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The Mortality Club

It's Good that We Die

Death is a scary thing to contemplate. Images of the grim reaper are designed to terrify, not to console. It is no wonder that so many horror movies include dark cemeteries as the place where terrible things happen to good people. A belief in Heaven, or life everlasting helps mitigate against the terror, but rarely alleviates it entirely. And yet, it is good that we die.

If death were not the consequence of failing to take care of our bodies, we would become slothful and unhealthy, and spend all of eternity feeling poorly. We would be like a sick, old person condemned living in a state of decay forever. Consider T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land. The epigraph refers to the story of Sybil. She requested and was granted eternal life. Unfortunately, she forgot to ask that she be allowed to remain forever young. She aged and became decrepit. Not knowing what else to do with her, the townsfolk put her in a basket and hung her over the town square. For a thousand years, they listened to her moan, “Let me die. Please let me die.” And yet they could do nothing to help her.  Read More 
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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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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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