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Read comments from some of our more popular columns.

How Do You Cope? By John Kaiser

The Death of Bin Laden By Dave Whitney

Our First Family Reunion By Frank and Carolyn Kaiser

Lessons I Should Have Learned From My Mother By Susan Pierres

Crossing The Pond By Susan Pierres

Finding Love Online By Doug Noble

My 15 Minutes Of Fame As A Poster Girl For Menopause By Susan Pierres

Are You Ever Too Old To Orgy? By Frank Keiser

Won't $450 Billion in "Medicare Cuts" Destroy Medicare?? By Frank Kaiser

When Did We Get Old? By Frank Kaiser

Sex After Death? Heaven Forbid! By Frank Kaiser


This is a very personal and poignant column from John Kaiser, Frank and Carolyn's son.

For almost a year, he has taken an extended leave of absence from his own family to care for his parents in Clearwater, as they struggle through their health crises documented on this site. It's a problem faced by millions, caring for aging parents — dealing with a fragmented US healthcare system where one doctor does not know what the other is doing — providing home care when needed — dealing with logistics of transport, appointments, drug regimens, and the stress of seeing your loved ones in distress. John seeks your input on how to cope — physically, emotionally, financially ... and I hope you will respond. He needs all the help he can get.


From barbajoy


The first step is to realize your limits physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

I believe there are 3 other brothers (just the right amount) in your family. Why are you doing it all without a break? The other three brothers are so glad they have you to take care of everything; as are Mom and Dad I am sure. However, you are not the only one paying the price. Your own family is suffering without their father and husband.

You have taught your brothers how to treat you and now you are teaching your children how.

Call a family meeting; for which I do not expect your brothers can be away to show up for so, do what you do well - write to them.

Tell them everything you need. Among the need listed should include that you need three men to share caregiver duties - all of them - one week of four (see, the right amount.) Get organized: Keep a log for them to go by with everything they need to know written in it and what has happened that day. They can use that log to know how to run things on their week "on" and it helps the following brother know how things are run at the home. Keep all of the medical and doctor cards and information in one packet or file. Keep all insurance and billing in a file. Organize, organize, organize.

John, you already know that is absolutely not going to work.

Sometimes we must give for the betterment of all concerned, including and especially your parents. They need placed in 24-hour care. That is how you cope physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. It is not bad for you neither to do that nor to suggest it. It is necessary. What is bad is there are three men not helping their parents and their brother that is helping them. Did either of your parents do what you are doing with their own parent? No! They couldn't.

From Maryce Garber Clearwater FL

What a brave and wonderful thing you are doing.

Your parents have given us a lot; an upbeat column in which their love for one another was always evident.

I, too, live in Clearwater. I had never met your parents in person but at one time sent them a complimentary e-mail message and added a note at the end to please stop by my little flea market vintage shoppe if they were ever out that way. Sure enough they did! I was pleased to make their acquaintance. Their great love for one-another was truly evident as we chatted for a while. Their upbeat attitude and fantastic outlook on life was an inspiration to me.

You asked for suggestions: (1.) in writing the column please keep it going with helpful suggestions for seniors while adding that positive upbeat slant as they did. (2.) Regarding yourself and coping with the situation: Hospice has a caregivers program in which you can be involved. They will help you in dealing with the situation.

I send you my love and praise for taking on this overwhelming burden. I have done it myself and I know you won't regret it.

Blessings to you and your parents.

From Tom

Hi John,
I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. I've been reading and sending your father emails for the past year. I could write volumes on how to cope; much of it may or may not be applicable to your situation. Aging and decline are very personal; no two people are alike in this regard. I'd love to talk to you over the phone about the tasks your doing and alternatives. Key is to elevate yourself as a "care coordinator" and not do all of it yourself. Like a web of steel girders on any bridge, each girder takes a little of the weight, and, the loss of any one girder doesn't mean the bridge falls down. It just means each of the remaining girders take a little more of the load.

Warmest Regards.

From Wayne C Schultz, Bullhead City, AZ.

You are an angel with the patience of a saint. When it all ends, and it will, you will then be able to say to your self.... I've been a good son!

From Mark Willows, California

Don't know what to say so here is a joke.

3 Old Marines

"Sixty is the worst age to be," said the 60-year-old Gunny. "You always feel like you have to pee and most of the time you stand there and nothing comes out."

"Ah, that's nothin," said the 70-year-old 1st Sgt. "When you're seventy, you don't have a bowel movement any more. You take laxatives, eat bran, and sit on the toilet all day and nothin' comes out!"

"Actually," said the 80-year -old Sgt Maj, "Eighty is the worst age of all."

"Do you have trouble peeing, too?" asked the Gunny.

"No, I pee every morning at 6:00. I pee like a racehorse on a flat rock; no problem at all."

"So, do you have a problem with your bowel movement?"

"No, I have one every morning at 6:30."

Exasperated, the Gunny said, "You pee every morning at 6:00 and crap every morning at 6:30. So what's so bad about being 80?"

"I don't wake up until 7:00"

From Mr Rawll, California

Hi: I just read your letter, and can relate is some ways. My mother is 94, and has been with us the last three and a half years, cannot read, cook, and of course getting where she can't remember what day of the week is, but every day, wants to go visit her son in Idaho, I live in California, but then she will tell me, she doesn't want to go for a couple of weeks yet, and we go through this daily.

My wife had her mother with us for almost nine years, besides working full time as a teacher, and me as a printer, until they found out I could read, so they let me go after 33 years. I wonder sometimes, what I will do, if anything ever happens to my mother, accept as most of us guys we are lucky, I will wait for those all famous words: "honey, will you,......and don't forget to,;;;, " Luckily I will have the hone do list.

I also look at it from the point of view, I am thankful, I am here, and able to take care of her, as I will always be able to remember these past years as an honor, I can always catch up with the guys, the golf, etc. But, my mother won't be here forever.


From Judy

Hi John,
I know some of what you are going through. My husband passed away in October of 2007 after battling Alzheimer's and Diabetes. He was so sick and unable to care for himself. He could not drive, bathe, toilet himself nor be trusted in the house alone. He was such a big vibrant man and so full of pride. He had served in the Second World War and in the Korean War. He was a Merchant Marine and then served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Now my Mother has dementia. She is not the person that I know. She screams, slaps, kicks, and curses. She cannot bathe herself, toilet herself, dress herself.

I am also a Great Grandmother. My grandson wants me to babysit his six-year- old daughter this week. I feel like my life is coming apart at the seams. With all of this my daughter thinks that she wants a divorce from her husband of 18 years.

I pray for love, patience and understanding. I know I cannot do all of this by myself but daily I try. Somehow I seem to be able to handle things one minute at a time. I cannot handle things an hour at a time. I know this is not much help but all I can advise you is to hang in there. Since we are given only a second at a time that is all I can deal with.....a second at a time.
You and your family will be included in my prayers and I'm sure all those folks that read the e-zine will be praying for and with you.
God Bless.

A few weeks ago, our televisions brought the news that Americans had craved for so long; the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, #1 on the world's Most Wanted list. This week, our contributing editor Dave Whitney shares his thoughts and feelings on this momentous event, and the summary execution of the man responsible for the deaths of more than 3000 people.

From Dan Lopez
I appreciate your article in Suddenly Senior. I too was raised in a home where the 10 Commandments were considered sacred.
As an adult I have been able to understand better the issue of terminating someone’s life. It was extremely helpful to me when a Bible professor explained to me that “Thou shall not murder” is a more accurate translation.

Thanks again for the article.

From Jon Rice
I am sure you believe what you wrote in the Suddenly Senior about the death of Bin Laden, but how do you know the facts? The only proof we have that this actually happened are the words of our Washington liars. Everything about our current administration is shrouded in mystery. No pictures of Bin Laden with a bullet hole in his head or of his burial at sea. Which Seals participated? Wouldn't they be considered heroes and have medals bestowed on them? No pictures or public interviews with the woman that was supposedly shot in the leg during this supposed raid, why not?

At 72, maybe I have just become to cynical after watching lie after lie come out of Washington DC. Everything just seems to be a game of controlling the population. We no longer have a system of checks and balance. The bulk of our leadership should be actors not politicians as they seem to live in the land of make believe. Now was Bin Laden killed as we are led to believe or had he died before and his body frozen until it was needed politically? Are we fighting to bring Democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan or for oil and poppies? Expecting Democracy in a land divided by three religious factions sure seems like a pipe dream to me and the supposed killing of Bin Laden will do little to slow down any terrorist activity around the world.

From David Nusbickel
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the elimination of OBL with the Suddenly Senior readers. I concur with your sentiment, that it is not a cause unto itself for national celebration; sending an individual into eternity who is obviously unprepared for his destination is no cause for celebration.

You mentioned the 6th Commandment, about which I have spent some time in study. To understand the context we need to know the Author's heart on the matter of killing.

One clear comparison is found in Proverbs Chapter 6 "6:16 There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: 6:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 6:18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members." Here we find the shedding of innocent blood as the objection (not self-defense, nor 'eye-for-eye' recompense). [ObL was guilty of many offenses before his Maker; I regret that likewise I have offended The Almighty, but have accepted His offer for redemption]

Further clarification is found in Genesis 9 where GOD proclaims to Noah following the conclusion of the horrible judgment upon mankind "9:6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by other humans must his blood be shed; for in God’s image GOD has made humankind.” Here GOD ordains human system of governance that includes the ultimate tool as a deterrent. This interpretation is confirmed by Romans "13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 13:2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 13:3 for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad. Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer."

On this basis, the act carried out in Pakistan by USA Seal Force Six was justified in eternity by the Creator and Sustainer of humanity. Although He despises the taking of innocent blood among His Creation, He redeemed all who accept it by the shedding of the Most Innocent Blood that ever coursed through a man's vein.

I hope you are comforted in this knowledge. Thanks for helping me put GODly perspective to this Memorial Day commemoration of the sacrifices that earn our freedom. "Free" really means "PrePaid".

From Richard Earl
The disappointment I felt as I read your column on the murder of bin Laden is both real and profound.

First, the notion that one or a thousand "terrorists" present any significant threat to your country's ability "to survive as a nation based on individual freedoms, including the freedom of choice of our personal religious beliefs" borders on hysteria and paranoia. For sure, every once in a blue moon the tragedy of a "Twin Towers" event may visit upon you, but it certainly is not the ACTION that threatens your freedoms - it's your REACTION that does, and continues to do the damage.

You said it yourself: "But in many instances our existence depends upon the actions we take based on these conflicting messages." So far your "actions" have included the withdrawal of many of your sacred freedoms. You can't blame bin Laden for the reaction of the zealots in that bottomless financial pit you call your "Home Security." Your own Benjamin Franklin warned you that "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Sometimes we let primal fears override the wise experiences and obvious history of others.

And if you think that somehow a "bin Laden" puts the religions of America in jeopardy, I think you are profoundly mistaken. From what I've seen and heard from the frothing millions of fundamentalists, one more sect joining the lunatic party isn't going to make much difference even if that sect is hell bent on destroying the others.

I continue to hold hope that my American friends will come to their senses to realize that the actions you suggest are pretty much 180 degrees from what will work! "It is time to shut off our aid to them (the Pakistanis) as a message to others that we are not going to tolerate those who are bent on our destruction or their supporters. It is time to bring our troops home and defend our own borders from those who would slip into our country and carry on the work of those determined to destroy our way of life." Pure hysterics.

You've been around long enough to KNOW that overpowering and forcing others to do anything will NEVER gain you either their cooperation or freedom from their threats.

America is the elephant that is terrified by the mouse. The bin Laden-types are NOT your enemy. Your attitude is. But... for now, you've got enough guns to line all the rest of us up against the wall with our hands in the air. It's very disappointing that you don't realize/understand that when you take that action, EVERYONE loses their freedom.

From Margaret
That was my response to Bin Laden's death. It was part of an overall war. Peace is the goal. You cannot have peace when someone is attacking you. If someone broke into you house, you would defend yourself. I think that is the ethical grounds for killing him.

I can not rejoice in his death. I think when you make someone into an object instead of a person, it dehumanizes you. There is no joy in ending a precious life. He was a person who had hopes and dreams and failures just like us.

Thank you for articulating this point of view.

From Nanc
Normally I do not agree with your articles. I say this in the beginning. You do not know me, of course, and what I think would have no impact on your perspective nor opinions. Regardless, I chose to respond to this particular article. I am a Forensic Examiner, by profession, and teach Criminology and Gangland Terrorism courses in the Criminal Justice Department of a local college as a courtesy. I chose to teach young people coming into the profession now as my way of "passing the mantle", so to speak. We seniors need to share experiences and wisdom we have accummulated, I think.... as you do with the articles in "Suddenly Senior". Thus, my reason for writing. Terrorism is terrorism. It matters little what color brush we use to decorate it. The MidEast does not have corner on the concept.

America has, in the past, and in the case of bin Laden, recently engaged in terroristic acts. All countries of the world are guilty of the behaviour, regardless of the rationale for the activity. It is not a moral issue, it is a political one and probably began when some caveman picked up a club and threatened his neighbor. Humans tend to be a violent breed by nature. Just the way it is. Retaliation breeds contempt and each response results in loss of life and property. Hate for a culture, race, religious concept, ect. becomes generalized and a "Hatfield-McCoy" mentality ensues, neutralizing the individual identity of both sides. A no-brainer.

The burial at sea prevented Bin Laden's grave site from becoming a martyed and consecrated location; however, this will not change the anamosity of the MidEastern followers. Another "Bin Laden" type will only step up and walk in the shoes with additional bitterness and resolve. The tiger has not been caged. The assasination has only stuck a thorn in it's foot, not a knife it it's heart. Scary situation. Desperate people take desperate measures... and thus the cycle continues.

Terrorism has a simple, comprehensive definition: It is illegal political violence. But no practical or ethical purpose is served by characterizing all of its practitioners as terrorists. Each case is unique. Each terrorist action occupies only one point on the spectrum of political violence. History teaches us that violence is the ultimate determinant; society depends on law, and law depends on the apparatus to enforce it. Thus, government necessarily exercises violence—controlled, legal violence. The fundamental strategy for reducing the global level of violence must be reduction of the sense of grievance that fuels it.

It is no coincidence that most costly incidents of anti-American terrorism in recent years took place in the Middle East. Perhaps the most extreme example of post-World War II American paternalism is U.S. determination to deny hegemony over that oil-rich area to any rival power. This commitment to a precarious status quo puts the United States in opposition to the perceived interests of the regimes in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and to the currents of Islamism and Arab nationalism throughout the region. While professing to act as the impartial protagonist of peace and justice in the Middle East, Washington has aligned itself with only two of the several competitors in a chaotic regional power struggle.

A number of Third World countries continue their long and convulsive passage from colonialism to full independence. Part of the cost in making this change evidently must be paid in blood, mainly by the people of the Third World nations directly concerned, but also as an adjunct to the process by the nationals of any country that seeks to intervene. Here the United States's actions in the Middle East illustrate the point. And this being the case, the question arises as to what policy options are best calculated, above all, to reduce the toll in human lives.

Under isolated circumstances, reprisal can be morally justifiable and tactically effective.

But today in the Third World, violence is most often the inevitable expression of legitimate grievances against local oppression or foreign interference. The violence can be attenuated only by political and economic reform, not by counter violence. Taking whatever action is feasible, the United States has an obligation to lead the campaign to reduce international violence. That effort will succeed only insofar as it meets the tests of morality and consensus . No nation, however powerful, is qualified or entitled to be the policeman of the world.

Fortunately, if U.S. policy is not always democratic, the American political system is and it enjoys the system's capacity to learn from experience. A part of the terrorist motivation comes from domestic oppression and lack of good economic options for terrorists. If you have a bad boss you can't get mad at him so you go home and get mad at your wife and kids, it happens all the time. Arguably the same holds true internationally, if the people in Saudi Arabia or Palestine are pissed about their 50% unemployment rates, governmental oppression & corruption and cannot get mad at their leaders w/o risking death they can take it out on the US the same way someone who is mad at their boss cannot take it out on him so he finds someone else to yell at. Democracy would help redirect some of that anger back at their own domestic government. Religious fundamentalism and personal strife seem to be linked from what I have seen in my life, the people who turn to fundamentalism are more often than not desperate in some way.

None of this would cure terrorism, but it would help cut it down.

From Confidence
“An eye for an eye” is not an excuse to violate the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.” The Bible was written over many hundreds of years by many different people, and there are many contradictions in it. I tend to rely on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount for guidance in these matters.

My personal feelings about the death of Bin Laden are that he should have been arrested and brought to trial and gone through due process. In reading various accounts of his death it seems to me that this could have been possible. But I understand that those who killed him were under intense pressure, possibly confused and possibly not aware of all aspects of the situation.

I do not believe in capital punishment for any reason. I do not believe in punishment at all. “Vengeance in mine, saith the Lord,” to quote the Bible one more time. That means vengeance is not ours. But I do believe in restraint. We have to make sure the person who commits a crime doesn’t do it again. So life imprisonment without possibility of parole, I think, would have been appropriate for Bin Laden. However, that would not have been for me to determine.

From Rev George Honn III
I just finished your column on the assanation of Osama Bin Laden. Thank you for being honest and setting a high standard for us to look at. Being a minister I have done the same thing you did. Others have done the same. I have not commented on this issue publicly. The killing of a leader geopolitical or idealogical is still a killing. It may have been necessary and we did it as humanely as possible, I for one cannot celeberate it. It is a sad moment in our history when the only way to solve a problem is to kill someone, anyone.

I write this to you on Memorial Day knowing that you served and undoubtedly had friends die in combat. I chose a different way I did not serve in the military I did my best to curtail the war. We didn't do such a good job welcoming home our troops. Back then it was hard to seperate the war from the warrior. I now understand the difference and as you do I applaud the men and women who risk their lives so I may raise my voice for peace.

Thank you for your article I found it well balanced open and objective. I pray for all of us to live in happiness, health and harmony.

From Douglas Keever
The commandment is actually written that Thou shalt not murder. A slightly different context than killing.

Do you actually think we could “defend” our borders, & stop evil doers from entering better with the forces we would bring home? I doubt it.

It is fruitless to assume we will ever “win” the war on terrorism. Slow it down, perhaps. But there is no way to eradicate all terrorists & and they are not a nation that could capitulate.

We haven’t been doing such a great job for the past number of years with the rest of the active terrorists that aren’t quite as high a profile. It took how many years to find this one we’ve been searching for, and have offered 100’s of thousands of $’s reward for? Even repeating this “finding” once more would take more than a decade. Not exactly a clear and present danger to them today.

I do agree with your conclusions though.

From George S. Robinson Jr.
That was an interesting column in Suddenly Senior. In it you succinctly summarize the conundrum posed by the execution of Bin Laden. On one hand we are steeped in the ten commandments or other faith’s similar tenets. Prime among these is “Thou Shalt not Kill.” On the other side of the ledger we hear “An eye for an eye,...etc” and act to protect, not only ourselves but also all others on the globe, allies or not.

Was it not difficult on V-J day or V-E in the forties to not applaud the cessation of hostilities? Those two dates meant primarily an end to the conflict and killing in the Pacific and European Theatres of war. Bin Laden’s demise will, hopefully either end or widely reduce terrorist events around the world.

Thank you for your post so thoroughly identifying the moral and ethical conflicts in this solution and telling of your method of dealing with them.

From S. MacKenzie
Thank you for the article on bin Laden's death. It echoes my sentiments exactly.

From Joan Griffin
Thoroughly enjoyed your article in this week's Suddenly Senior. I totally agree with you.

Thanks for sharing.

Three years after cancer first struck the Kaisers, we finally managed to get out of town. Away from hospitals, from radiation, from chemotherapy. Away from doctors. To our first full-family reunion in 30 years, in the middle of nowhere, a seven-acre heavily wooded area in Wisconsin. To meet with our entire family: our four sons, now married and scattered, with families of their own. It would be our best, most memorable week in a long while.

We had so many nice responses from readers to this column, we really appreciate your feedback and can't thank you enough! Here are just a few ...

From Sandy Grabman
It's so great to "hear your voice" again, Frank! And what a wonderful day-brightener your column was, too! I'm so glad that you and Carolyn not only had a respite from the medical world, but that respite was full of love and activity. Being surrounded by your scattered family just can't be beat.
I'm eager to hear how the brain-restoration works out and what all is involved.

From Nancy Harkrider
Not certain your fans are the kindest people in the world. But anyone with life left in them would not be able to resist sending you applause and warmest wishes. And from wherever my precious Allan is making someone laugh, he sends thumbs up as well. Every day is a delicious miracle.

From Maria Hughes
Your wonderful attitude as you and your lovely wife battle cancer is a beacon for the rest of us. As we age, parts of our bodies refuse to work as they once did and sometimes we become morose and wonder why are we still around when we no longer seem to be of any use to anyone. Living in an apartment building for seniors only, I encounter this daily and I too fall prey to the gloom from time to time. And then I re read some of your columns that I have saved for this specific purpose. "Thank you" doesn't seem to be enough. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Keep up the good fight, your readers are pulling for you!

From Peggy & Tora
You are our super hero & heroine! Congrats & warmest hugs from Vero Beach. As we enter the Heart of Darkness of the H Season, you give us great hope.

From Art Scarpa
Wonderful article and so happy to hear from you again. We had our own annual family reunion today, hosted by my daughter and her fiance for about 75 people. It's a typical New England event, with steamed clams, lobster and all the fixins! As usual, there were some missing from last year, either no longer able to travel or deceased, and also new ones including babies and new spouses and fiancés, plus the odd long-lost relative who decided to return to the fold, welcome as ever. These events confirm what life is all about..... all that fun, commotion, laughs, kisses, tears, hugs, pats on the back and exaggerated comments on how great you look (when you know you look like hell) packed into 8 or so hours of pandemonium and joy......and some poignant moments, wondering who will not be there with us next year. Thanks for sharing. Your Suddenly Senior emails are always eagerly awaited and opened first. I feel like I'm part of the family. Stay healthy and happy.

From Evelyn McGee
I love this column!! You two have been on my prayer list ever since I knew you had cancer, and every time I pray you are in it. I loved reading about your reunion. I'll keep praying.

From Betty Perkins-Carpenter, PhD
If we are kind, Frank and Carolyn, it is because you both are so kind and truly my heroes. A wonderful trip 'home' which you both so rightly deserve. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Please try to do some of the Stretching in Bed exercises I sent to you awhile ago as they are helping people all over the country. I was so thrilled last week when a gentleman in his 80's walked for the first time in 9 months - 10 normal steps and he is a polio survivor (both legs) and World War 2 vet. I truly want you two to feel as good as is possible - WE NEED YOU BOTH IN OUR LIVES. Love and a hug,

From Mary Wallace
Thank you for that lovely newsletter and grand photos. It was a treat to see you both and your children. My wishes for you will be like everyone's wishes for you and your wife and family, that this program will work out beautifully for you and we can look forward to your wonderful written accounts of life, philosophy, information for seniors and funny stories. Best wishes,

From Joan
I can't help but think what a miracle it is to have had this quality time together. One or both of you could be under that pine tree by now. You both look great, and I am sure you will overcome the brain impairment also. What a pair you are! I think together you can do anything. God bless you both. Sincerely,

From Louis Urrutia
Frank, this is one of your greatest posting yet...I have truly enjoyed reading all past SuddenlySenior moments, but this one hit home. In my mind, I was there with you and your wife and your 4 sons and their families. I could hear the laughter and fun had by all in the parking lot. May the Good Lord truly bless all of you and it would be an honour to again read that you had another family reunion next year. I will pray that the Lord give you all strength and courage to keep on writing. Thank you again for today's SuddenlySeniors edition.

From Ken Edwards

From Karen
Dear Frank and Carolyn....I thank you so much for the pictures and story of your family reunion. I read every one of your emails and have agonized and now exulted over your victory over cancer and other problems. You have given us all hope. Keep on winning. Love and hugs to you both. And God bless you.

From Rita Moxley
Frank and Carol, Welcome back. It is great to see you both looking so good. I know you have both been to hell and back, yet your love for each other beats any chemo or other drug. So glad you have sons to look out for you both. Nice family and I love the name Trinity Sue. I am on Facebook also and want to know how to find your page. Is it under Suddenly Senior? Hugs & God's Blessings,

From Kathleen Reade
Dear Frank, Wow, I was thrilled to see a new column from you and Carolyn!! And what a wonderful one about family. Since the death of my 97 year old mother recently, my daughter and I are the only ones of our family left, and when my mother fell and fractured her neck 4 years ago, for the first time I really missed having more family. Best of luck with your new "brain course" which sounds fascinating. I look forward to your continued improvement and more columns. You have really enhanced my life with Suddenly Senior, and I am sure countless others feel the same way. My best wishes, prayers, and regards,


By Susan Pierres

Sunday May 9th we celebrated Mother's Day. Many of our readers are mothers and grandmothers, and will hopefully be surrounded by children and grandchildren celebrating motherhood. Some older readers are lucky enough to still have their mother around. One of those fortunate children is guest columnist Susan Pierres. This week she writes about her childhood, battling with her mother as a teenager, how her 95 year old mother has now become her best friend, and shares her "Top Ten" list of lessons she should have learned from Mom.

From Michael Graham
How wonderful. I wish I had had the experiences you are having with your mom.... Thank you so much for writing something which in reality stands for all of us.

From Alexa Fleckenstein
Thank you for your fine article for Mothers' Day! What I wonder these days is what kind of people our mothers were beyond us? Or - gasp! the unthinkable: without us? Wish my mother were still around. I thought I never listened to her. But in the end, like you, I might haven listened more than I thought.

From Saralee Perel
A beautiful, wonderful story. You take the reader along with you on your discoveries.

From Frances Canet
This is wonderful and you are so very right. Seems Mothers get smarter the older they get - or maybe we do. Happy Mother's Day to your Mom.

From Mara Fisher
A wonderful, most enjoyable piece. It brought me back to memories of my mom....thank you!

From Linda Georgian
I was intuitively guided to open up my SUDDENLY SENIOR email out of my more than 781, and there was your story of you and your mother...which I, of course read. I loved it and felt great love for you and your mother that I just had to email you myself... My main reason of contacting you is to tell you what an excellent writer you are! and what a wonderful mother and family you have! God Bless You ! and for your contribution!!!. I was enjoying and appreciating your mother's list of do's and don'ts...they're all true!! I laughed about the plastic bag when going to restaurants...my mother ALWAYS did that . Hope to hear and read more of your material.

From Richard Earl
It's such a shame we all must age. Your mom's is a testament to her success in dealing with a long life. For some reason it's a comfort to know that 100 years ago most were dead by my age of 71 years. These days squeaking parts remind me that this ride will end, sooner not later, and there ain't no grease gonna prevent it! And that's OK...

Thanks again for your...wonderful column. I hope you and your mom get to swap lies for a long while yet.

Good column...by Susan...but she must have a very heavy head...she's supporting it in 3 out of 4 photos...HA! (We photographers notice thing like this).

From Richard Watherwax
When I was the director of the audio-visual dep't at Harrcourt Brace from 1972 to1974 ...I photographed many of their authors. And as soon as they sat in front of the posing table, they'd lean their heads on their hands. Seems like it's the thing to do...


By Susan Pierres

There is nothing quite like a transatlantic voyage to still your soul. No early morning wake-up, no daily ports of call; no self-induced pressure to sign up for every shore excursion in the book. Far from the chaos of the city - its traffic, smog, congestion, pollution - just you and your mate (or mother, daughter, sister, grandchild), the open ocean, the fresh clean air, a chance to read those books, remember things past, reshuffle life's priorities.

From Pat Connery Koko
WE thoroughly enjoyed your story about the double crossing. While we only did the one way that year, our Westbound crossing brought us into New York in June, 2001 (just a couple of months before you did that). We took the crossing that introduced the QM 2 to the world with the ship architects, ship builders, execs of Cunard, etc. and lots of transatlantic crossers who especially love to cross in the worst of winter during the storms. ... Thanks for a great blast from the past and potential future. Great idea with TSA and luggage restrictions to sail both ways!

From Richard Earl
"Thanks for the Memories" .... Oh, not about crossing the Atlantic but the Pacific - Twice.... Left Vancouver aboard P&O Arcadia > Los Angeles > Oahu > Suva > Auckland > Sydney.... With the exception of a few foggy days from Vancouver > LA, and some around the S. China Sea, every day was a deck day - swim suit only was the dress code from morning to night - and back in those days we didn't have knowledge of skin cancer to worry about so we lathered ourselves in coconut oils and baked under the tropic sun until we looked like gorgeous chunks of mobile mahogany, and that was us "white" folk. I also vividly remember standing at the front of the ship - Titanic-like - in the middle of the night - pure blackness except for the phosphorescence of the bow wave and the stunning display of starlight - with the tropical wind blowing on me in a sensuous fashion that has never been equalled on land. As I said - thanks for the trip down memory lane. Now, back to the snowblower.

From Lil Williams
I want to go! I want to go! WOW. What an excellent writer you are. I really, really felt I was with you and your Mom. For my 'big birthday' (70), my husband and children surprised me with a cruise vacation! I always wanted to take a cruise. "He said he is now ready".... Now with your article I want to go across 'the big puddle', by ship. Maybe my next 'big birthday' ... Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today. Right?

From Sherrie
I had to reply immediately as I chuckled on reading a desire for a "passive shall I say" crossing the exact opposite of my life at [my] age.... The last place I want to be, at this stage of my life, is on a ship, in the middle of a vast ocean, with no way to get off. My friends are all cruisers, but for me, just give me solid ground and a means of escape-probably related to a life of motion sickness, vertigo etc.

From Ree Woodworth
Fantastic column in Suddenly Senior it reinforced my interest in crossing the ocean and even returning the same way. I retired from EA but with children and my mother to take care of all of my infrequent travel was domestic. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and have requested various brochures from Cunard, Lindblad etc but I am not having much luck finding a way to travel without a companion. Do you have any information or suggestions on this subject? Thanks in advance.


InvisibleAnother Valentines Day is here, and single seniors are not sitting around. Internet dating has become a very popular way to find the perfect mate. While it might not be for everyone, letting your fingers do the walking has proven successful for many. This week, Suddenly Senior's Editor Doug Noble describes his personal experiences and offers some advice.

From Kathryn G.
I met someone online, but not through a single site.
I've joined Plenty of Fish, Eharmony, Match.com, a senior singles site, and even a more local dating site, which makes me think my Alaskan neighbors  are really in need of physical activity because they are bored, so sex seems like the answer. I won't continue about this. I met a man in AARP and it was not a relationship group. I had no idea AARP even had groups to participate in. I just wanted  to renew my membership card, saw all the options and Now I feel at home.For the most part it's a  safe site,  and I'm among my own generation....ahhhhhh!! Before I met Art, I did try to get back into a single site. As soon as I saw all the profile questions that has to be filled out...something in my head told me to leave, and I have no urge to return to any single site.  No more games. HE lives in N.H, and I'm in Ketchikan, Alaska, so you can imagine the logistics we are going through.  We are taking our time, and we are practical. We'll see what happens. If it's meant to happen, it will. Enough from me,

From John B.
Very well written. You are great. Nice flow, interesting. Maybe do a follow up with more details on the mechanics [of online dating]?

From C. Reynolds
Doug- a beautiful email for today. Have a happy Valentines day with Carmen.


By Susan Pierres

Just when I thought my dolce vita was over Time magazine put me on their cover - And suddenly my life got a fresh start. It was a sultry summer Sunday not unlike any other. I watered my plants, breathed in the morning air, made a pot of tea, glanced over the papers and checked my e-mail. Browsing leisurely through the news sites online, I suddenly stopped short: Was that my face on the cover of Time magazine? READ FULL STORY HERE

Bravo! or is that brava...loved your "Suddenly Senior" column ... I'm a writing snob ( being a pro writer, too) so when I say I think a piece of writing is terrific, I really mean it. And I thoroughly enjoyed your column.
Sherry Baker

From Kathryn Guillaum
All I can express after reading this is......WOW, what a ride, huh? You are a beautiful 60 and represent all of us Senior, hormoned, frenzied, mature women......very well. Thank YOU!!

From Brenda Fine, New York City
LOVE LOVE LOVED the piece. It reads like vintage Pierres --- entertaining, thought-provoking, savvy, smart --- all those good things. I truly enjoyed reading it. I forwarded it to a friend who also, it turns out, is a Susan Pierres fan. She loved it and was inspired by it. Said she was going to write to you right away.

You deserve all the accolades you are receiving. Reading your biography of past life,plus your speaking up about the pharmaceutical stronghold on the public makes me want to give my thanks for uttering the truth of todays dishonesty used to sell products. Keep talking !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Charlote Zimble, Philadelphia PA
Hurrah for you.....I feel just as vibrant and sexy as ever at 70.....I also took HRT for 10 years and was told to stop it. I [sometimes] get a hot flash. Still love being a woman !

From Terumukai
Suddenly Susan... Don't know why I bothered to read this pop up in my e-mail especially since I am a male. I would normally delete this rubbish. I guess it was the picture of a beautiful woman that got my curiosity up so I read a terrific piece on a subject I had no interest in. You write as you look - "beautiful".


To the utter horror of our children, today's seniors are pushing the sexual envelope in ways, some say, contrary to all that's right and holy. Used to be, by age 60, seniors were expected to hang it up, start acting their age, and prepare for the solemn business of departing this world. No more. What with Viagra, Levitra and all the other Ra-Ra's now available, even nonagenarians are behaving much like hormone-crazed teenagers, blithely ignoring both old-fashioned shame and open-mouthed stares.

I found this article to be absolutely reassuring! That’s right. GET USED TO IT! --

From Jeanne Gorleski
Loved this one Frank! Does not matter if you make it or not, getting there is most of the fun anyway.An hour of petting is worth more than a few minutes of making it.

From Mimi
Great story, Frank and yours and Carolyns' stories lead one to believe that good sex is part of the remission process!! love you both -- wish there were an orgy up here!


InvisibleOur government seems intent on stealing from Peter to pay Paul. That's how it looks to Frank. So he spent two weeks investigating where these magical "savings" of billions of dollars in Medicare might possibly come from. The answers he got ... well if you're one of the 44 million elderly Americans depending on Medicare, you won't like them much. [Ed.]

From Rye
Thank you, Frank. It's a cognitive presentation that rises above the tea bagger fray, which receives so much attention. Now, it's up to thinking people to forward this to those whose opinions are formed by e-mails generated by right wing "tools."

From Marisol
Thanks Frank for that article. I enjoyed it very much. After wathing the news today for a war surtax I was telling myself what is this governement thinking? where are they priorities? and as I wrote in the CNN blog the government needs to make homeland issues a priority instead of the war. unemployement health care and the economic crises created by banks and insurances companies. ....  It seems that insurances companies and banks are the owners of the country savagely raping the middle class and the governement just provide more money so they can continue with thei bad practices. ... Sorry for all the anger, but been on the receiving end of the insurers negligence makes me really mad when the government debates our lives like we are just pawn on a board.

From DPU-DU Brother Bill Prosser
I'm sorry, Frank, I believe you are wrong. Medicare is one of the big problems. It is going bust. Its financing needs to be changed. We seniors cannot continue to be subsidized by the young. (See Saul Friedman below.) FEHBP for all is a better model and much more sensible way to go; along with an overhaul in how everything is financed. Employment based financing, business tax deduction, is the problem not the cure.

Hope you and Carolyn are thriving and had a good Thanksgiving.

From Judy Newman, Toronto
Hi, Frank I normally agree pretty whole heartedly with what I read in your newsletter.  In this case, not whole heartedly. Why does America always to have the "best (fill in the blank) in the world"?  Why can't you just have a fair, manageable health care system like most of the rest of the "developed" world?  No offence but if America really was the "best in the world" then you would currently have universal health care and not be number 37!!  Other countries would be looking at your system to see how it was done.  Not currently the case. At any given moment I can go to my family doctor, to a walk in clinic, to the emergency department of my local hospital and access whatever level of medical care I require.  I can have whatever tests, surgery or treatment is prescribed without ever seeing a bill.  I can choose my doctors and am entitled to a second opinion.  I cannot be dropped from the system because I become ill or because my condition is an expensive one to treat.  As a citizen I am entitled to this care and I am willing to subsidize this system for low income or unemployed people because I believe that every human being is entitled to the same care.  I am lucky enough to belong to a generation of Canadians who have never had to consider whether or not to have an operation or a treatment because of the cost. What a gift.  Most of us probably have no idea of what these visits cost and probably never will have.  I am not suggesting that there aren't waits in emergency rooms or waits to see certain specialists.  However, if my situation is urgent, I will get care when I need it.  Certainly a shorter wait than if I couldn't afford to go at all.  There are a few tests for which I have to pay, mostly specialized eye exams in my case that only occur every few years.  It doesn't have to be the best in the world.  It just has to be accessible, fair and equitable.  Of course, I am Canadian and you know what we're like. You are a great advocate for all things good and I enjoy hearing from you.  Good neighbours are a wonderful thing.


InvisibleStanding in a cafeteria line at my 45th college reunion, the woman from the class of '58 asked of no one in particular, "When did I get old?"

Conversation stopped.

My first thought: Since I'm from the class of '57, I must be older than old.


Someone suggested that we got old the first time we received a senior citizen discount without asking. Another blamed it on AARP, declaring that its letter inviting membership was indistinguishable from a death knell. And you were only 50 then. Just a child.

From ruthie
Love this column….I just officially retired at  70 from teaching and I am a little apprehensive although tired of the routine of school, My husband who will be 75 this summer also decided to cash it in and we will be doing whatever!! We have always worked and are very young for our years, we look young, act young and feel young, (at least I do) what is next, he will still work a little and I will sub, but we have our health for now which we can’t take for granted, so many of our peers are ill or have become stagnant, this is not me, I hope….Look forward to your column, hope you are well, and I wish this column didn’t go to junk mail, I must change that asap…


As we slip and slide toward the inevitable, is there a senior among us who hasn't pondered heaven? Everyone's dying to get there. But haven't you ever wondered about hot sex beyond those pearly gates.

Or the lack thereof.

Eternity is a long time to go without a good roll in the hay.

Questions abound. For those of us with husbands and wives who have passed on, do they meet us in that great white light demanding to know why we remarried after pledging eternal fidelity? And, when all's said and done, which spouse do you end up with for that eternity?

From Mercedes Peralta
Well, if we are old enough, who cares about sex.  It depends to the feeling of each person.

From Kathryn Giullaum
To be honest I never thought about sex after death. I'm more concerned before death, thank you very much.

From Betty Smith
Well, since we leave our earthly bodies behind as our souls ascend to heaven, there's hardly any doubt that without a body there can be no sex. But the joy to be found in heaven will be so far beyond any ever found in sex, who cares if there is no sex in heaven. Merry Christmas to you and Carolyn.

From Bill Casey
Frank, For Christ sake, get off the sex subjects. You're acting like some perverted old ass hole.

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