The Other Side Of Seventy.

Mike’s post of the same title inspired this post from me. Please read the comments from me and Mike’s response to it too.

Just a day after that I received this in a WhatsApp message from my sister.

Yesterday afternoon, I received news that my friend, philosopher and guide of many years HI died following a failed chemotherapy session for cancer.

Last week was news of the death of a classmate and dear friend.

On the 10th inst, Nick wrote about biographies and autobiographies. I commented there : “I am not and never was into bio/autobiographies. Somehow, I just could not get interested in that genre. My own kind of biography is perhaps my blog just like yours is yours.” Nick responded with “Yes, blogs are very much a form of biography. Not at all chronological, but revealing all sorts of personal details.”

Little did I know that I was about to read an autobiography, and what a one!

Later yesterday, I received a forward of a video of a Cardiologist talking about life and death and how to manage our lives where he referred to a book called When Breath Becomes Air. I got a Kindle version and started reading it and just could not put it down.

Most of my readers here are senior citizens and quite a few are avid readers. For these, I strongly recommend this book. The most poignant and elegant book that I have ever read about a person’s last days written by himself.

14 thoughts on “The Other Side Of Seventy.”

  1. I read that book while I was going through chemo and LOVED it. I keep a quote by Paul Kalanithi where I can see it as I work every day:

    “I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”

  2. Deepest sympathy on the loss of your friends. I lost 2 precious ones this year too.
    I read the book several years ago, I took some notes from it. Quite powerful. I also recommend Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking – quite extraordinary.


    1. As you may recollect, my own post loss experience after my wife had died while balancing a four year caregiving one for my father was made possible by a great deal of reading and one of the books that I had read then was The Year Of Magical Thinking. Now that you have reminded me of that, I have downloaded it again in my kindle for re-reading. Thank you.

  3. Impossible to predict how I would feel or react if I was given a terminal diagnosis. Would I be philosophical about it or would I feel hard-done-by and ask, why me? One thing I would do is draw up a bucket list, which for a start would include a sightseeing trip in a small plane.

    I also enjoyed The Year of Magical Thinking.

  4. How little I knew, when I wrote that original post, what the future, even the near future would bring.

    I am the oldest of six; four are half-siblings. I talked to their mother, Mary, yesterday. She was understandably distraught and was rather brusk with me. “You never call. We haven’t heard from you in a long time.” I had no excuse. I made no excuse. We talked for three-quarters of an hour. My 89-year-old dad couldn’t talk to me because his hearing aids weren’t working right for phone calls. She relayed some of the conversation, but mostly I talked to Mary.

    She’s 82, about eight years younger than my dad, and 12 years older than me. While she repeated herself quite a few times in the conversation, I think it’s mostly due to the forgetfulness that comes with aging.

    I hadn’t called in a long time. My dad and I haven’t ever been really close. Often our phone calls have been when times were bad.

    I had to call yesterday. Times are bad again. Mary was understandably distraught.

    Her oldest, my sister, Kathi, won’t be with us when I make it to the other side of seventy. Covid took her from us. She was 63.
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    1. That is the way the dice rolls after we reach the senior citizen status Mike. After writing the post, two more people that I knew have died one just 56 years old. On the other hand, another ex colleague of mine just celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday. Totally unpredictable things happen.

      1. I agree with that. It’s harder to accept, though, when people are dying because they and/or other people refuse to do the responsible thing and get the vaccine. The whole situation had already been bothering me before and this has just exacerbated that. Oh the whole, though, I am fine. I’m not brooding. I can generally accept loss without much problem. Even though Kathi and were not very close, I think that the lingering pandemic will bring her to mind often.
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