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Letters from readers and reviews of Old Age is a Terminal Illness



By Lee McKay-Tribune Writer/Photographer - The Madera Tribune

Alma H. Bond, Ph.D. constructed a journal of her dreams in hopes it would bring her to terms with her fear of dying.

In her latest book, "Old Age is a Terminal Illness," she writes, "But then it's not dying itself that bothers me. I can live with that. The truth is I don't want to be dead! I feel like Woody Allen: 'I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.'"

That is just a sampling of the amazingly frank and often funny one-liners Bond uses in relating her experiences with death. You will laugh and cry and discover she is not stingy when it comes to sharing her inner-most thoughts.

Her goal is to pass these experiences on to all those who need to conquer their fear of death and find the freedom to live the rest of their lives to the fullest.

One can understand why she is hesitant to leave this world. She has made the most of the time she has been on earth.

Dr. Alma H. Bond retired from a successful Manhattan practice as a psychoanalyst in l991 to write full time. She has 13 published books including "Camille Claudel," a novel, and "Tales of Psychology: Stories to Make You Wise," published last year. Her other books include "The Autobiography of Maria Callas," a novel, "Who Killed Virginia Wolf? A Psychobiography," "On Becoming a Grandparent," "Is There Life After Analysis?" "Dream Portrait," and " America 's First Woman Warrior: The Courage of Deborah Sampson (with Lucy Freeman)" and many more than this column can list.

Alma is the widow of the late stage, screen, and TV actor, Rudy Bond, who appeared in the original stage production and film of A streetcar Named Desire. She is the mother of three children, all writers. Dr. Bond is the grandmother of seven children.

If you have difficulty locating the book, call Linda at Cole's Books and Bagels in Madera or Monica at Willow Bride Books in Oakhurst.

ForWord Magazine: Clarion Review


For over thirty-five years, Alma Bond thrived in her successful practice as a psychoanalyst in New York. When a speeding yellow cab hit her one afternoon in Central Park, tossing her in the air like a rag doll and sending her into a coma where she hovered near death, Bond’s life changed in an instant. Although she eventually recovered, she took possession of her new life with fervor and energy, which she shares in this splendid little memoir.

In addition to her own experience of near death, Bond also lost five of her closest friends over the past decade. The death of her friend of twenty years, Kendall Kane, from suicide just over two years ago sent Bond tail spinning into a deep depression from which this book helped her to recover.

Brilliantly weaving her own death journals into the stories of her close friends, Bond searches not only for the reasons that we fear death and dying but also how to overcome those fears. Those fears become even more persistent rough age and the breakdown of our bodies. Bond, a psychologist and author of eight books, including Camille Claudel, A Novel, draws on Freud to remind us that the “fear of knowledge is the cause of much illness.”

Although her advice verges sometimes on the simplistic—”Each day is a gift”—Bond’s heroic and thoughtful reflections draw the reader into her story and the stories of her relationships. Here is a woman who embraces life, celebrates its beauty, loves her family and friends, and ages with grace in the face of death. As she describes the experience of her friend Jill’s presence after Jill’s death, Bond’s love and loss are deeply engaging. “When I felt Jill’s gentle fingers on my head after she died, I learned that the healing power of a loving touch endures long after the toucher has departed.”

Bond concludes by observing that the Death Instinct often takes over our minds and hearts when we give up the will to live. We can stave off death simply by recognizing our deepest inner needs and trying to meet them. “If live is lived according to one’s inner needs and not merely the edicts of society, the Life Instinct is strong enough to win out over the magnetic pull of the grave.”

Bond’s lyrical prose and her luminous insights into the push and pull of life and death, love and loss, gently urges readers to face their own deaths, and those of their loved ones, in ways that celebrate life.



Dear Doctor Bond,
I just finished reviewing your latest book -- and am hoping my review will be published on Thursday's Seniors page of the Lifestyle section of our newspaper.

Thank you for writing this book, and for writing it so beautifully and insightfully. It has helped me immensely in my personal life, and so I wanted to share it with readers through the review. I sincerely hope that many people will be touched by your insights.

I keep putting the book away, then remembering something helpful and picking it up again. The many literary quotations you included are also helpful and interesting. Reading about your experiences and how you struggle and yet can somehow maintain hope and love for life is very
encouraging to me. Thank you so very much for writing this book!

Our website is

All my admiration,



October 26, 2006 Mount Vernon News

Death is a taboo subject, and the journey through aging very nearly so. Yet thoughtful people do struggle with the idea of their mortality, and aging certainly drives home the point.
Seniors who wrestle with the big questions of life, aging and death should find comfort in a new book by Dr. Alma Bond. Old Age is a Terminal Illness is what Bond calls her “death journal.” It details her fear of death; quest for insight into life, death, old age and depression. Bond is a talented writer with the soul of a poet. She beautifully, honestly and accessibly articulates her own thoughts and the thoughts of others on these deep subjects. Throughout the book, the 70-year old grandmother reiterates that natural state of denial but courageously insists that her readers also face the fact that old age brings the reality of death closer, particularly as one’s friends also age and pass away. “This book,” she writes, “is the tale of an odyssey to accept the inevitable, the deaths of those dear to me and the idea of my own demise.” Throughout the sometimes somber discussions of these matters, Bond also revels in her life’s considerable joys and pleasures, including grandchildren, nature, art, friends and books. This is indeed a complex book, but so is the subject matter.




Dateline: October 3, 2006 ... New York, NY
Contact Name: Dr. Alma H. Bond
Contact Phone: 212-786-3230
Web Address:

NEW YORK, NY - October 3, 2006 - Probably one of the greatest fears common to men and women alike is the fear of dying. Perhaps it is the unknown factors or uncertainties of death that
people fear the most.. Or, maybe it is the terrifying thought of leaving loved ones behind. Whatever the cause, death is something everyone has to face eventually, from the poor on the
street to the king in the palace.

Author and psychoanalyst Dr. Alma H. Bond faces her fear of dying head-on and reveals her experiences in her new book titled "Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Conquer My Fear of Dying."

In writing the book, Dr. Bond put together a death journal to relate her own experiences with the death of loved ones. The journal resembled that of Sigmund Freud's "Interpretation of
Dreams." This death journal would become a means for Dr. Bond to overcome her own fear of death.

Several emotional crises happened in Dr. Bond's life that brought her to terms with the fact that she would eventually have to face her own death. She once had a near-death experience when hit by a taxi and knocked unconscious. She also lost five of her dearest friends within the period of a decade. When one of her closest friends committed suicide, she became deeply depressed. It was a depression so deep that even professionals could not help.
Dr. Bond had many questions about this mystique, but ultimate, fate for everyone. So, she decided that writing about it was the best way to come to terms with death.

Dr. Bond states, "I hope writing about it will cast some light on the unknown and bring me to terms with my fear of dying. But then it's not dying itself that bothers me. I can live with that. The
truth is, I don't want to be dead! I feel like Woody Allen, 'I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.'"

The new book has not only captivated the minds of many readers, but is also getting noticed by other authors. Several authors have commented on the book's inquisitive theme and how Dr. Bond
wonderfully handles such a delicate subject.

Dr. Bond's goal in writing the book is to help others conquer their fear of death through her experiences so they can live life to the fullest. She takes readers along as she discovers the key
to a truly happy life that can evolve only after conquering the fear of death. Better health and less conflict in daily living are just a couple of benefits for readers.

Dr. Bond believes that many readers who will face their fears of dying can unlock their full potential in life. It's like handing over the "chains that bind" for wings to fly when one overcomes a paralyzing fear such as the fear of death. They can soar to success in life once again.

Follow-up letter to Kimberly on her column:

Subject: your article on Dr. Bond's book


KUDOS on ANOTHER great article. You write so compellingly and thoroughly that one MUST read "to the end."

You're right that death is a well-avoided topic in our culture, despite the fact we ALL face it. And yet it seems, so few of us want to "face it." I worked as a volunteer for Hospice for many years, and I can attest that many, many families increase their suffering, and sometimes that of their loved ones, by denying the realities of death and dying.

Hopefully your excellent article will encourage a lot of people to read Dr. Bond's book and begin to deal with the fears surrounding death.

Thanks for featuring this important subject!

Kate Helt
, OH


REVIEWED BY NANCY EATON, freelance book reviewer

I'm sure we have often heard the old saying there are two things in life we must do: pay taxes and die. Well, I guess we could refuse to pay taxes. You surely won't get away with it because other things will occur such as liens, penalties, etc. However, we can't get away without dying. This is a subject many of us do not like to think about - the thought might cross our mind for a minute but we quickly turn to another subject. Dr. Alma Bond felt this way also. This is the reason she has written this book and refers to it as The Death Journal. The main goal is to help herself and others conquer the fear of dying.
Even though this book is about a very serious subject, I had to laugh out loud quite a few times when Dr. Bond mentions the many things that start to happen to people as they get older - your hearing is not as good as it once was, you are now using eye drops, moisturizer for our hair, Retin-A for wrinkles, and you are discussing ways to sustain the regularity of your digestive system. Doesn't this sound familiar?
This book is written in a journal format. Dr. Bond tells us about many of the dreams she has had and what they meant to her. Dr. Bond has been a psychologist for 37 years and when you think about it, who can do a better job of writing a book like this than a psychologist.
This book is a wonderful and insightful read. Dr. Bond has also managed to add some humor to this very serious subject. After reading this book, you will agree with Dr. Bond that you "must conquer your fear of dying in order to live the rest of your life to the fullest". She sums it up very nicely by saying, "When you accept that you are going to die, each day becomes a gift". When you think about it, this is very true. Death is not an easy subject to write about but Dr. Bond has approached this subject in a way that only a writer with her talents can do. This book is highly recommended.

Death and Taxes and Old Age - Hard to Avoid! , October 2, 2006
Reviewer: William H. Mcdonald Jr. "President of The Military Writer's Society of America" (Elk Grove, CA USA) - See all my reviews;"

Dr. Alma Bond has had several decades of experience as a psychoanalyst. She has also published over a dozen books but her newest book is something very personal and deeper than anything she has written about before. The title alone "Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Conquer My Fear of Dying", sets the stage for what is about to emotionally follow inside her book.

This is partly a memoir along with some self-analysis and some spiritual probing into the biggest questions of all for any us-- about death and the meaning of our lives. She is at that stage of life when she is attending many funerals for long time friends, associates and relatives. If anyone is lucky and blessed to live long enough then you will be in this same situation yourself..

I kind of smiled a little reading her book because I now find myself drawn to reading the daily obituaries in the newspaper looking to see if I have had any more of my friends die; sad to report, that I am finding more each year in there. I am only 60 years old but I have already lost all my parents (and step-parents), all my grandparents (long ago) and lost two younger brothers. These past two years I lost two best friends and almost a dozen fellow Vietnam veterans from my old unit. I suffered several heart attacks and a brain seizure myself and almost bought the farm several times in the last 18 months. So, her book made me take a deeper look at my own life as well.

She deals with these issues on a personal scale but as I found, the reader will relate to their own experiences and understand what Dr. Bond is dealing with and is trying to convey. The book has a message, or perhaps many message but I think each reader will discover their own meaning from the stories and experiences that she writes about. Death really is that final frontier and most people are not in any hurry to explore it even if they believe in the "after life" and heaven.

Her book is not just for old people close to death but for people very much alive and well so that they may grow and learn and if possible, become prepared in some spiritual and emotional way for the un-avoidable termination of life that comes for ALL of us! None of us are going to live forever in these old bodies. Not even Dick Clark! So this book might be good cheap therapy for the readers to process this awaiting adventure.

The book is well written and is captivating. It is certainly a mind awakening experience and should get you thinking and perhaps even motivate you to some inner actions--either emotionally or spiritually. The book rates FIVE STARS from any book review source.

Dear Alma,
I just got in the mail a copy of your book, Old Age Is A Terminal Illness. It seems you sent it to my mom in Fl, so she had to send it to me (I live in Belgium). She was very taken with your book and didn't want to send it to me until she read it! She says you're a wonderful writer (she also read Camille).
Thanks for thinking of me as a reviewer.
Mayra Calvani - Armchair Interviews, December 13, 2006
Reviewer: Mayra Calvani "author/reviewer" (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
"Life is a play with a badly written third act.." So said Molieri.

Why do most people pretend death doesn't exist? Is it a built-in defence mechanism in our subconscious? Would we be able to enjoy life without this quality which makes us blind to the reality of death? And what about older people--people in their seventies and eighties who know every day they get to wake up is a gift? How to accept the mystery of death?

In this book, Dr. Alma Bond, a psychoanalyst for thirty-seven years, explores these questions and more, interlacing the meaning of dreams with her life experiences, as well as with references and allusions from the classics on the subject of this controversial and most-often-avoided subject--death.

Part journal, part memoir, and at times with a great sense of humor, the book touches different aspects of what it means to lose your loved ones from the view point of the narrator. Bond examines the stand of science and parapsychology, as well as some of the theories by Freud and Jung. But mostly, it is a sensitive and honest story of a woman determined to overcome her fear of death by creating a `Death Journal,' thus coming to terms with the death of the people she loved the most. The idea seems to be that, by facing the enemy head on, we can conquer it. For such a short work, Bond includes an impressive bibliography at the end.

An insightful, helpful, courageous--and healing--book, Old Age is a Terminal Illness is a highly recommended work to those readers who struggle with the concept of mortality.

Karen Christono review
Thanks for sending me a copy of Old Age is a Terminal Illness. I have been going through some health problems in recent years, so found it meaningful reading.
Congratulations on the publication and best of luck with the book!

Kind regards,



Alma H. Bond has lost her best friend to suicide and falls into a depression. She can no longer write and begins to keep a dream and death journal. Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Conquer My Fear of Dying is that journal, in which Bond examines her life and her friendships with those who have passed over before her. Along the way, she ends up celebrating five truly amazing women who touched her life, and shares the thoughts of Shakespeare, Freud, Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Swift and many other less well-known notables as they, too, consider death and dying. Candid and thoughtful, Bond takes us along with her on a journey of exploration.

Alternatively poignant, funny, touching and sad, Old Age is a Terminal Illness makes affecting reading. It brings an often taboo subject down to earth; by the end of the book Bond regains her will to live, but death by then seems a natural part of life.

Alan Caruba

My picks of the month
I have a friend who has been a psychoanalyst for 37 years, as well as a talented writer of both fiction and non-fiction with a dozen books to her credit. Dr. Alma Bond has written Old Age is a Terminal Illness: How I Learned to Age Gracefully and Conquer My Fear of Dying ($19.95, Universal Publishers, softcover). In the past five years, Alma lost five dear friends. When one of her closest friends committed suicide, she experienced a deep depression. She also encountered writer’s block. Everyone has to work through the grief that life provides and that includes psychoanalysts. How she came to grips with the inevitability of death, the loss of her loved ones and friends, is fascinating reading for anyone also engaged in this struggle and for those who are interested in the way Freud’s and Jung’s constructs unlock the secrets of the mind.. Having kept a dream journal, Alma began to keep a death journal. Her discoveries are shared in this unique, fascinating book about why we cling to life until we no longer can.