45 Years Ago (wrritten a few weeks ago) or When Should a Parent Tell Offspring That Parent is Dying?


I can’t speak to JBG’s circumstances, but in November of 2003, my own father spoke to me on the phone and said that if we wanted to see him before he was gone, we needed to come pretty soon. At the time, he was staying with my sister and her husband in Louisville, KY, where he’d moved after a fall at home in Indianapolis. We went there right before Thanksgiving and stayed for 10 days, cooking every day for him some of his favorite foods. We had to go home right before the end of the month and he died on December 1st. My point is, HE knew his time was short and HE was the one who told us, if not the exact date and time of his own death, at least that his time with us was very short. He’d arranged to have his body placed in a mausoleum head-to-head with our mother who’d died 11 years earlier, sparing us that decision.


My brother knew his time was short, when it wasn’t known that he was sick; as far as anyone knew, he wasn’t. But he was busy making preparations. He had dropped all his reading material (he was an avid reader) except the Bible. Their checking account was in his name only, and he knew that his wife would not be able to access it immediately when he died, so he took a large sum of money out of the bank and put it in a safe. He didn’t tell his wife, but he told their daughter who was (and still is) living in their home. It was enough to cover everything they needed to before she was able to access things. His wife said she noticed things that, in retrospect, indicated that he didn’t have long. She said he had “issues” about tithing (he was very money-conscious), but he started giving a lot of money to the church. He always hated the Christmas season because of the expenses that came with him - but last Christmas, he went to the internet to locate needy people (in their area), picked out two families (apparently single-parent families) and had his wife buy stuff for the children of these families, and things for their mothers, and he stayed on top of it until he personally delivered those things. The following March (2017) he had a heart attack, and developed pneumonia. He died within a couple of weeks.


I know what a TIA in that sense is. I think I had one on Halloween. Don’t worry, I am mostly better, though still a liberal Democrat.

Shiva means seven in Hebrew. There are many events that suspend or terminate it. In modern times seven is a rarely-used maximum. Most sit about three days. If Shiva is cut off after a day by a festival or holiday people then call it a “celebration, observance” or some similar term. Basically you gather in the home of the bereaved or another location to give comfort and say prayers.

We don’t embalm. It’s in general a violation of everything in the book.

That is a strong possibility but he normally would have talked to me about it during the last month or two. That was my experience with him.

That is a classy way to let loved ones know and one I support. As for burial my wife’s grandmother made a similar request but at a cemetery. The result, because of the layout, was to force my (surviving) father-in-law and his wife to get another plot. The plot is near where we live, in Valhalla, New York. I look askance at that given how closely the two of them have been New York City residents first and Queens natives second at heart. My wife, though, doesn’t mind and I defer to her.

Another classy way to end life, in addition to Pappadave’s.


The “TIA” CT was referring to stands for “Transitory Ischemic Attack”. It amounts to a mini-stroke. I had several a few years back and solved them by starting on blood pressure meds. Mine manifested themselves by making my skin (particularly on my arms and legs) go numb for time. I asked for and received a CT scan and that’s what revealed them. My first came about while I was working out of state up in Great Bend, Kansas.


OK . . . “Transient Ischemic Attack”.

AKA Stroke

Ooops . . I see PD said it before me.

Anyway, adult low dose aspirin (81mg) daily helps too. Acts as the poor man’s blood thinner.

I’ve also heard that a full strength aspirin given within the first five or ten minutes after a stroke sometimes stops it.


Close. I was wondering if he just flat out knew, told or not.


I’ll never know for sure obviously but I think he at least deeply suspected the truth.