Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Book Review: Old Age is a Terminal Illness

Author: Alma H. Bond
Publisher: Universal Publishers
ISBN: 1-58112-904-1

When five of her friends died within the space of a few years, Dr. Alma Bond, acutely aware of her own advancing years, grew depressed. Dr. Bond finally decided to deal with her problem by keeping a dream journal. Believing that her dreams held clues to the issues underlying her depression, she perceived the journal as a means for analyzing, understanding and, ultimately, controlling her psychic, emotional and spiritual pain. The journal eventually evolved into a forum in which Dr. Bond would record, in addition to dreams, ideas gleaned from her readings and her developing philosophy of the relationship between life and death.

Having been a professional analyst for several decades, it is not surprising that Dr. Bond draws heavily on Freud’s writings as fuel for her thought processes. Her journal is rich with references to the works of Freud, as well as to the writings of a range of psychologists, philosophers, poets and other students of the human condition.

In addition to drawing on her dreams and a range of literature, Dr. Bond draws on a lifetime of memories of life and love to clarify her thoughts and emotions about death. She describes her brother’s tragic death at the age of eighteen, her husband’s death in middle age and, of course, the lives and deaths of those friends whose losses had plunged her into depression.

A year after she began her journal, Dr. Bond brought the project to a close. In addition to aging yet another year, Dr. Bond had come to satisfactory terms with her fear of death. Did she conquer it completely? No, of course not. After all, she knows it is inevitable – someday. In the meantime, she is far too busy enjoying life to pay undue attention to death.

The book’s title is indicative of the humor that suffuses Dr. Bond’s book. Many books about death are either excessively clinical or disgustingly morbid. This book is neither. Ultimately, Old Age is a Terminal Illness is a celebration of life. Dr. Bond enumerates and celebrates a lifetime of fulfilling, loving relationships throughout her book. Every time she comes to peaceful terms with another loss, she resolutely affirms her joy in living and her desire to continue enjoying life as long as possible.

Dr. Bond’s writing is honest and gracious, and her book is enriching and easily digested. While this book will not appeal to all readers, there are several sorts of people who would benefit from reading it. First, readers suffering the agonies of losing a love one will find Dr. Bond’s book comforting. Second, clergymen and other professionals who offer grief counseling will find Dr. Bond’s book informative. Finally, readers pondering the meanings of life and death will find Dr. Bond’s book insightful. For readers such as these, Old Age is a Terminal Illness is a timely and indispensable book.

1 comment:

andrew said...

Yes it is truly difficult to get used to aging and old age.The body growing weaker,the black curls turning gray...and so many more fears of the mind to handle.Beautifully written.Nurse Triage