The Hourglass: Life as an Aging Mortal

In The Hourglass, Pamela Cuming invites us to contemplate how we can find the courage to age and to confront death as the runway of our lives gets shorter.  How can we continue to find meaning in life when we already know the end of the story?

  • What can we do to keep our inner flame burning bright when we grow old?
  • What can we do to create a mindset that will help us continue to enjoy life when our bodies weaken?



  • Is it possible to love our aging bodies as we once loved our younger selves?
  • How can we continue to love our aging mates? 
  • What can we do to sustain the vitality of our relationship with our mate? 
  • What can we do to make sure that doctors and hospitals act in our best interest?
  • How can we manage the conflict between our own desire to remain autonomous and our childrens’ desire to keep us safe?
  • Is there anything we can do to ease the transition between living as a mobile, independent being and a person who is dependent on the help of others?
  • How do we avoid the conflicts that too often arise between our siblings when we come together to bury our last remaining parent?
  • Can we harness our creative talents or the talents of others so that they become an antidote to aging?
  • How important are the presence of other people to our ability to age well?
  • What can we do to help the ones we love die with few regrets and with dignity?
  • What does it feel like to lose the love of our life?
  • How can we think about dying?
  • Can we learn to accept that we will die, and deny death its power to terrify?
  • Is there a good way to die?


Growing old

Through stories drawn from her own life and the lives of others, mingled with insights derived from philosophy, medicine and science, the author explores the answers to these questions.

She presents a model that we can use to identify our unique way of embracing the joys and dealing with the burdens of growing old. Do we tend to maintain a positive outlook, or to despair? Do we fight back, or give in or give up? Are we Optimistic? Pessimistic? Realistic? Are we Resilient? Adaptable? Courageous? Acceptant?

Are we wise and balanced, or do we rage against the dying of the light? The model provides a roadmap to guide us through the difficult passages of aging, dealing with the death of loved ones and even contemplating our own demise. In short, The Hourglass confronts Death and its precursor, Aging, head on.

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