When confronted with a terminal disease a person goes through a serious of stages. Those stages are denial, anger, fear, hope, and acceptance. Combined, these stages are known as the Kubler-Ross model (you had to have known that it had a fancy name). It’s a progression of emotional states a person goes through when they are faced with the fact they have an illness from which there is no recovery. Or, for that matter, when they’re faced with any travesty in their life.
I believe that the psychiatrists, and the other professionals in the medical and psychiatric fields, are wrong. There are but two stages: denial and confrontation. I’m going to call it the Manup-Liveon Model. Don’t laugh. Hear me out. I may not be as learned as all those folks with fancy letters behind their names, but I do know what I’ve witnessed through life, learned through life, and now what I am going through in life.
We all know what denial is. That’s when we deny knowing, or feeling, something, or being told something we do not want to hear. The most famous denial, of course, is Peter’s denial of Jesus—not once, but three times before the rooster crowed. I’m at the end of the denial stage right now. I have yet to hear the rooster crow, but I know that old bird is mustering his forces for a sunrise crow of epic proportions. I’m currently having difficulties coming to terms with what afflicts me. I’ve been denying that it even exists.
I think there is only one option left for me—confrontation. I should man up and live on. Just face the fact that I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. I need to face this beast, lower my head, and crash into it like I am running north and south in the football game of life—just plow straight ahead.
Wow. That was easy. I’ve just jumped into the next, and last, stage in the Manup-Liveon Model. Why do I need to go through four stages when I know there is only one to worry about. Now I have to act. I need to confront my illness, and accept my mortality. That acceptance, though, does not mean that I just lay down and die right here, right now. No, sir. I fight to the bitter end, and maybe even take the game into extra innings—a little bonus baseball if you will. Bring on the relief pitchers.
Yesterday I was in the library and happened upon a small book that intrigued me. The title alone told me that it might play a big part in my fight, my confrontation, against what ails me. When I turned the cover to read the inside flap the first paragraph sold me:
“The notorious baby boomers—the largest age cohort in history—are approaching the end and starting to plan their final moves in the game of life. Now they are asking: What was that all about? Was it about acquiring things or changing the world? Was it about keeping all your marbles? Or is the only thing that counts after you’re gone is the reputation you leave behind?”
Yes, Old Age A Beginner’s Guide by Michael Kinsley is going to be my first weapon against this terminal disease I have. I know I’m not alone in this. There are many, many more people out there going through what I am going through. I dearly hope that my revelation of this newfound weapon against a very fatal disease can help others. I have yet to read this little gem of a book, and when I do I’ll try to remember to give you a summary of what is between the front cover and the back cover. One of the symptoms of this disease I have is forgetfulness, so don’t hold your breath. I suppose that if I forget I can always go back and read this posting and it will jog my memory to summarize for you a humorous look at the very real, and fatal, illness named Old Age. That is if I don’t forget what I want to remember before I remember that I forgot to remember what I forgot. Or something like that.
Let’s just hope that old age and treachery beat out youth and skill. I’m well beyond the youth part, and I never had any skill. Old age has now reared its ugly head, so bring on the treachery. I can use every tool I can beg, borrow, or steal in this confrontation that I can no longer ignore. I ask you to join me in this battle. It could be some of the best fun we’ve had to date in this game of life.
Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.