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Death of a family member

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by jakewriter82, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    Be with your family. Go to the wake. Go to the funeral. You need them and they need you.

    My grandfather had been very ill last year. His body had been filling up with fluids and he couldn't expel them. Couple that with tightness surrounding the upper half of his heart--the bottom half would pump normally but the upper half would pump blood slowly, so it was like he was having multiple mini-heart attacks just walking down a hallway--and he wasn't in good shape. Last August, one day before I was to fly to Vegas for a friend's wedding, I got a call from a family member to say that he wasn't in good shape.

    My aunt advised me to go to Vegas. I vowed to her that should my grandfather become worse, I'd jump on the first flight to San Francisco and be with them. He made it through that weekend.

    Fast forward to December 1.

    My uncle called, in tears. His father, my grandfather, way dying. It wasn't a matter of if. It was a matter of when. "HB, he's not going to make it through the weekend," he choked out. The decision was very easy for me. I called my office and said that my grandfather, a man who fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, was dying and I was going to be with my family.

    I caught a red eye flight the morning of December 2, from New York to San Francisco.

    It was too late. As I was flying cross-country, my grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep at 5:10 A.M. (San Francisco time) Saturday, December 2, 2006.
  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Folks ... I know the funeral thing, the wakes, the good-byes are major events in some families. I know this.

    Understand that there are many families where the emphasis is put on showing love to your loved ones before the final day. And the funerals and wakes and all that are treated as necessary evils.

    Just understand that this is DEFINITELY one of those cases where your way is not the ONLY way.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Even if he doesn't use the flight he has scheduled now, he won't lose the money. He'll just have a credit to use for his next flight.

    He won't get the money back, but he won't lose it either.
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Indeed. Agreed.
  5. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    As shotglass said, we all have different perspectives. Here's mine.

    I'm embarrassed to say this, but early in my career, when I felt lucky to have a job in the business, I missed my grandmother's funeral because I was at a big multi-day event on an assignment my paper made it clear it couldn't find a replacement to cover. Every time I think of it I am ashamed I didn't tell the paper "Sorry, but I'm going to her funeral."

    I'm also ashamed to talk about it here, but in the interests of wanting you (and maybe anonymous others) to make as informed a decision as possible so you don't have regrets years from now, I'm sharing that story with you. I know it's not a perfect parallel, but it's the best input I have for you about losing a grandparent.

    You talked about it being nerve-wracking thinking about the possibilities. A year ago I was in the position of preparing to choose between going back to work as my mother was dying or take unpaid time off to remain with her until the end. As each day passed and a decision grew closer, I felt like I was losing my mind. In my heart I knew I would stay, but the uncertainty -- how many days will this go on? -- weighed on me and my sisters.

    When decision day arrived, and I had to tell the company what I was going to do, the decision was taken out of my hands. We realized there was no hope for our mom, and following her wishes spelled out in her living will, we told the doctors to take her off the ventilator. I ended up losing some pay because my boss refused to approve a timesheet that someone in another department told me to file (it included a sick day for one of the 24 days I missed while she was in the hospital), but I was glad I stayed with her.

    But yes, the pressures of real-world concerns (a job, bills) wore on all of us. Maybe there's a way your current employer can reschedule your time off, your prospective employer can reschedule your interview, and the airline can cut you a break if this becomes more than a simple credit/reschedule situation.

    I hope for the best for you, your grandfather and your family, and if I can help let me know.
  6. jakewriter82

    jakewriter82 Active Member

    Wow, sorry to hear that, hockey. The odd coincidence is that my birthday is Dec. 1.

    I saw my grandpa today, and his body is deteriorating. He has blood clots up and down his arms to the point they're all dark red and he's in pain whenever the nurses have to touch him to check his vitals and what not. His foot's also in a boot from the gout. I've been optimistic, thinking he'll somehow recover, but the more I think about it the more I'm not so sure. Thank you all for the kind words. Whoever said there's no such thing as a decent journalist has no idea what they're taking about.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I have an uncle who has heart issues. My cousin is a big-time doc at her hospital, but no matter where they send him, they can't find the trouble.
    I do need to state that I love myuncle. i think he's great.
    Now, Im heading back to Michigan next week to visit -- with friends, not with family. Immediate family is in MSP and aunts, uncles and cousins are in DTW...
    I love my uncle, but I dont want him to die when I'm home. Not that I dont want to pay him tribute, because at 65 he could hit the golf ball further than I could at 35.
    I know it's selfish, I know it sucks, but I dont want to go to his funeral. I dont want to deal with my cousins. Not his immediate kids, who really I've always liked. But cousins in three of the four families (I know my brothers and sister wouldnt make the trip) I just cant fucking stand. I was embarrased at my grandmother's funeral by them 15 years ago and have never forgiven and will certainly never forget.
    I am being a self absorbed dick, but its the way I feel. I dont want to deal with it and I know Ms Slappy, who has never met him and I sure as hell dont want to meet the extended family, wont want to. She was in a hospital when her best friend died in a car accident and doesnt deal with funerals. At all.
    My family -- extended, anyway -- are the friends I met and bled with in 20 years in Ann Arbor.
  8. Just_An_SID

    Just_An_SID Active Member

    This is an easy one. . . really.

    Family goes first. Anybody. . . a current or potential future employer. . . who doesn't bend over backwards to help somebody make a legitimate family event like a funeral is somebody that you really don't want to work for.

    Go to the funeral. Reschedule the interview and bust your butt at work to catch up because if they go out of their way for you, do the same for them.
  9. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    Hey jake, hang in there. Does your employee handbook have anything about getting time off for funerals? Check it out.

    Do everything you can to make the funeral, if it happens. I'd call the potential employer ASAP and tell them of the situation. Tell them unless you call again, you'll be there Friday, but you just wanted to give them a heads up.

    As far as your current job ... I was told once by the ME at my paper that, "I didn't hire your family." It was in reference to me wanting to maintain not working Sunday so I could have a day with all my family and not a funeral, but man, it pissed me off in the worst way. I hope your employer has a better attitude.
  10. audreyld

    audreyld Guest


    I was in a remarkably similar situation last August, when my grandmother was in ICU on a ventilator and opted to be taken off. It meant rescheduling a move, even moving six hours away the day before I had to be there to start (school, not a job), but it was worth it to me to be with my family.

    What you decide is your business and can only be determined by you, but I encourage you to take the time with your family. What's happening is an important event for all of you, and I'd hate for you to regret your choice in the future.

    My heart goes out to you and yours.
  11. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    Sorry to hear about this.

    BTW, fuck the job interview.
  12. What would your grandpa want you to do? Get the job you want or go to his funeral?

    I think it's a fair question. I once drove 900 miles on about four hours sleep, cutting short a vacation, to be with my mother during my grandmother's funeral so I get it. But your future is your future. It's not the same as a vacation.

    Hopefully it won't come down to it. Explain to your prospective employer the problem and they'll understand ...
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