Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Good Morning. 

I received an amazing response from my last posting, which ended thusly:

We can indeed make our tomorrows better than our todays. You see, I have discovered the secret that will allow even the most infirm among us to do exactly that ...

Phone calls from friends, emails, social media postings ... radio and television interview requests ... it apprears that everyone wants to know this incredible secret. That everyone needs to know this incredible secret. How can this man - Bernard Otis - who is going to be 85, continue to live a life of happy, thriving tomorrows?

The nerve!

What is this incredible secret that the world must know?


Well ..? 

One more week. Promise. 

You need to be fully aware, you see. 

Enjoy your holiday, begin your diets on Friday so you'll be ready to pay attention on Tuesday!

In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving ...

Your Friend, 


Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A young couple gets married and goes on a honeymoon. Upon their return she calls her mother, who asks her daughter how she enjoyed the trip. The daughter tells the mother that it was wonderful, that her husband treated her like a queen and made exotic love to her constantly.

She then begins to cry. The obviously concerned mother asks her daughter why she is crying. She replies, “Since we got back it has been terrible. He hollers at me and uses offensive four-letter words that I have never heard before”.

The mother asks, “What kind of four-letter words?” Her daughter responds “Iron, Cook, Dust, Wash.”

If you knew that this was going to be your last day of life, how would you spend it?

Would you iron, cook, dust and wash? Would you tidy up your affairs for your loved ones? 

Would you attempt to live out your wildest dream, or passion?

There is no right or wrong answer. 

There is, however, Bernie's answer: 

If I knew when I was going to die, I would get up on my last day and:

Tell my close family and friends how much I love them;
Help a person(s) in need;
Do something that I always enjoyed;
Return to my home and spend my last hours in the arms of the woman with whom I have an emotional and meaningful love.

But even if I did not know this was going to be my last day - this is how I want to live so as to have a happy and meaningful life until the end.

I can hear it now:

Awww ...

But I've never spoken truer words ...

Death is, without question, a sad subject that nobody wants to discuss, but one which we all will sooner or later need to be prepared for. Doesn’t it make sense, therefore, to talk about it and make plans to deal with it before it is suddenly thrust upon us and creates chaos for everyone involved?

And doesn’t it also make sense to discuss how we can go on enjoying life to its fullest and not die before our time, by planning ahead and setting realistic goals for doing just that when the aging process begins to take its toll?

Recently, a friend asked me if I was ready to die. Up until that moment the truth is that I really had not given a great deal of thought to it. Over the next few days I seriously pondered the question and my answer is yes - I know my time will come and that other than taking reasonable good care of myself and moderating my activities there is not much control I have over the matter. So, why should I worry about it?

I have lived my life, made my mistakes, tried to atone for them and dedicated myself to helping others. That is what I do now each day. Probably the most profound words that I know on this subject were written by one of, if not the, most respected scholars and teachers I know - Rabbi Joshua Heschel in his “Man Is Not Alone”:
“The deepest wisdom man can attain is to know that his destiny is to aid, to serve God. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for this act of giving away is reciprocity; man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die”

Each one of us, from the time of our birth, has imbedded in our minds and hearts the choice of being able to do good or evil, be strong or weak, and to change the course of our lives and achieve a high level of happiness.

The choices that we make will determine whether, when we reach our final years, we will just give up and quietly await our last breath, live out our final years in anger over the process of aging or, despite our physical, mental and past experiences enjoy every moment of our remaining existence.

Remember, though it is a truism that circumstances sometimes prevent one from that living this ideal life, let's never lose sight that tomorrow may be better than today.

Because we can indeed make our tomorrows better than our todays. 

You see, I have discovered the secret that will allow even the most infirm among us to do exactly that ...

To be continued ...

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Love is a tricky thing. 

As we continue from my last posting, I ended with the implication that I was going to divulge some sensitive information of a personal nature. 

I was. 

I am not. 

Let me tell you why: Because it may hurt another person involved. 

However ...

I feel comfortable addressing this particular issue on a general basis. This notion of loving - or feeling an emotional connection to - another ... when a long-time partner is incapacitated, or deceased. 

Is it cheating? Yes? No? 

Hence our title, "The Loneliness of Morality (Part Two): A Love Story" ...

I recently came across some of the most beautiful and inspiring words written by the poet Merrit Malloy. They express, better than can I, the sentiments that my late wife, Anna, and I spoke to each other about during her final days. These words reflect my own views that the death of a loving partner should not end the love affair, but rather take it to a higher plain:

When I die
If you need to weep
Cry for someone
Walking the street beside you.

And when you need me
Put your arms around others
And give them what you need to give me.

You can love me most by letting 
Hands touch hands, and 
Souls touch souls.

You can love me most by
Sharing your joys
Multiplying your good deeds.

You can love me most by
Letting me live in your eyes
And not in your Mind.

And when you say Kaddish (a prayer) for me
Remember that our Torah teaches,
Loved doesn’t die
People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love
Give me away.

As this area of life began to interest me more and more, I naturally began to think about my own situation and what my personal thoughts really were. After all, I had a most remarkable 30-year relationship with Anna, who had passed away just a few months prior to the start of this Book.

She was my beloved, and I shall never again meet anyone like her. 

But do I love again and accept someone new on their own terms? 

Should I love again? 

As I now live in an assisted living center, I am often kidded by friends who ask me how I handle being around so many single women. I would respond, simply, that the thought never enters my mind - which for a long time it did not.

Maybe things now have changed. I'm certainly more open. But ... I'll know it when I get there. 

Here's a joke for you. We'll call it, "The Other Side":

Mary was close to 60 years of age and Joe was in his 70's. They had been married for 35 years. One night, Joe said to Mary, “Do you realize that some 35 years ago I had a low-rent apartment, a small compact car, I slept on my couch and watched a small TV set, and whenever I wanted to I could sleep with a sexy young blonde? Now we have a big home, a king-sized bed, the latest widescreen TV but I am sleeping with a 60 year old blonde. You know, if you go first ..."

Mary thought about this for a moment and then responded by saying, “Sweetheart, I'll haunt you. You go out and find a sexy young blonde and I will see to it that you once again have the low-rent apartment, small car, a couch to sleep on and a small TV ..."

Well, not everyone it seems can accept future affairs of the  heart ...

When I made the decision to move into an assisted living center, the last thing that was on my mind was romance and companionship. Due to my leg problem, walking was difficult. Also, I had just lost my wonderful wife and my life pattern was changing.

And ... because I am still quite independent, I found living among a group of persons who were mostly more confined - whose lives had slowed down for both physical and memory issues - challenging.

I did meet several women with whom I began social relationship, one of which was a bit more involved, but nonetheless each was warm in their own way.

But none of them was Anna. 

As I got more involved, it became harder to maintain these relationships because, as I sadly discovered, even though you have lived a life filled with trusting and loving friendships, when you live in a “closed environment” such as an assisted living center, you become suspect of others' intentions.

It took me some time to realize that instead of trying to blend in, I needed to be myself. Thus, my life at 84 has once again reinvented itself and I continue to grow, as I make new and wonderful relationships throughout my new community.

I believe that Anna’s love, some day, will reside in the heart of another, just as I believe mine may as well. 

It is what she would have wanted for me. 

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Friday, November 15, 2013


An attractive middle-aged couple is having marital problems. The couple decides to go to a marriage counselor; they walk into the doctor’s office and sit down. The doctor soon enters the room. He asks them a question. The wife, however, immediately goes ballistic. She starts hollering. The doctor stands up, walks over to her, and puts his arms around her as he gives her a very passionate kiss.

He then walks back to his chair and says to the husband, “Your wife needs that at least three times a week.” The husband replies, “Okay. I can have her here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3P.M.”

So, as to the title of today's posting, "The Loneliness of Morality: A Love Story" ...

What in the world does that mean? 

How about this? Sometimes, reality is a tough pill to swallow ...

Note that unless the matters discussed in this posting are properly addressed early on, all of the other information presented in my upcoming book, "How to Prepare for Old Age (If You Haven't Married into a Wealthy Family)" will be of little help in resolving life's main issues.

Suffering is a part of life, but needless suffering should never be acceptable. We alone have the power both individually and collectively to take actions that will minimize our trauma, enabling us to move on with enjoying the time we are given. 

Yes, families will always have their differences, jealousies and misunderstandings. If you really think about it, many of the issues that divide us are, in reality, quite petty.  Nevertheless, if we follow our hearts and not our pride you will understand that we truly are responsible for one another.

Here's the crux of the matter: While it is not possible to know when we will suddenly find ourselves, or a family member, struck with such diseases as Parkinson’s, Dementia, Alzheimer’s or any other long-term condition, the effect that it has is devastating to not only to the sufferer, but also the spouse who now becomes a caregiver. In many instances, the love relationship is replaced with loneliness and emotional turmoil ...

What then? 

When the joy of a marriage which has lasted many years come to an end - because of the death of one of the partners, or due to a serious illness such as Ahlzeimer’s - the other spouse finds themselves under the mental and physical strain of dealing with health, financial and other loses which suddenly appear from nowhere (nowhere, that is, if you haven't planned).

And then, the surviving family often needs to take into consideration the possible deterioration of the spouse's health, either as result of the strain of dealing with their partner's issues, or their own aging process.

So here's my challenging question: Where does that leave love? 

My answer: This is where morality comes into play. This is also where, sometimes, pre-conceived notions of such should no longer be considered a simple matter of black and white. 

Ponder the following: 

Your husband or wife has just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. This particular disease, however, has rendered the sufferer helpless, and hopeless. They cannot talk, they cannot fend for themselves, they cannot bathe. 

All of a sudden, the survivor's life alters as we discussed above. 

He or she casually meets someone, in a coffee shop, a place of worship, a store ...

This someone is single. They become friends. The spouse discloses what is going on with his or her life. Feeling a bit better after discussing this sadness, emotions begin to develop between the teller, and the listener. 

They become close. Perhaps they mutually feel a pull to become more than friends. 

After all, they are both, in many senses ... lonely. 

And, by the way, you do not have to be a senior citizen to be in this position. 

Where, then, do they go from here?

To be continued ...

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Father: Who do you love more, me or Mommy?
Son: I love you both.
Father: Let's say I went to Japan and Mommy went to France. Which country will you go to?
Son: Japan.
Father: So, you love Mommy more than me? 
Son: No, I just want to visit Japan. 
Father: Let's say I went to Japan and Mommy went to France. Which country will you go to?
Son: France.
Father: I knew it!
Son: No, I love my family equally. We'll all need each other for the rest of our lives.
Father: Really? Then why France?
 Son: It's just because I have already visited Japan. 


“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I am living
My baby you’ll be”

- Love You Forever
Robert Munsch

Do you get the picture?

Family is everything ...

This blog is one of my more important, and heartfelt. As such, I will be quoting liberally from my upcoming book, "How to Prepare for Old Age (If You Haven't Married into a Wealthy Family)."


Because as I composed my book, I gave this singular topic a great deal of thought and time. I consider it highly appropriate to share some of those messages here (and, don't worry; you will absolutely still need to purchase the book for the rest - my roadmap for happiness and success as you travel through life's sometimes perilous journey).

So, here we go.

From da book:

If there is one thing that is an overriding issue in life and needs to be constantly addressed, it is family relationships. Nothing causes more pain, suffering and sadness than to have families that are filled with anger, jealousies and little or no communication and trust.

Yes, all of us, this author included, have at times had disagreements or ill feelings with other members of our family, but when you really think about it what can be so terrible as to cause us to throw cold water on those relationships and not be there for each other?

I know of an otherwise outwardly warm family who has several children and grandchildren. One of their daughters has a young son with a mental disability. The daughter and her parents have not spoken for years and thus the disturbed young grandson, let alone the rest of those involved, are deprived of having the love they most need.

How sad.

Consider the following:

On Sunday, July 14, 2013 CNN Reported that the Chinese Government passed a law that requires the families of aging persons living in Care Centers be required to visit their loved ones at least once every two months.


Unfortunately, all too often as our loved ones age and our society becomes more mobile, the distances between us leave the elderly alone and sad. The fact is that many families use care centers as de facto “babysitters” for their senior members, as they wait for them to die.

This sad fact places an additional burden on the caregiver, usually a stranger, who nonetheless must now realize and work with the four factors affecting the needs of those in their care:

Many seniors have no children, or are estranged from their children, and thus must rely almost entirely on other close family, or surviving friends, to care for them.

A large portion of seniors have never married, are divorced, or have lost a spouse. This again makes them more dependent on others.

The cost of entering a care facility is increasing at a rapid rate and makes it difficult for them to be able to afford to do so. As ever - as we've discussed in prior blogs - it's all about the planning.

The quality of life for an aging person depends as much on their relationship with loved ones, as it does on their actual physical condition. What aging persons want more than anything else is the feeling of normalcy, knowing that they still play an integral part in and are still part of their family’s activities.

If a caregiver understands the above four factors, the life (lives) of those they care for will be substantially enriched.

Back to the book:

A phone call every day from a family member, or a friend, will always make a huge difference in the happiness of the loved one who receives it, and makes them feel (still) connected.

The opposite, of course, happens when there is no contact between family members. This leads to depression and, often, early death.

What is most sad is that because of petty jealousies, disagreements over lifestyle and religious differences far too many families have drifted apart and have no relationship, just at a time that it is most important for there to be one

I recently had a conversation with an 84 year-old retired successful businessman, who had lost his wife many years ago and had been living on his own until a physical condition forced him to move into an assisted living facility.

He has two children, one who lives close to where he is and one many miles away. He has had an increasingly difficult time physically and his family is most concerned about his health and need for assistance, but he refuses to listen to them. He insists that he can do things on his own, which he obviously cannot.

His stubbornness is placing a severe mental strain on his family, as well as on him because he will not accept the fact that he is now the “child" in the sense that the family dynamics have changed.

As we travel the journey of life we need to be very cognizant of these issues and make decisions with our loved ones well in advance of the time when our capabilities change and we gradually begin to reverse roles.

Once again ... Plan!

Any way you slice it, aging is not easy, just as the journey through life is not easy. We need are families and our families need us. In that sense, the overriding theme of this particular blog entry is simple:

It is time that all family members look in the mirror and ask themselves, “What can I do to bring our family closer together, and discuss ways in we can work to help each other ride out the storms that suffocate us as we proceed through the aging process?”

I promise you, all of your lives - and our lives - will be substantially enriched if you ask that one simple question ...

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


"I don't discriminate. I just think old people are dinosaurs."

"How so?"

"You're not going to fault me for being honest with my thoughts, are you?"

"Of course not. You're not old enough to know better."


"Can you answer my question?"

"Well ... most dinosaurs were plodding, not too bright and extinct. Just like where you're headed."

"Hmm. You do know I was one of you once ... right?"

"Well ..."

"And you'll get there too one day, right?"

"Well ... I can't relate to you people. Yes, you may have worn diapers once. Now you wear Depends!"

"We're not all incontinent, you know."

"Incontinent ... incontinent ... That's out of the United States, right? Somewhere in Europe ..?"

And so on. 

Look, at the end of the day ... we will all breathe a final breath. We are born into this world, we play, we work, we raise our families, we get old ... we die. 

For the majority of us, anyway, that's the cycle. 

It does appear, regardless of belief system, that we enter the world in much the same way - sperm fertilizes the egg, woman gives birth ...

It gets sort of murky from there. 

Do I agree with everything every youngster espouses? Do I agree with everything every senior espouses? 

In response to both, let me ask you this: 

"Do you?" 

Life is delicate. I cannot tolerate those who do not value it, yet I would like nothing more than to sit with them and attempt to educate them and ...

I know. Not always possible. I'm not as idealistic as I'm coming across. 

Like anything else, like any other endeavor, you as an individual have the power of choice. My thoughts on these matters are not the be all and end all. I am not the only senior in this world. 

However, as a senior - and being true to myself -  I believe I do have an inherent responsibility to leave a mark in this world. That mark, for me, is simply to educate others as to the most prudent methods to plan for a happy and productive old age, based on my continuing successes as well as my mistakes.  

I am reminded of the story of an older senior, who is presently speaking of his life's experiences throughout the mid-west. He was born the son of a prominent Nazi, and raised as a Hitler-youth. He elected to educate himself under the most difficult, most extreme of circumstances. As he became a young adult and raised a family of his own, he disavowed his father and converted to Judaism.

He has remained an observant Jew ever since.  

I am also reminded of a formerly notorious skinhead, who had tattooed his entire face with words and symbols representing his hatred. And then ... he had a child. Something clicked inside of him. He did not want his baby to be raised in hate as he had. He took the extraordinarily painful steps of removing the tattoos from his face, and disavowing his heritage. 

He and his family are now avid churchgoers. They are also constantly looking over their shoulders as former family members have placed death threats upon them. 

But he is staying true to his new self. And he is seeking the help of pastors and rabbis in an effort to learn how to live without the hate ...

The aforementioned examples are truly extreme. One of the greatest virtues and assets as a human being, to me, is family. I was close to my parents, have been married twice and raised beautiful children. 

Maybe I am one of the lucky ones. But I want to teach you how to be lucky as well. We will discuss the abject importance of a positive family system tomorrow. 

We will also discuss a very special book, written by a very special friend, about raising one's parents ...  

But, for now ... 

As I have a great deal (more) to say, I sincerely hope to capture an audience for my work. How can I market myself ... how can I get people to read my book ... how can I get young people to pay attention?

And that, my friends, is the point. 

Did you miss it? 

Here it is again: I'm 84 years old. I have very well-defined goals. These goals are based on my writing. 

I want my writing to inspire others. 

After all, life is a gift. Regardless of who you are. 

Life goes by quickly. We find this out as we get older. We should be honest with those younger than us and try our best to help guide them, to help them understand. 

And, lest that sounds patronizing ... we can learn a great deal from them as well. Why? Because, sometimes ... we forget how joyful the life process can be. 

Is it not the right thing, then, to strive for mutual understanding?
I think so. 

Tune in tomorrow, for ... A Family Affair ...

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Phil, an insurance salesman in his late-70's, stops at a shopping center on his way home from work and decides to purchase some flowers for his wife, Nancy, who is in her mid-70’s. As he leaves the flower shop he notices a candy store across the way. He enters and purchases for her a box of truffles.

When he gets home, his hands full of goodies, he rings the bell. Nancy opens the door. When she sees what Phil is carrying she begins to cry. Phil, confused, asks her why she is upset.

She says, "This has been a terrible day. I dropped my favorite cake plate and it broke. I was supposed to have lunch with some friends and they got sick and cancelled. Our telephone system was messed up and it took me almost all day to get in touch with the phone repair service.    



Okay, so I copped out last week. I admit it.

I held this blog until today. I used the excuse of "Halloween" to write up a dissertation on death, and going backwards from there. Don't get me wrong; I'll be 85 in the not-too-distant future so I obviously do think about this "life" (not a typo) passage.

But I needed a few days to lighten up a bit and discuss the very personal topic of ... senior romance.

You see, I'm pretty cut-and-dry on the matter.

A good friend of mine, 50 years old, has a grandmother who is still kicking (she is still alive, as opposed to the option). She lost her first husband at 70, grieved, regrouped and married again at 73. She lost him when she was 81, grieved, regrouped ... then started dating again because, as she says, "I didn't want to strike out!"

So she dated a special man for several years, and lost him at 90. At that point, she gave up on the dating scene.

Today, my friend's grandmother rests in a New Jersey nursing home. She is 96, having lost most of her memory in the intervening years. Yet she still has a smile, and will tell you when you see her, "I really miss that man."

Thing is, we don't know what man she's talking about!

As you know, I lost my beloved wife a couple of short years ago. Following my initial grieving stage, I began to ask myself, fairly frequently, "Bernie, would you ever consider marriage again?"

It's human nature for the good and moral among us to question whether we would be cheating on a deceased spouse, or special friend, with another following their passing.

I see nothing wrong with it. IF the dating is commenced in a respectful matter. 

In my upcoming book, “How To Prepare For Old Age ("If You Haven’t Married Into a Wealthy Family”), I write about this very personal consideration. In my case,  while I was not looking for romance when I became a widower, I've come to the following conclusion:

It’s never too late to have a fling
For autumn is just as nice as spring
And it’s never too late to fall in love.

Surprisingly, while I was not seeking such a relationship I soon discovered that it was seeking me! Keep reading my Senior Moments to learn the outcome of that drama.

I presently live in a "retirement community" (not a "nursing home"; many do not understand the difference). I can come and go as I please and trained staff are present around the clock. 

I feel free and I feel safe. Not a bad combination!

The thing is, there are many women as one would expect in my "community." In fact, I never have to leave the building!

However, I would like to know about their life experiences first and foremost. Have they been married? Are they widowed? Are they ... looking?

At the end of the day, I am not looking for a mate. Yet. But ... I always keep my eyes open for a new "special friend." (And no, I'm not referring to a "booty call" as some of you young-timers are probably wondering - where the heck do you come up with these terms, anyway?)

To me, a "special friend" is almost like a "companion." A companion is someone to talk to, someone you can relate to, someone you can laugh and cry with, share a meal or maybe a movie with.

If romance were to happen, then it would happen naturally ...

I am teased that when my new book is released, "How to Prepare for Old Age (If You Haven't Married into a Wealthy Family)", I will have women coming at me from every direction!

Okay by me! But ... they need to pass the "Bernie Test" first. This exam is comprised of one simple question: "Do you like me for me, or because I'm now a worldwide celebrity?"

Of course I'm kidding. Seriously though? It all comes down to what we have in common, and if we both deem the feelings are real and of course, mutual.

And that's all I have to say about that!

But then ... we need to consider something else ...

Admittedly, sex is not my favorite subject to discuss so openly. But, I've been asked, and more than once, so ...

Why am I so gun-shy on the matter? I'm not, actually. It's just, to me, sex is a private matter between two consenting adults.


What one practices in the comfort of one's own home is their business. It does not effect me in any way.  


Do I enjoy the occasional risqué joke? When you see me in person, give me your best. I may or may not steal it for future use, but -- Nevermind!


Why this preoccupation with sex in the media and from many of my readers?

For the first time, I'm speechless. I have no clue so ... I really have nothing more to say on this matter either.

Well, actually I do but you need to read my book for that ...


See you tomorrow, as we resume our regularly-scheduled programming. Our next "episode" will be all about accepting us seniors for who we are and not who you want us to be ...

Bernard ("Bernie") Otis is the author of the upcoming international bestseller, "How To Prepare For Old Age (If You Haven't Married Into A Wealthy Family)". If you have a question or comment, please send me an email to

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Have a Friend. We Will Start at Death, and Work Our Way Backwards ...

“Herman is lying in bed near death. He suddenly smells the aroma of a freshly baked pastry of some kind. He hollers out to his wife, Rose: “What is it that I smell?” She says, “It is the apple strudel that I just made.” He asks. “Can I have a taste before I go?” She replies, “No, I am sorry. It is for afterwards.”

"How to Prepare for Old Age, If You Haven’t Married Into a Wealthy Family"
Bernard Otis

Er, I changed my mind.

I promised a blog on senior romance today. Well, yesterday was Halloween. Today is Friday, the day after. Monday is a brand-new week.

So ...

We'll get into romance on Monday. I promise! For the day after Halloween, meantime, as we see in the above headline, we'll start at death. Somehow, though emphatically no laughing matter, it just seems that much more appropriate ...

I have a friend. Don't we all? Well, perhaps most of us who are fortunate anyway.

He does not want you to know his name. His reasons are honorable, though I disagree. He is my first guest blogger.

"J" has a story that he would like to share with you. So Instead of me telling you my version of events (believe me, you'll be inundated with my words soon enough), allow me to introduce you to him.
Take it away, my friend ...


I've known Bernie Otis for close to seven years. I consulted with him on his first book, "Revenue Generation Through the Sale of Kumquats and Other Things”, and was quickly taken by his modest wit and effortless charm. As he alluded to just above, we became friends.

The book was completed and awaiting release; we stayed in touch and Bernie offered up some of his personal history. A family man who loved his wife, he clearly was one of the good guys. What I found all the more interesting about him, however, beyond his remarkable depth of professional wisdom as outlined in that initial tome ... were his unique perspectives on aging.

Simply, he seemed fearless to me.

Bernie's voice to me in those days resonated more than they would have at any other point in my life. My dad - my beloved father - was in the midst of a terminal illness that would ultimately take his own life. I kept his condition quiet. I couldn't face it.

Upon the release of Bernie's first book, he told me that his beloved wife and partner of over 30 years, Anna Patricia, was fighting a battle with cancer that would ultimately take her life.

I used to have conversations with my dad about getting older. In fact, when my brothers and I spotted his first gray hairs we teased him mercilessly. He said the same thing Bernie would one day say in response: "You'll get there."

My dad imparted so many life lessons to me along the way. "Always take care of your spouse, regardless. Become self-reliant so you wouldn't have to count on anyone for anything. Make a good home, raise a good family.  Be careful with your finances. Always honor your parents."

He added this once: "You'll be 56 when I'm 80 which you'll notice isn't all that far away. Time flies very quickly and you'll have to help your mom take care of me in my old age." He was being sarcastic, but truer words have rarely been spoken. Shortly after the move to Florida, my father began to tire with alarming frequency. Trips to the mall with my mother became a chore; he had to sit down regularly. He began to forget things. And so on.

My dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness in his 60s. I visited Florida regularly from New York to help my mom, which as time went on became an increasingly difficult proposition.

Dad passed away, while in hospice care, on January 10, 2011. He was barely 70. In a sense, he never made it to "old age."

Two weeks before he died, he and I were alone in his living room. My mother was out shopping. Dad was on his favorite recliner and I sputtered, without forethought, "Are you scared?"

He responded with the words that changed my life:

"What do I have to be scared about?"

One week later he lost the power of speech. Days after that, he could not move. And then he passed, within hours, but not before my two brothers arrived in Florida so they could say goodbye.

To this day, I wish I had recorded more of my dad's conversations. About life, family. About loss. I did not take that opportunity.

Bernie Otis' upcoming book is that opportunity.

Bernie's wife passed away on October 8, 2012. She had lost her battle.

Unfortunately, I was not a very good friend then. My dad's death, and the months leading to it, left me - his oldest son - with a loss I feared could never be patched. I froze. I ignored friends. I argued with my wife. I didn't work - it was difficult enough to get through every day without him. Thankfully, I still have my mom, herself a breast cancer survivor.

I lost contact with Bernie for nearly two years. Time did fly. One day, several months ago, my wife asked: "Have you ever heard from Bernie?" I told her no ... and I was feeling guilty about it. "I wonder how his wife is doing," she said.

The following day, in one of life's inexplicable coincidences, after two years I received an email from Bernie.

The message was short: "Call me."

I called that day we quickly became re-acquainted and met in-person about his new book.

I told him how I froze after my dad's passing, I asked him about Anna. "Once she was buried, that was it. Time to move on. Leading up to that day was the most difficult."

Bernie Otis is 84 years old. I asked him the same question I asked my dad. "Are you scared?" His response was equally succinct and fascinating:

"Not at all. I do not fear death."

Today, I am consulting with Bernie on his new book, "How to Prepare for Old Age (If You Haven't Married into a Wealthy Family)". It's about time someone wrote a new book that is easy to read, and wisdom filled about the journey from Life-to-Death that will at the same time guide us through the steps we need to take to make sure our trip is smooth and that we do not die before our time.

Bernie lives in a retirement home yet he stays busy. He's not going anywhere so quickly. He has books and blogs to write, to fulfill his immense desire to teach others about what to expect along the way.

As he writes in his book, “ I do not want to die with the music of life still inside me.”

Maybe his "students" will not freeze up during the journey as I did.

I appreciate the help and guidance I have received from reading Bernie’s new and exciting book.

He's still one of the good guys ...

Thank you "J".

If my students do not "freeze up" ... then at least be productive for as long as you can. If your efforts leave a mark on just one person, like they have with my friend "J", consider yourself a success.

Okay, finally ... tune in Monday for Romance Tips from a Sexy Senior ...