ELDER MUSIC: 1956 Yet Again
The Face of Time

Let's You and Me Have a Bit of a Chat Today

It didn't start out this way 16 years ago, but it has been a good, long while now since this blog became a more collaborative effort between you, dear readers, and me than just one woman's scribblings.

You supplied a bunch of terrific suggestions last week on the story, Age Friendly Adaptations, Adjustments and Workarounds and you leave plenty of other smart observations and thoughts that continue to help me in what I have been calling my predicament.

You also continue to embarrass me with lovely comments about how brave I am, how well I am handling this, how much I have helped you or that you have learned from me, as I write about moving forward toward my death.

For certain, I am no expert on anything. My knowledge after nearly 80 years on Earth is as wide as a prairie and shallow as a desert ditch. A little of this and that. No more.

However, after so long at it now, you have convinced me that I am providing something of value to a good many of you. Stuff that you print out and save in various ways and pass on to others. I take pride in that.

You are right, I think, that I have a good deal of common sense and an ability to accommodate with a measure of equanimity the slings and arrows thrown my way. I seem to have been born not a “why me?” person, but a “why not me?” person. And aren't I lucky for that. It saves a lot of grief and self-pity.

Before I get to where I intend to be going with this essay, let me take one little detour.

It was only a couple of weeks ago, I think, I that said in a housekeeping post that I am tired a lot now and I don't have the energy to answer all email that comes my way.

If I did not say so directly, let me do so now: that was meant to tell you to stop sending so much. There are thousands of you and one of me and it doesn't matter that you tell me not to answer. When I receive a nice email or one with a good idea for Saturday's Interesting Stuff, I feel the obligation of a thank you, and I feel guilty if I skip it.

Yes, that's on me, not you, but there is a reason I mentioned the word “collaboration” at top of this post and I need you to step up a little.

Two or three mornings ago, I opened my email inbox to 28 (!) reader emails. In fact, one reader had sent nine of them. A few others sent two or three and then there were the singletons. I was defeated.

Most had attached an MP4 video file, almost all of which never play correctly and I am announcing now that I officially will never try to open one again.

Plus, I've been riding the internet video horse-y every day since about 1992. Except on the rare occasion it is something brand new, only twice a week or so does someone send a video I haven't seen before.

So, unless you can send me a link to an established, online video service like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter etc., that allows re-posting, then don't. I don't have a lot time left for foolin' around with poor technology.

Back to my original intent:

Just about every philosopher and other important thinker throughout history has observed of the human condition that we are born, we live and we die. It is as simple as that.

Two children's books I noted here a few weeks ago made that point and I unexpectedly run across it regularly enough that I have come to believe the universe is banging away at me with something I need to pay attention to, to practice:

We are born, we live, we die.

Just Saturday, having a lie-down in mid-afternoon, the universe reached out to me in that regard again.

I tuned in the movie Charlotte's Web - the good one from 2006 – which I had never seen and had not read in book form for at least half a century. And there at the end, Charlotte the spider says to Wilbur the pig:

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die.”

Believe that quotation now as from me to you.

You who read here regularly know that I have in my possession the end-of-life drugs Oregon allows terminally ill patients to use to leave this world on their own terms.

But let me be clear. I am not suicidal. Although each day becomes a little harder to live now, I continue to choose life because there are still good days and – as far as I can tell, even with all the philosophers', thinkers', Freddy the leaf's and spiders' reminders - to live is the imperative.

What I would ask of you is this: collaborate with me. Let us help each other. Take what you find valuable here and pass it on. There are not a lot of places in our lives where we can talk as openly as we do here about this end-of-life stuff, and so many other people are frightened to do so. Or even to hear.

So collect it, pass it on, add to it from what others say here, expand on it, explain, show us your strengths and your fears, be true and be real.

Don't preach. Don't tell people how to do it. Just show one another what it is like for you and let them decide. But don't let end-of-life be a secret. We can help each other find our way.

Comments

Yes! You are my friend and I have learned much from you and this community. I will grieve for you when you leave. In the meantime I'll be with you here.

So straightforward. I like that.
Love, Faith

Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes.

Beautiful.

I will. Thank you!

Yep! Thank you Ronni!

I'm in a Facebook group that (among other things) regularly post various memes illustrating the same sentiment: "We are all just walking each other home". Thinking of that now with your wonderful words.

Decades ago we lived in the DC area wherein our neighbor was a Merck and Dome Research Scientist. We were in our 40s and I asked him about these three or four drugs we were taking and their potential, long-term adverse affects.

He said, "Jim, you gotta die of something!"

"Better living through Chemistry", I responded.

Those thoughts have stuck with me all these years since.

Ronni, we have had brief conversations about and why you should continue your gift of giving. Lately, you have expressed an extraordinary gift of deep expression. There has been of late a clarity, a lucid awareness, and a sincerity about what is going on inside and out.

Continue your gift as long as those nimble fingers can transfer your inner thoughts to all of us.

Godspeed, Ronni, on your journey. We remain steadfast.

All your good friends.

Yes, we can. As someone with a "no cure" debilitating disease, I advocate for humane end of life decisions. These decisions should not be up to anyone but the individual who is existing in this cruel limbo, pain or not. Current law (in the states who have had the wisdom to pass the legislation) dictates a 6-month fatal diagnosis. Such a diagnosis is not available to me and many others. Yes, Ronnie, I will urge all I can to be non-judgmental in allowing others to make choices, to discuss end-of-life decisions with family so they are comfortable in carrying out your wishes - no matter how difficult, and yes, show and tell others by my example. I have taken much from what is written in Time Goes BY. Thank you so much. Peace.

I promise to give it a good try! And will take to heart the "Just show one another what it's like for you and let them decide." That's an art.............at least for some of us who get a bit carried away. "Don't preach." Amen to that too!
Isn't it funny/strange..........we didn't want to leave our mother's womb, we got pushed out literally kicking and screaming............then we got to love, or at least be so attached to life here that the next transition is often approached with great
fear and resistance. The grown up version of the baby. So it goes.
Thank you for another good idea.

You have me in tears again because today’s blog contains some real wisdom.
I was feeling weirded out today because I fell during my morning walk for the third time in a couple of weeks, not tripping, boom I’m face down on the ground. So I know something is going wrong and maybe it is a big something.
We’re born, we live a little, we die. That about sums it up. We have a short time on this planet and you are making the most of it. You’ve created an amazing living web, a community of wisdom seekers. So glad you are still with us and giving us so much to think about.

I am fortunate to have a small group of close friends who are open about their choices. None of us tell the others how to live, and only give advice when it is asked for. I often share your thoughts and ideas with them either collectively or singly.
Do what you are able, dear lady, and don’t sweat the small stuff (oops! Is that advice?)

Thanks, Ronni, for everything and every word. I agree with Pilgrim.

Thinking that I hear your voice as you write, and how blessed we are to have the talks you do with Alex the EX. and how sure as shooting we are all on our own journey as we are with you and yours. A few friends recently have lost a spouse, and if this helps some, recommending a book, by Sheila Weinstein, "Moving to the Center of the Bed, The artful creation of a Life alone" Some sage advice as we each have our own set of situations, but the common thread is that living... and dying whenever, they happen, bring on other life changing events for those who share your journey/path. I like to read up and study things ahead of time, Lifelong Learning, and as we are reading about choices, good to know the stuff you are sharing with us Ronni. Shavua Tov, means have a good week.

I feel you are preparing us for a final goodbye which greatly saddens me and I wish it were not so. It is your life and your wisdom has enhanced ours. I sincerely hope that your good days last for many months to come. Thank you for your thoughtful advice which always enriches my thinking.

In my opinion, you are answering so well the question, "What is being asked of me in this day?"

It seems to me you are making such tremendous growth in this period of your life.

We Croak is an app(Apple Store) that reminds us all that we are doing to die. Wonderful quotes.

'Ronni's Web'. Woven with dedication, curiosity, concern and love. We have heeded your web's Siren's Song of common sense and honesty. When you and your web are no longer, we shall grieve. Then we, buoyed by what we have learned from you, shall live a little. And then we shall die. Once again you have signaled a 'turn'. May your fate be deserving of you, Ronni.

"Hear! Hear!" is what I thought when I was reading your post. Thank you once again for focusing our attention on the wisdom of those words: We are born, we live a little while, we die.

I humbly accept the gift of accompanying you on your last orbit around the seasons with wonder, delight and heartfelt gratitude.

While doing the vacuuming today, I was pondering Charlotte's (and your) words, "We're born, we live a little while, we die.” Given that we have just that little while, why is it that we humans, to a great degree, have done so poorly with it. Why can't we revel more on a daily basis in the life we have been gifted. We would be kinder. We don't even do as well as the so-called "lower" animals in that regard. Maybe because we're so much younger--the "younger brothers" as the native americans say. It makes me think of that photograph "The Pale Blue Dot" and Carl Sagan's text which accompanies it--how we don't really appreciate how beautiful and vulnerable we ( planet Earth) are out there in space--we focus on power, greed, wars--and miss our opportunity to be glad for what we have. It's a matter of perspective.

Thank you, Ronni, for preparing us so well for your departure and in the process helping us to prepare for ours.

I feel that in the past few weeks you have been preparing us for your final exit. That makes me sad, as this is the one blog out of the many thousands out there that I read faithfully. I wish someone else could just walk in, pick up the baton you've laid down and carry on.

I will miss you and the many interesting discussions we've all had.

Thank you, Martha, for your book recommendation. Having *very* recently lost my spouse, I just this moment ordered a used copy of that book. And, of course, thank you, dear Ronni, for sharing your journey with us so openly and honestly! We love you dearly, even though most of us have never met you in person, and we will grieve you if you die before we do!

Again, I do not have much to add. If TGB disappears before I do, I will sincerely and deeply miss it--and its eloquent author.

We're born, we live for a while, we die. . .simple and true. It is what it is--and was--long before the would-be Emperor of tRumpystan so callously said those words about those who died from COVID-19.

This post is so beautiful, and your advice at the end of the post, to share, to pass it along.

Always THANK YOU. I have learned so much about myself through you and your followers (yes we are) and it has made a huge difference to how I view my life now at 76 and my life in the future.
Yes, THANK YOU.

Beautifully written. Thank you.

Ronni, all I can say is that I am, yes, glad, as well as honored, to walk a few steps with you during this final road. The older I get, the more I appreciate what Charlotte said. Some of us (that would be me!) spend so much time trying to do something that will be our "legacy." Is it big enough? Important? Does it fulfill our "promise"? Now I think that for me, what makes the difference is how I have lived a little, not whether or how long anyone remembers me afterwards. Very freeing, that realization. Makes today more important, but with the realization that the ripples of what we do today fan out further than we can ever see.
Your ripples are bringing insight and empathy further than you may know. Thanks for sharing the road.

Just recently I have realized how short a time is 100 years. Never thought that when younger, but now with over two thirds of my life lived (should I even live to be 100), I see what a short amount of time it really is. We don't get a lot of time to do amazing things, so, we should each day attempt something amazing. Like sending a card to a friend. Reading a story to a child. Baking cookies. Drinking a glass of really good wine (or water), and appreciating every drop. Just sitting out under the trees in my backyard is now such a pleasure. The pandemic lockdown has given me a whole different view of my life.

One amazing thing I did today was come by here and read your post. Thanks.

I expect you will not be surprised to read that about 3 years ago I started a collection of snippets of your writing which I called "Ronni's wisdom." It's idiosyncratic, just what struck me. I'm still adding to it ... :-) I am grateful for your life. Can one say that? I just did.

Ronni, thank you for yet another of your "beautiful weaving of words".....

Both my father and my mother and I talked often and openly about death. Each had a quote, a gift before departing, that they shared about life and death. Both quotes that I honor still.

My father:
"I'm heading into the lions' den now. I won't be returning but what adventure awaits me!"

My mother:
"Upon death each grave marker bears two dates: Birth and death. But make no mistake, what really MATTERS is the hyphen, what you did in those years of your life between birth and death! That tiny line, short like life itself, is the real story of the name above.

Ronni, in your 'hyphen' you have helped, educated, comforted, expanded thinking, and given laughter to so many on endless topics. And I wish you great ADVENTURE in what awaits.

With deep fondness and appreciation,
Faye

I am weeping. All the feels. You, our dearest friend, have enriched my life. And I’ve never been able to physically hug you and now I never will. I can’t help but be sad, so no brave happy face from me.

Damn you, Universe.

I use to think I made the world a little better. Now, I'm not so sure. We're born, we live, we die. It goes so fast. I wish I could have the last 20 years back. But, here I am and here we are. I still don't remember how I found your blog. It was recommended by another blog. I will keep your RSS feed up after you're gone. One day, my home page provider will tell me that your website has not been updated in months. Eventually, I will delete it like the cell phone numbers and email addresses of aquaintances and family members who have passed. We're born, we live, we die. And, so it is.

Once again coming late to today's post allows me to read all these good comments. It's all been said, so I'll just say that I am glad that where I thought for a moment today's post was going was not where it ended up. When you know the shoe is going to drop eventually but you really don't want to hear it is how I was feeling at first. I'm glad this was not the day for that shoe. I cast my early vote in IL today and I'm really feeling pretty positive about the outcome of this election. I'll be very happy if it's as good as I'm hoping, and if you are still here to be a part of the celebration.

I can’t even think straight to write the proper words for how steadily supportive you have been to your readers.

This notion, this fantasy of you owning a little cafe in NYC remains with me. I picture your cat Ollie in the window- your friends sitting at tables, chatting, listening to stories about each other’s lives.

A small stage, poetry, music.

A sharing, learning, creative energy all around.

Oh yeah, some Montréal poutine hot off a plane.

Ronni at the centre of it all.

Ronni, you rock.

Your always fan from Montréal.

I add my thanks also
Another "always fan"... from France !

Ronni-

I hope you understand that you are doing us a great service if not an honor. I consider it a privilege to be allowed to accompany someone as they die. I have done it twice - once when my sister died very quickly from cancer (2012) and my mother-in-law from old age (2017 when she was 94).

The difference for me is that you are able and willing to discuss it - to share the experience. You're also unique due to the MAID decision. Few of us will ever be involved in accompanying someone in this situation. (In neither of my cases was anything discussed -just observed without knowing how it felt. My sister went into a coma several days before and mom lost her voice several months prior so there was no possibility in either case.)

I hope this does not sound cold, uncaring. and clinical. My feelings are anything but this. I want you to understand how much I appreciate and value that you are letting us walk this journey with you. To both learn from and support you.

I am sad to see you go. I have enjoyed your blog for several years and found it both helpful and insightful as I wander my path of retirement and aging.

Thank you.

Bob

Your thought provoking daily posts and occasional feisty rants start my day and I will feel a loss when they're no longer waiting for me in my inbox. Today's sounds like a gentle, caring "goodbye" but selfishly I hope not.
I like to imagine a lovely, satisfied smile on your face as you realize that the White House imposter has at last been unceremoniously ejected from the premises.

That's it.

Ronnie. So thankful to have found your Blog. Thankyou muchly.

I do pass it on, Ronni. And it is appreciated.
Thank you.

What a blessing it has been to read your thoughts dear Ronnie!
May you be blessed in turn. You have given so much to so many. Life is a continuous circle, much bigger than what we can envision. LIFE goes on.
♥️

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