28 04, 2017

Do not Go Gentle Into That Good Night…

April 28th, 2017|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Op-Ed|

Aging and dying – cursed though these two may be – are the primary physiological behaviors we share with all lifeforms: those that swim in the oceans, walk on land and exist in the vacuum of space. If you live, you will surely age and die. I get that. For more than two decades, no [...]

25 04, 2017

Hell No, We Won’t Go

April 25th, 2017|Blog, Featured|

It seems incongruous that this five-syllable rallying cry could bring the American military-industrial complex to its knees. Yet,  that’s precisely what happened. After the Tet Offensive in Jan. 1968, horrified Americans watched as General Westmoreland delivered the first body counts of the Vietnam War on the evening news. But President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs [...]

15 03, 2017

Cosmic Celebration

March 15th, 2017|Blog|

About twenty years ago I wrote the following for a friend of mine on the celebration of his daughter's first birthday. Now, every year  on her birthday, they read the card together. Welcome to a single star system on the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the remarkable planet [...]

1 03, 2017

Dementia Contagion (“Second-Hand” Dementia)

March 1st, 2017|Ambient Despair, Assisted Living, Blog, Op-Ed|

Clinical depression is a monster like no other. Today, on my 5,502nd consecutive day (15.07 years) of assisted living in three separate communities I collectively call home, I split a Reuben with Beth, a fellow resident trying to make sense of the world around her. But making sense becomes more difficult every day for Beth [...]

19 11, 2016

The Accidental Advocate

November 19th, 2016|Blog|

I never set out to be an activist. It was never offered as a life option on a social profile or a check-box in a divine master plan. Yet, there I was -- deboarding a flight at Dulles International from New York and hailing a cab to the Pentagon for a meeting with the Adjutant [...]

9 10, 2016

You Can’t Understand . . .

October 9th, 2016|Blog|

You can't understand the PROFUNDITY OF DYING until you've shared the experience of watching life slip away from you and/or a fellow human being. You can't imagine the UNIQUE LONELINESS that comes from losing a spouse until, at bedtime, you lay down without them for the first time in 45 years. You have no idea [...]

21 09, 2016

JC and Me

September 21st, 2016|Blog|

It’s the kind of summer night that magnolias compete with the smell of ball park hotdogs and the high-pitched drone of cicadas is everywhere. After nine innings of softball, I decide to cut through the park on the walk home. The shortcut not only allows me to stop at the Tastee Freeze, but also knocks [...]

21 09, 2016

Soul Mate

September 21st, 2016|Blog|

I first hear about "The Blessed One" as a graduate student. "A holy man from India," was how Felix -- fellow student and best friend at MIT -- first described the 60-something engineer."He's got crazy wisdom. You'll love him." I agree to meet the two of them for lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Harvard [...]

11 09, 2016

Taking a Good, Stiff, Memory Dump

September 11th, 2016|Blog|

"When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all." -- Paul Simon, Kodachrome.   Plague -- infectious fever caused by the bacillus Yersinia pestis, a bacterium transmitted from rodents to humans by the bite of infected fleas -- was the cause of some of the [...]

24 08, 2016

If You Can’t Take the Heat

August 24th, 2016|Blog|

Six years ago, as a resident of an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania, I awoke at 2:00 one bitterly-cold morning to the unmistakable, eye-watering, nasal-stinging, throat constricting smell of burning rubber and electrical wiring. Fire! Someone had inadvertently placed greasy kitchen rags in the industrial dryer and the laundry room was now fully involved in [...]