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The Mortality Club

The Hourglass: Life as an Aging Mortal Receives a 4.5 stars review

SELF PUBLISHING REVIEW (SPR) AWARDS 4.5 STARS
"The Hourglass: Life as an Aging Mortal by Pamela Cuming is an insightful book about a topic no human being can escape. Cuming’s book addresses how to live with the knowledge that one will eventually die. But it isn’t only about a person’s impending doom. She discusses at length how toview the aging process and how to accept it as part of life.

The topics in this book aren’t easy to confront, no matter what stage of life the reader is in. Almost every person on the planet has lost a person they loved or has encountered insurmountable grief when someone they know is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Yet many people go to great lengths to avoid any discussion of death, illness, or aging. Most people can’t handle thinking about it, let alone talking about it, even though it happens to every single person on the planet sooner or later.

Cuming’s approach to the subject matter makes it easier for the reader to digest the information. She shares her personal experiences and stories from her friends and acquaintances. This style makes it easier to see the true subject, the human being, and not just the outcome: death. Read More 
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GROWING OLD: A CURSE OR A GIFT?

Mindsets toward Aging and Mortality
At today’s meeting of the Mortality Club, I would like to talk about the different attitudes or mindsets we have about growing old. Some of us, the Stargazers, would prefer to deny that they are aging. They try to surround themselves with younger people. When they look in the miror, they see their younger selves.

Confident of their own capabilities, Celebrants manifest a persistent “can do” attitudeThey are energized people who embrace each day enthusiastically. Adept at finding the silver lining in even the darkest cloud, Celebrants remain optimistic even in the face of aging. The celebrate cataract surgery because it frees us from the need to wear glasses. They call their pacemaker their buddy, and focus on it as a welcome life-saving device.

The hallmark of the Warrior is courage, or tenacity in the face of fear, and strength in the face of pain. Warriors feel empowered, in control and confident, and ready for battle. They are convinced that they will be able to meet the challenges and overcome the obstacles that are on the horizon. That includes aging. They exercise like crazy and adhere to stict diets in order to force their aging bodies to perform like they did when they were younger.

Like shipwreck survivors, Castaways expect to be thrown about or even battered by life. Aware that nature can be punishing and that every life ends in death, they anticipate misfortune. Castaways accept Buddha’s first noble truth, “Life is suffering.” They understand that aging is a curse against which they have no antidotes. They console themselves with the reminder that it is better than the alternative––dying.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could look at getting old through the lens of the Sage? Sages manage to transcend the boundaries of their own ego, experiencing a sense of being connected to all other living things. Sages are resilient, and able to bounce back each time they receive disturbing news. Because of their realism, they know when it is time to surrender. Blending the best characteristis of the other mindsets, the Sage regards getting old as a gift rather than as a curse. Read More 
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BLUE INK WEIGHS IN ON THE HOURGLASS

Blue Ink Review May, 2016
Written in an attention grabbing narrative style, The Hourglass: Life as an Aging Mortal is the culmination of Cuming’s unwitting journey to face and accept death’s inevitability.

In The Hourglass, 71-year-old Cuming shares a wealth of stories about friends, family members and acquaintances: the 90-year-old “queen” — a diva who demanded more and more as she aged; Cuming’s personal struggle to support her mother while maintaining her marriage, her writing and her sanity; close friends determined to die with dignity.

She also offers well researched advice on avoiding negativity, understanding doctors and their widely diverse bedside manners, and feeling healthier as seniors.

Overall, The Hourglass is an enlightening, sometimes even buoying, read that sheds light on a topic many of us deny or ignore. As the author reminds us when health problems arise and her daughter insists she move closer, even in death—especially in
death—it is vital to respect our differences: “For my life to be meaningful, I have to write my own story as I want it to be told.” Read More 
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Launching the virtual Mortality Club.

In the final chapter of The Hourglass: Life as an Aging Mortal, I introduced the Mortality Club. With this post, I hope to launch the club as a place where people can come together in a virtual world to talk about aging and about dying. Writing about aging and mortality has been a healthy and life-affirming experience for me. I believe talking with others about the experience of being mortal can have a similarly beneficial effect. I agree with the mythologist Joseph Campbell who said, “The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life's joy. One can experience unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life but as an aspect of life.”

I envision our virtual meetings as open and honest conversations about our fears, our hopes, our struggles, our wins and our losses, and the ways we cope as we grow older and death draws nearer. I'll begin by introducing myself. Read More 
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