Saturday, June 30, 2018

Light on Aging and Dying: Book Review

2nd Edition Published January 15, 1998.
For the last six years, I've been gathering quotes about aging. However, I just discovered this treasury of quotes by Helen Nearing.

To whet your appetite, here is the quote that manages to convey a lot of insight in a few short words:
"Let life ripen and then let it fall." Lao Tzu
Nearing (b. 1904) and her husband, Scott Nearing (b. 1883), were New York intellectuals who left the city to live in rural Vermont.

He was a well-known political philosopher and radical. Together they ran a large property and wrote books for city-suburban dwellers about the value of returning to a rural life.

Scott was a little more than 20 years Helen's senior, so even though he lived until he was 100 years old, Helen lived another 12 years as a widow.

Already a voracious reader and contemplative by nature, these years without Scott gave Helen Nearing more opportunity to meditate on the interplay between aging, wisdom, spirituality, and death.

As a gerontologist, I feel very strongly that aging be depicted as a vibrant era of life: an age of growth and social engagement. Nevertheless, older adults (in industrialized nations) do encounter death of their partners and peers and do contemplate their own deaths with more depth than people of any other age group.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

When Their World Stops: Book Review

2nd Edition Published March 27, 2018.
Anne-Marie Lockmyer received a phone call that stopped her world. Her husband of 26 years (less four days) lost his life due to a brain aneurysm.

Lockmyer's life changed immediately.

Drawing on her own experience, her research, and the experience of many others grieving the loss of a loved one, Lockmyer wrote this 96-page guide for people who want to offer comfort and support.

When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to TRULY Helping Anyone in Grief  is filled with very specific, concrete suggestions on how to offer help to the bereft. 

Many other books on grief focus on the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional dimensions of suffering loss. Yes, these realms do demand attention.  I tend to err on the side of the metaphysical.

However, Lockmyer focuses on more tangible responses to supporting a bereft person: