The Alex and Ronni Show – 30 October 2020
Election Day

Ronni Bennett, 1941-2020

Yesterday, at 6:28 PM local time, Veronica "Ronni" Bennett passed away. Ronni bravely documented the aging process, with her Last Great Gift being the documentation of her death. We spoke for sometime yesterday, and throughout our conversation, she circled back to you. It was very important to Ronni that this amazing community continue to have a place to come and discuss this amazing journey we are all in together. Your support and love was a gift that Ronni never could have imagined when she started this blog 16 years ago, and she was forever grateful for each and everyone of you.

We all will feel the pain of this loss for a long time to come, and although 30 years her junior and far from a writer, I will continue to make TGB accessible, and comments are always welcome. I will make many mistakes, I am sure, and please forgive my lack of HTML understanding, but I will get there.

I will leave you with knowing that she was ready. Just before she died, she said, "When you get here, it is really nice. I am not afraid." – Autumn

PancreaticCancerCenterImage

Comments

Even though I knew this was going to happen, I'm very sad -- but also grateful, for Ronni's willingness to share so honestly with us all these years, and for her last, uplifting words. All along, she's helped me to be less afraid. I'm really going to miss her and her friendship.

I shall treasure Ronni's last words. She was certainly a hard act to follow but I am so glad you have taken on the challenge. I didn't expect to feel so much emotion about the announcement, I do not know Ronni only through her amazing blog but clearly I had come to look forward to her writings about her situation and admired her so much. I'm so pleased that her passing was peaceful and serene.

".. until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world lies hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then may we find a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last." Although I am not religious, I find comfort in this passage. I will miss her and remember her every day I have left.

Rest in singularly well-earned peace, Ronni, Crabby no more.

She made better use of all of her nearly four score years here than almost anyone. Imagine being that productive that long! This blog in its continuing usefulness and rich variety is an enduring monument to Ronni's wit and wisdom and plain old hard work.

[One aside I know no way to put delicately, so sorry, folks: If plans she described as far back as Maine didn't change and you're a friend who agreed to dispose of the last of Ronni on and near Bleecker (and presumably Bedford), *please* choose wind conditions with extreme consideration for neighbors.]

Condolences, Alex. You and Ronni made charming foils for each other. To everyone here, thank you for giving Ronni a cause and a reason for keeping on. And of course a heap of thanks in advance to Autumn for what she's done already and for committing to keep tgb open-ended! A lot of us owe you bigtime. Finally, Peter Tibbles, please say we haven't heard the last from you after all ... ?
————————

Autumn
Thank you for letting us all know this very sad but expected news. I have shared Ronni's blog with many of my students in gerontology and social work. Her honesty and grit over the past few years, as she battled cancer, was so generous and inspiring.

It is lovely to know that you will continue her work here, and that this will be a place where we can remember and celebrate her life, as well as go onto new adventures, as I am sure she would have wanted.
Go gently
Ralph
(Melbourne, Australia)

Rest in peace Ronni. We have lost an important voice.

How could I, or any of you, who began following Ronni throughout the years know the crushing loss we would feel when reading the final "Ronni Bennett, 1941-2020".

She was part of my life every day for the last 7 years and now I keep returning to the page out of habit and keep feeling the sorrow.

She made us all feel part of her life and helped us respond with our own thoughts on subjects she felt important for us as we traveled through the end of life.

It will be a while before I can grasp her not being here.

I will miss my life guide.

Ronni's gift to us all was priceless....... I will miss you Ronni but glad your suffering is over.
May you rest in peace .

Everyone has already said it so well. I will miss her. Today is a good day to grieve.

Her brave Spirit will guide us forever.She is greatly admired and will be greatly missed.
Thank you,Autumn.

My deepest condolences Ronni Bennett you have you have given us all an education RIP.
Emily Tarr


What a shock to read the sad news. What a loss to us all. For twelve years I have been reading her blog and learned so much; now I am heartbroken. We are all grief-stricken. Although we all knew and feared this was perhaps imminent, the news still comes with devastating force. My heartfelt condolences to you Autumn, her family, friends and care givers. I am grateful to know that she was not afraid.

Thank you Ronni for sharing your wisdom. Au revoir kind lady.

You have left so many of us with heartbreak Ronni, 16 years of reading your honesty, compassion and truth was a daily gift in my life.

Thank you Autumn for writing so beautifully about her final flight.

We grieve her. Deeply.

XO
WWW

I rarely read the weekend version of the blog, so I've just now learned that Ronni is gone. I am not surprised; I saw her in recent weeks fading rapidly, but it is still painful to know she is no longer with us. Like others, I found myself in tears as I read first the news, and then the comments.

What I found most admirable about Ronni was her brutal honesty, not only about the world she saw, but about herself as well. She seemed to look at everything just as it was, not as she wished it to be. How bracing! How refreshing! And how brave! She was even able to maintain that attitude in the face of death itself.

I thank her for her years of devotion to this blog and the people who followed it. And I'm glad she was able to go in peace.

May restful peace be yours, sweet Ronni.
I miss you already.

Found this online https://fermentationwineblog.com/2018/12/a-tale-of-mothers-and-pinot-noir/ a lovely blog entry from Ronni's son about finding his mother.

Goodbye Ronni. You’ve reached the final reward for a life well lived.
Thank you,
Arleen from New Jersey

So sad!

All the words have been said and all that remains are the memories. We have lost a dear sole, a giver and an inspiration. Her posts made growing old. not great, but tolerable. I feel bad that she couldn't hold on until Election Day. But I am consoled by knowing she will be watching the results very close. Rest In Peace dear lady.

Wow, Ronni. And you voted too. Thank you for leaving us with 16 years of your old-age journey, which I will keep in my pocket, so to speak, for ongoing inspiration. As the Dalai Lama put it, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Enormous changes at the last minute, indeed.

Love you.
Anita in Cambridge, MA

Thank you, Autumn and dear friends of Ronni, for letting us share our sorrow and gratitude. And the consolation of knowing we can continue to gather, with Ronni smiling down from wherever.

Love you all,
Rayna

From my own grief, I have published my own inadequate appreciation of Ronni, my mentor in aging. I warned her I'd do this. I am sure I am not the only one of us doing it.

Such sad news.

With the Wednesday recording of the Alex and Ronni Show, who knew that Ronni’s death would come just 3 days later. I was not expecting her to go without one last post and formal goodbye — written with her typical grace and grit, intelligence, bravery, and humor that we’ve all been enriched by.

Not to put any pressure on you, Autumn, but Ronni will be missed by so many people. At the very least though, every laugh, everything learned, and each tear cast in response to an “Interesting Stuff” segment will be enough to remind us of her and what a remarkable person she was.

May her soul rest in eternal peace.

So sorry for your loss. And she didn't live long enough to see who was elected President. I know how much she was committed to politics.
My condolences.

Oh my goodness. I watched The Alex and Ronni show on Friday, chuckling along as I usually do, and just took it for granted that our dear Ronni would be talking about the election today. Thank you, dear Autumn, for letting us know, and for taking the helm.
I am blessed and honored to have 'known' Ronni on TGB and to have recommended the blog to so many.
Rest in Peace and Power, dear lady!
To say you will be missed is an understatement. xx

Juliet

Thank you for that last gift----to not be afraid when our time comes.

I too had hoped you would see T get voted out. But you did get to witness the massive national repudiation of all that he stands for; I trust that brought you peace.

Thank you for all you gave to us............Peace...............

Thank you Autumn for informing us about Ronni’s death. I will miss her but know she is finally at peace. I started following Ronni when she lived in NYC and treasure her memory.
What a talented guide she was.

I am devastated to read Ronni has left this earth, so unexpected to me at this point in time. I’m glad she is free of the physical pain to which she has been increasingly subjected and respect the time and choice she exercised. I will miss her but remember her always. My sympathies to you, Autumn, her newly found family members, her ex. Alex with whom she maintained a loving relationship, and all those friends in her regular life outside our virtual community here.

Our loss weighs heavy. I've been struggling to try to understand what it means to me, her recently discovered son. From Ronni I inherited the tendency to process things, feelings and ideas via writing. My deeper thoughts are here:

https://fermentationwineblog.com/2020/11/a-conversation-on-wine-writing-mothers-and-family/

But I would note specifically to this community, my regular talks with Ronni often centered around all of you...her people. You must know what your devotion to her meant for her. It was so significant. You are all meaningful to her.

And then there is Autumn. Autumn. I am so grateful for you, Autumn.

My condolences to all of you.

Tom...

Thank you Ronnie You've been an inspiration to me for the last ten years

I just read through everyone's messages. I couldn't do anything after I read through the notice of Ronni's death. I've commented only a few times, but have been reading this blog every day for many years. As all of you, I feel like I lost a good friend, and the depth of grief I feel for this friend whom I never met is not something I think I can convey to my in-person friends. So I join all of Ronni's online friends in mourning her loss and being so very grateful for her "presence" in my life. And thank you Autumn, for being there for her. I hope I have a friend like you when the time comes.

I did not use my computer all weekend and was so shocked and saddened to learn Ronni had died. She left her words to prepare and comfort us, thoughtful and educating us even at the end.
May her memory be for a blessing. Thank you Autumn for being such a good friend to her. Please do carry on. We wish you well.

Thank you Autumn. I first found Ronni's blog while she was living in my state, Maine. I recall her words about winter snow, her cat and adjusting to Maine. Her passing leaves a void. Condolences to her son and family, I hope they were able to connect one more time before her passing. Much of the personal Ronnie came out over the years. Her ex, Alex. Reconnecting with her son given up for adoption. Also a grandchild. I admired her decision to take charge of her own time to say goodbye privided by her State's laws if indeed she did. I will miss this one of a kind gal, named Ronni.

Thank you, Ronni< for sharing your journey with us. I will miss you

I join in extending my deep condolences to Ronni's loved ones. I too was caught off guard with her death and I am saddened to know she is no longer on this earth. Thank you Autumn for being there to support dear Ronni and for being here to support us, her people. Thank you Aimee for all you did to help ease her journey and thank you Tom for sharing your thoughts with us. Best to all of you and to Alex. And Ronni, where ever you are out there, thank you for sharing your very essence with us in this blog.

Go, and Rest In Peace, Ronni. My life was enriched from the reading of your wonderful blog. I’ll miss you.

I knew this was coming but always hoped "not yet". I only knew her through this blog, yet Ronni gave me so much, hope, courage, information, those engaging videos with her ex-husband and so much more. Our warrior princess can rest now.

Ronni Bennett was special! She gets a gold star for sharing what aging with a "predicament" is all about. Plus many other topics that TGB bloggers enjoyed.

Autumn, Thank you .


I'm sad for all of us who loved her and her work on the blog. "When you get here, it is really nice. I am not afraid." will be my mantra going forward.

I have known Ronni since we commuted together 2002-2004.
We’ve lived on opposite sides of the pond since I left the USA in late 2004 but have maintained a friendship that has meant the world to me (we were also 30yrs different in age...).

We’ve shared some amazing interactions on email these past few months and I’ve known this was coming all year.... but my heart still breaks on reading your post Autumn. Thank you for being there for Ronni. Thank you for being there for those of us that waited on this news... My heart also breaks for you - losing her in your 24/7 yet being her support in both the ‘losing’ and the ‘lost’.
Big hugs to you Autumn.

Vail Ronni. I know I told you this but I say it again: Thank you for the richness your friendship brought me. I will miss you for a long long time.

R.I.P., Ronni. Thank you for your final words and all that came before.
Love, Pat M. (Michigan)

This is sad news. I was so hoping Ronni would get to see the election results. Ronni's voice will certainly be missed. What a wonderful person!

I found Ronni's blog many years ago when she wrote about her journey with her own Mother's death. I was so glad to find someone of like mind who could express herself so well. I already miss her posts. Autumn, were you with her when she died? Did she use the drugs that she had wisely chosen to have on hand?

Noble life. Noble death.

Joyce Wadler left a comment. Expect some sort of Ronni Bennett appreciation from her (or at least I hope so).

And Rick Moody will likewise put together an appreciation in his Human Values in Aging newsletter:

https://www.institute4learning.com/2012/08/07/subscribe-to-aarps-free-newsletter-human-values-in-aging/

No doubt there will be more.

And Autumn - how about a bio of you. Tell us about how you met Ronni.

My heartfelt wishes go out to Ronni's son, daughter in law and beloved grandson, and to Alex. She must leave such a hole in your lives. May love and memories help you heal.

What good is a belated goodbye? (I just got of hospital and checked my email.)

I did tell her that I wished we had been neighbors.

My throat aches.

Autumn: Thanks for holding the center.

Jack Handley

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and words. Rest in peace.

Although we knew this was going to be the outcome of her cancer. It is still a sad shock to realize she is not here with us. I am heartbroken.

Farewell, Ronni. I was fortunate enough to work with you 30 years ago and to reconnect with you three years ago. You lived a good and worthwhile life.

I am late to learn of her passing and am startled, because I wasn't ready. Although, I am quite certain that I never would be ready. Thank you, Autumn, for sharing her final words, likely her greatest gift to each of us. And, thank you, Autumn, for all that you are doing here now. I must go now, as my tears are making it hard to see my words. There will long be a hole in my life online.

Had missed reading this blog for a week or so..and here is the notice I was so dreading. (Was always hoping that she would be the first to defeat her dreaded Cancer enemy, as she seemed so strong and wise.) To her family I extend my deepest sympathies. To her followers, like myself, also. She will always be remembered as the good woman she was. I pray she still can watch over all of us and approve of what we are all doing...Ronni you will be so missed.

🙏🏻❤️ Condolences to all. Thank you, Autumn. ❤️

Sad day for all of us who were fortunate to call Ronni "friend". Part of my daily routine has changed.

Thank you, Autumn.

I will miss her. I appreciated her effort, her writing, her breadth of interest, and her honesty. I'm sorry she is gone. Peace be upon her.

So sorry to hear of Ronnie's passing. I've been a loyal reader of Times Goes By for at least ten years. She has hugely enriched my experience of the challenges and rewards of aging. How very much she will be missed.

I got to know Ronni through the wonderful photos and stories she posted on a now long gone site called Fotolog, where she took us building by building down Bleeker Street in her beloved Greenwich VIllage. It was the combination of picture and story that grabbed me and we started corresponding then. Since then I've done several guest posts for her and she reciprocated on my blog when I was moving house.

We never managed to meet in person, but I still feel I knew her. Her writing was always her. No pretensions, 'this is me and take me as I am' was the message.

Following her diagnosis with cancer she took us with brutal honesty through what it means to have a terminal illness. That takes clear eyed courage which Ronni had by the bucket load. I just hope that when my time comes I face it as well as she did.

I was on the point of sending her a snippet I found about aging, which I often did. Sadly she won't read this one, but I think she would have appreciated it, so here it is, from Rolling Stone, Keith Richard.

Nobody wants to get old, but they don't want to die young either. You just have to keep following that path.

We'll miss you Ronni. Thanks for everything.

Ian

Thank you so much Ronni, you helped me through old aging sadness, got me to old age cheerfulness and optimism.
love o/

I met Ronni through her online video chats with her ex, Alex. Their last chat seemed to be a goodbye.

She was an inspiration to me by being herself, speaking her mind. She will be truly missed.

Ronnie spoiled me. When I read that she had died, I thought I must have missed one of her blogs. Ronnie always explained the process of aging, illness, and dying with such detail, honesty, and insight. I imagined hearing her say how she knew it was time. How she gathered her team. What they all said and did. Even what she found on the other side. Who greeted her. I know it's unrealistic of me to expect this, but I wished her to be our guide forever. Thank you for your candor and for leaving us still to contemplate the mysteries of life and death.

Alex Trebek echoed many things Ronni told us—with two exceptions: Ronni survived much longer, bless he heart; and she was not conventionally religious.

"Trebek announced his diagnosis to the public in March 2019, and was honored to celebrate the one year survival milestone this year—one that only 18% of patients reach. 'I’d be lying if I said that the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days, but a lot of not-so-good days,' he said in an update. 'I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will,' he said. 'There were moments of great pain. Days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned, and sudden massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on.'

"He continued, '[But] it would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration, and a cheerleader of sorts of the value of living and hope. And it would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf.'”

https://www.menshealth.com/trending-news/a34633488/jeopardy-alex-trebek-final-day-before-death/?utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=socialflowTWMH&utm_source=twitter

I so miss Ronni.

I had to come searching for Ronni. " Time Goes by" has become, over the years, a lovely rest and reflection stop over the last 15 years. She has been on my mind a lot this last few weeks and I went looking this morning to find out why. My heart is saddened even though I knew there would come this day...
Ronni is, was, and remains a gift to us all through her legacy of brilliant research, truth telling and observation. I will always be thankful for her influence and inspiration in my life through this magical, funny business called the internet with its gift of strange interface of conversation opportunities in blogging. Thank you, Ronni. Long may you soar with the stars of which you are, clearly, given to us as; ...stars that you are at one with now.

A close male friend of mine died this year also.
I wrote this for him, and reading about Ronnie I thought this might be appropriate for her.

Silence, The Way of the Wise

I stood watch during your illness.
Forbidden from your bedside, I could only watch.
I saw you reach out to me with your eyes, calling me by name.
I responded. From afar.
Sequestered. In a bed alone. Blankets snug about you in a cold room where children’s voices at play could filter in.
Without people. No one holding your hand while angels watched over you, ministering to your priceless spirit.
Alone and silent.
Letting go.
The way of the wise.

RIP, Ronni. Miss your words. Still visiting daily hoping...

Good bye, Ronni. What an unexpected friendship that has meant so much to me over the years! Thank you so much for everything you taught me, for hosting me on my occasional visits, for the amazing conversations, the advice regarding my own elderly parents, and teaching me about life. I will miss you so much and think about you often!

Rick Moody, formerly the Director of Academic Affairs at AARP and much more through the years, sends out a superb, powerful, and profound newsletter every month via email: Values in Aging. It has over 10,000 subscribers and is free:

Information: This electronic newsletter, edited by Harry (Rick) Moody, is published by the of Fielding Graduate University. The Newsletter contains items of interest about humanistic gerontology; it does not publish original writing but is limited to brief and timely announcements. To submit items of interest or request subscription changes, contact: hrmoody (at) yahoo.com

December's newsletter leads off with a tribute to Ronni (and includes a photo of her):

TIME GOES BY

That is the name of the wonderful blog edited for 16 years by the incomparable Ronni Bennett. Alas, Ronni died, age 79, the day my newsletter went out, exactly one month ago. Ronni was an amazing resource for us all through her blog “Times Goes By,” which sought to tell the truth about aging. In academic gerontology (my career) you never find out much about what it’s really like to grow old. Ronni told us what we need to know.

But what does it mean that “time goes by?” There’s a question worth pondering. Even the physicists admit they don’t understand time, the “fourth dimension.” See “What Is Time? One Physicist Hunts for the Ultimate Theory” at: https://www.wired.com/2010/02/what-is-time/

As St. Augustine put it, he knows what time is when no one asks him. But when he is asked, he does not know (Confessions, XI.xiv.17)

Other insights:

“I used to dread getting older because I thought I would not be able to do all the things I wanted to do, but now that I am older, I find that I don’t want to do them.” (Lady Nancy Astor)

“I learned that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back—that the essence of life is to go forward. Life really is a One Way Street.” (Agatha Christie)

“We live life forward but understand it backwards.” (Soren Kierkegaard)

“The older one gets, the more one feels that the present must be enjoyed; it is a precious gift, comparable to a state of grace.” (Marie Curie)

For more about Ronni Bennet, her life and contributions, see this account from her son: https://bit.ly/3fz6DFR

For the Time Goes By blog, visit: https://www.timegoesby.net/

Dear Autumn and the TGB Community
I just reread all the condolence posts to be with you all of you in community.
I did feel prepared for Ronni's death. She had been telling us in her own way to get ready.
I'm so appreciative to hear her last words and know she had a good death. Thank you Autumn for letting us know.
Ronni inspired a wonderful community and I would so regret losing all the aggregated wisdom that flows from one post to the next.
I thought Ronni said the blog would continue and Autumn would take charge of it.
It's a big commitment but I'm sure several of us could help.
Any news on this front ?
Thank you. Best to everyone.
Lynn

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