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Barry Schrader


I wrote a column for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle for 8 years starting in December 2007 and running until November 2015. Then I returned to column writing in August 2016, all of them archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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More thoughts on how to spend
our remaining time on Earth

By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................Feb. 10, 2017

My column last week asking how people would spend the last months of their life, if they were still in good health, generated more responses than I can possibly fit into another column. So I selected three of them as representative of different viewpoints. The last one is uplifting in that he looked up the life expectancy for a male at my specific age and I could have 10 more years to go.

This response came from Bruce Ladd, Northern Illinois University Class of 1958: "My thoughts at life's end are not to spend any significant money, travel the world, nor focus on my hobby or particular wants.

The columnist would like to spend his last few weeks sailing off Maui with his family on this little boat. (Photo taken by Barry Schrader on Maui last year)

"My inclination is to solidify and improve my relationships with my family members, friends, community acquaintances, and fellow churchgoers.

"I also want to get my possessions and archives in order so that my widow and kids will not be flummoxed by this challenge. But, perhaps most important, I want to make every effort to effectively manage my health conditions so that I can stay in this wonderful world for as long as He will let me."

The next response is from Carla Vanatta of Genoa: "If I were given eight months to live, I think first I would thank God that I had some time left and wasn't taken suddenly, although the quality of life may be difficult during that gift of time. I think I would spend as much time and energy as possible in nature, soaking up its beauty and wonder and strength.

"I would make family my first priority and savor the time I had left to cherish my husband, sons, and grandchildren.

"I would try to make amends for any I have offended, and would write letters of appreciation to those who have loved, taught, and supported me.

"I would prepare letters of encouragement and love for my family to be opened the next few years. And I would tell of the gift of a Savior, Jesus, who forgives me and all who call on him from his vast store of love and grace, and will welcome me into the glories of heaven when my earthly life is over. Thanks be to God!"

Finally, this informative and upbeat letter came from Avi Bass, a retired NIU journalism professor: "You wrote last week that you have eight more months to live since you are 76 because 'the average man's life expectancy' is 76.8 years. That number is the average span for all lives from newborn to centenarian. A better number for your years-to-go is in the [Centers for Disease Control] life table for males at specific ages. Your 'expectation of life' at the age of 76 is 10.4 years. Much better."

I am grateful that several readers took the time to contemplate this issue, including those who shared their thoughts with me at church, while eating at a restaurant and even while on the walking track at the YMCA.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115