraction including to the issues of aging, the language used by others diminishing older people. Eventually, attention would be paid to you in mainstream media so even more people would listen and engage. Would that I had the ability to facilitate that happening.

Time...more time has been needed to get there, though your words will continue to resonate with many long after you cease adding new ones. Many of us who enjoy visiting here will continue the drum beat to the best of our ability.

You’ve accentuated and modeled how to produce and maintain a blog that demands truth, respect, civility, caring for one another whatever our views if we want to participate here. I’ve especially appreciated your take on politics during this uniquely critical time in our nation's history.

Only in recent years have I come to realize how much I have allowed involvement here to become an important activity in my life. There will be a vacuum when the day comes I’m no longer able to touch base here to read your new thoughts, ideas, criticisms, joys, humor and reminiscences.

Meanwhile, I’ll wish for you many more days, weeks, months and longer to be cognizant, able to appreciate and enjoy life with minimal or even no pain. Selfishly, I hope that time will include writing here occasionally. On the other hand, and more importantly, I want you to do whatever gives you the most pleasure and comfort through the time to come, including to whenever you might choose to cease writing here. Positive caring wishes are being sent up the coast to you!

Roni - I send you a hug I wish I could deliver in person. I do believe we are headed for very big changes- and I hope against hope that they are positive. We need profound changes in this economy/society and I wish it would happen soon enough for you (and me!) to see it. So glad you are still so engaged with what is happening - you have a marvelous mind and spirit.
Much love, Chris

You are a very special Lady Ronnie.......I wish you strength , peace of mind and relief of all physical pain.......Thank you for bringing together this group of like-minded people. I have learnt so much from you all. The sharing on this blog could never happen in real life!
Most of us would love to be missed as much as you will be missed.

I am beyond moved by your post today, Ronni. You speak your truth so clearly, and have done so for as long as I have been following this blog - which has been years. I wish I could be as clear in telling you how much you have meant to me, and will always mean to me. Much love and light to you.

- The Other Regina (from Seattle)

Thank you so much for your new and profound post. I imagine we would all like to be able to go years into the future to see how all this suffering plays out in our country and the world. Maybe it is a gift that we will not be able to see much.

I don't want you to go! And yet I realize that's not how life works, for any of us. I'm so appreciative of how generously you've shared your journey. I've learned so much from you, and you've helped me more than you can know to feel less afraid.

I'm going to miss you, dear Ronni.

Susan

I've been following along and learning since your days in Maine. It has been a blessing to find wisdom here on a regular basis.

When the time comes, know that you will be missed. Greatly.

Thank you always for just being you Ronnie. I will greatly miss even your crabby old lady posts. For sure there is a lot now going on in the world to have a crabby day. Blessings, comfort and wishes for many more smooth days for you.

Thank you for letting us know how things are going with you. I have read all your posts and appreciated them. I will miss them when your time comes.

You're a star Ronni, I've been reading you forever and learning so much along the way from your fearless sharing of the reality of aging.

This has helped me in giving workshops and also in living my own truth and helping others to cast off the mantle of trying to look "young" and and live in denial and fear of the aging body when we need to celebrate our lives more. And our years.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

XO
WWW

Thank you, Ronni. You and your thoughtful blog are a gift to us all.

Ah Ronni, take whatever you need to feel better: chocolate, ice cream, pills, morphine, opium, wine, cognac, peyote, weed, hash, acid - anything, I don’t want you to feel pain. Hugs,

Another long time reader here who has enjoyed......and learned so much from....your posts over many years.
Sending you love and sunshine and gentle hugs
Take care
Cathy

What gifts you keep giving us, what a legacy you will leave. Each of us carries something we learned from you, and we will keep sharing that with others. Oh, the places you'll go!

I only found you several months ago, but once I did I marveled at your writing (and sent you a private email saying so, before exploring TGB in earnest and learning just who Ronni Bennett is). I’m just glad I found you when I did.

I love TGB, and the Alex & Ronni Show, and Peter’s Sunday Music, and Interesting Stuff & all the regular contributors here—and most of all, you Ronni. Just wanted you to know.

Ronni, I want to thank you for all your wisdom and insight into old age, as I have been following you for many years now. Your posts helped me greatly when I was helping my mother. Mom passed away last June at 98 1/2. She wanted to live to be 100 so she could get a happy birthday card from the president. I am grateful she didn’t have to live thru this pandemic, and more grateful that she won’t be disappointed not to receive a birthday greeting from the man we have to call President. Thank you.

Is it too early for you to vote? We could use it.

The sky is quiet tonight unlike the helicopters the last ones. Maybe at 11 when curfew begins the sound will begin. Or maybe it’s quiet because the hater in chief did nothing as horrible as he had.

Death - the thought of mine or that of others - never hurt as much as reading this, Ronni. You’re practical, witty, brilliant. I’m not sure how to think tonight on a night I’m already tired fr work, pain normally felt and pain bc of the horrors of this country.

Find a way to stay a bit longer. As long as you can endure.

Thanks for your sharing today, and over the years. It has been a gift of information, inspiration and fun. I really relate to the "wanting to know how it all turns out ". Maybe that feeling never goes away. It is so kind of you to tell us how it is going for you daily, weekly. You are helping us all chart our way.

Ronnie, I will be in grateful, appreciative awe of you for as long as I live. You are stunning!

I always save the best for last. That's why I read you at the end of the day.

Thanks, Ronni, for always telling it straight and true.

Just thank you. Don’t remember anymore how I came across your blog. But when my best friend received her terminal diagnosis we both read your honest portrayal of where you were. She died unexpectedly 6 weeks after we knew she wouldn’t survive a year and I have found your blog comforting. We used the 12 step program slogan One Day at a time—and sometimes only a few minutes.
I admire your honesty and perseverance. i wish you peaceful pain free times.

I've followed your blog for years. I wish I could be as eloquent as everyone else to tell you how much you have meant to me. In the Jewish tradition it's said when a person passes, Let his/her memory be for a blessing.
Ronnie, you have blessed us with your ideas, your passions, your energy, your wisdom, your fortitude and your grace. Consider your self virtually hugged in love and gratitude.

Peace be with you.

Your post really struck a chord. I was estranged from a dear friend at the end of her life and thought she wouldn't welcome me as a visitor in her ill-health. But I kept tabs on her situation and oh! your words of weight loss, gradual detachment from life etc are so, so familiar. I know your words are true and from the heart. I deeply repent that I didn't make more of an effort to overcome the bitterness of years and meet up with her ..... but too late for me.

A small plea. I hope your words of wisdom, as also peoples' comments, remain available for solace. I come by and read old posts for comfort.

Que sera sera. Life goes on. There is no beginning and no end to the circle of life. The more life changes, the more it stays the same. One evil presence will go...only to be replaced by another. But, its the same with the good guys. And I rejoice that the good guys outnumber the others.

Again, peace be with you.

I am struck by the good advice you receive from your healthcare professionals and pass on to us. I think it makes a world of difference in quality of end of life to be surrounded by care. You are the poster child, thanks for doing this.

Very grateful for your words, you give me hope in human nature and... in America.
I wish to become as clever and good as you are.
In France, the number of covid cases are completely declining , I think it will be soon the same in your country.
I send my love

Thank you, you wise and beautiful woman. I am a few steps behind you with my congestive heart failure and other acute and chronic conditions. Plus I have a Loving, younger husband to hold my hand and give me happiness, and many family members and friends.

I will learn to live without you = a hard business. You are a candle in my darkness and you have lit my footsteps for several years now.

I wish you a quiet time when it comes for you and think of all of us surrounding your passage. You will not be alone.

You, and this community that you have created, continue to amaze me. The honesty, love, care, and depth of your posts and those that comment are what remind about what being human is about. Thanks for all the encouragement and the many moments when your words and the words of others fill me to the brim.
Carol

May the love and appreciation of the many you have shared your truth with carry you to your next adventure. God will be lucky to get you.

I didn't get to read your post until the day after it was written, so I am slow in responding. What I've always appreciated about your writing is your frank, this-is-the-way-it-is style. No sappy mooning over things that can't be, yet a determination to take what is and make the best of it, kept going by endless curiosity. You are a true journalist, though you didn't spend a day in a classroom learning it. Like me, your training came in the rough-and-tumble world of on the job. I salute you, and wish you all the best. I will miss this blog terribly. Oh, and I sure wish you could be around to vote!

Breathtakingly honest and brave. Wishing you the best! Jean


All of us die a little everyday, that is the law of life; but few of us keep, until the very end, the curious outlook on life, the interest , the expectation that something better may be around the corner - like you do.
I wish I could express myself better in your language, but I speak from the heart and that is a universal language.
Thank you Ronni for sharing your wisdom and joy of living

I'm so sorry about the pain, Ronni. Thank you for sharing the nearing of the end of the road with us. We are all going down the same road.

Dad wanted to keep on living. He had a stroke, heart attack and lung cancer. It was the lung cancer that did him in. It wasn't until the weekend before he died that he changed. He died on a Tuesday. Dad was a fighter by nature. He went down quick.

You are my hero. Truly, you are. I read often, comment almost never, but I want you to know how deeply touched I am that you would share your story with all of us. Peace, dear one.

Honest and brave. Hugs to you, Ronni.

Thank you. As a long time reader, but a never-until-now-responder, I want now to add my voice of appreciation for your kindness, generosity and dedication to your chosen, final contribution to the world. Your words uplift and inspire me, by your honesty and willingness to share your experience in such glorious ways. Sure wish you didn't live so far away, and that I didn't meet you long ago!

Ronni, my colleagues and I think of you often. I was really so hopeful things would go differently for you. You show amazing strength and I hope I can be as strong as you if ever faced with similar challenges. Take care.

Ronnie, I'm so sorry and sad to hear you are experiencing great discomfort. A word of caution about over the counter pain meds - acetaminophen in the "recommended" dosage to achieve relief is OK for two or three days but is hepatotoxic if taken for longer periods. Nausea and weakness (the latter due to hypoglycemia) are symptoms of toxicity.

I know you have many messages and may not get to this one but I hope it helps.

Thanks Ronnie. You radiate love. Keep it up. We are with you.

Ronni, remember we have a date.

Washington Square Park, NYC.

We'll finally meet.

We'll walk your old neighbourhood, you'll show me your favorite haunts,

I'll thank you for writing this beautiful blog.

We'll turn a corner, see a sign-

Ronni's Place.

Look who's here?

A voice from inside.

Look who's here!

All your internet friends greet you.

Take a seat,

Listen to stories,

Our stories mingled with yours.

A cat stretches out on an antique piano.

Someone cracks a joke.

We laugh,

We're home.

Internet hugs heading your way.

From your Montreal fan.

Since 2004.

Dear Ronni

I hope that it is possible to leave your blog up? Adele Geras did this with her husband's, titled Normblog.

If you can do the same we can return to you after you have gone and your wise words will live on.

Ronni, a big heartfelt thank you for your hard work and commitment to your blog for so long. I have been reading your posts for many years, since you were living in New York and looking for work. You have opened my eyes and mind to the pervasive ageism we all experience and given me the tools and language to do my small bit to challenge those who promote it. Your community of readers sharing their experiences of aging has been a wonderful source of knowledge, comfort and support.

This is about the best short personal essay I've ever read. I'll skip all the adjectives and corollary fawning.

Yes, you've had quite a productive life - but you seem to be having an equally productive life right now. And (this is important because we all worry about it with ourselves) your brain is 100%. How inspirational is that?

You've made a difference in the world. Your words have touched many here including me. I hope you continue to be up to writing and reading. I hope you'll have strength and peace. Thank you.

The worst thing is that I only found you by chance 5 or 6 months ago and now you say I’m going to lose you. There are so few people like you - those who speak the truth and from the heart. Or maybe I just haven’t met many. I am 77 and in reasonable health so I have no idea when my last journey will begin but I will certainly keep your blog to guide and encourage me on my way.
Thank you so much. Much love.

In JANUARY I had a near death experience related to health issues I have been dealing with for a few years and a recent surgery gone bad. As I sat in the bed of the Emergency Room, listening to the machines monitoring me, I was terrified. And since I am a solo ager, I knew I would die alone. Well, I did not die that night, but something about me did. I'm not afraid anymore. For some reason I have made my peace with death and will keep going as best as I can. Every day is different. I just worry about my beloved cat. I tell you this because you have helped me get to this point. Your honesty calms me, your sense of humor brings me pleasure and your courage and determination inspire me. Thank you for being you.

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