Sunday, December 29, 2013


There is comfort in wearing his old sweatshirt around the house on a cold, rainy day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Every family has traditions.  A Jewish tradition is to gather family and go for Chinese food on Christmas.

My prayers for the family of a good friend with a very sick father in the hospital.  This is the first Christmas in a long time they won't celebrate this way.  They will still be together and I wish them peace and strength to carry on as a new phase of their lives begin.  May they always remember the good, happy times and rejoice in just being with each other.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I recently discovered a cousin of my dad died three days after he passed. I sure hope they found each other and are having a good chat about old times. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can't Let Go

Why do I drag home things from my dad's house that I know I will never look at?

Why can't I get myself to just trash it all?

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Mom and dad's anniversary is November 27.  Since she has been gone my dad and I went to the cemetery every Thanksgiving so he could bring her flowers and tell her how much she missed him.  I then brought him home and we had a small holiday meal together.  It was never a happy day, but I had him and that meant everything to me.

This year's Thanksgiving is different.  He is not here.  My husband and I have started a new tradition which we hope to continue.  It takes some of the pain away.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It rained last  night as I went to work.  I miss my dad telling me to stay home because of the bad weather.  He never got that I couldn't do that.  I never got tired of listening to him saying this.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Test Scores

We found my dad's civil service test results while cleaning out some papers in an old box.  He scored 92.7.  He never went to college.  He hated high school.  But, he was smart.  He earned a good living and took care of his family.

I knew he was very bright.  These test grades just showed what I always knew was true.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Phone Rings

My cell just rang and I did not answer it.  I even took my time going to see who called.

It is not my dad anymore.  Everyone else can wait.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

When I Die

When I die I don't want anyone to find clothes with tags in my closets and drawers.  I want my stuff to look used even if it is still new. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Going through a box of stuff I brought home from my dad's house.

Came across his high school diploma, certificates of honor from the army, his birth certificate.

Found my mom's junior high school autograph book and high school year book.

Found some school newspaper my mom saved from Morris High School

What to do with all this stuff?  I don't want it but I can't get myself to toss it either.  I can't throw away my parents' lives.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

From Beyond The Grave

I brought home lots of papers that needed to be shredded.  I went through the boxes, separating out what needed to be kept and what should be shredded or just tossed.  I found lots of mailing labels that I put in the shred pile yet every day I find a few more.  Today I even found some with my mom's name.  Is this a message from beyond?

Thursday, November 14, 2013


My dad started working in Macy's in 1956 to pay for his first car.  It was a second job that was only supposed to last for a short time.  He ended up working there over 40 years.  It was a job he loved, plus working there allowed my mom to stay home to care for me and my sisters.

Every Saturday mom used to dress us up and take us to visit dad at work. He proudly showed us around the children's shoe department, the place he worked, and introduced us to countless other people.  We ate lunch with him in the employee cafeteria.

All that remains of the old store are the wooden escalators but being there still reminds me of him.  I walked around a little sad today, knowing he wasn't there and he wasn't at home. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The End Seemed So Far Away

I knew the end was coming but I just didn't think it would be as soon as it was.

The aide said she would need laundry detergent, not right away, but soon.  I went to BJ's immediately and bought a container that would wash 120 loads.  It is now in my basement unopened.

Dad stopped eating and was living on Ensure.  I bought two huge cases.  I'm glad the aide drinks them so they won't go to waste.  She said he liked pudding.  I bought a pack of 18.  It is in my refrigerator now.  The apple sauce and baby carrots are in the temple food bank. knew he was suffering and I wanted his pain to end.  

I just didn't realize it would actually happen.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Matters Get Complicated

The first line of my dad's will states that all his bills be settled immediately from his estate.  He left plenty of money in a checking account I shared with him to do this and have been doing so religiously, paying even before the bills become due.

I got a call from my temple Thursday telling me my check was declined.  I called the bank to find out what the problem was.  They told me the account was fine.  I then noticed another check I had written to pay for his perpetual care was also returned.  Still, I checked  online and saw the balance is fine and there is no indication that there is a problem.

The officer in my bank told us the bank probably froze the account until his last social security and pension check is retrieved.  I understand they have the right to collect that money, but not to hold all of it.  What I really don't understand is why Apple Bank couldn't notify me about this.

My dad never wrote a bad check in his life.  He shouldn't be writing them in his death either.  No one is available in Apple until Monday, but they better have a good excuse and they better make good on all those checks.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


My dad needed help but he refused to go to the doctor.  My sister went to the doctor to ask for help and advice.  His answer--call an ambulance.  We both knew this was not the thing to do.  Dad was in the hospital in June and it really messed up his mind.  The new surroundings confused him and all the people he didn't know were just upsetting.  Besides, we didn't see a problem a hospital would help.  Not knowing what to do, we did nothing.

Several days past and I knew something had to be done.  I again went to the doctor.  This time, after much prodding, the office manager gave me the number of the person in charge of in-home hospice.  After one call we had a visit by an intake nurse who determined my dad was a candidate for these services.  All we needed was a form signed by his doctor and the doctor's notes.  As soon as they would be faxed, dad would be able to get all he needed.  My husband and I walked the papers to the doctor's office, handed them to the office manager and spoke to the doctor, letting them know the urgency of our request.  Twenty eight hours later, after 10 phone calls, the papers were sent.  The hospital bed and other supplies were soon delivered.  Pain killers and medicine to relieve his agitation also arrived. While things were still not good, things were better.  Dad, at least, was comfortable.

I didn't know enough to help my dad and his aides sooner, but I know quite a bit now and will be more than happy to share.

The phone number for Visiting Nurse Hospice in NYC is (718) 536-3185.  They are helpful and supportive and can probably direct you to the correct numbers even if you aren't in NYC.  In addition to the nurses, they sent a wonderful aide, to help our aides, a social worker and a rabbi.  They helped us as dad transitioned between life and death.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Safe Deposit Box and Other Paperwork Issues

There is new paper work to do every day.  The cemetery needs an affidavit of heirs.  The government takes back part of last months pension and then returns it, but only after the proper paper work is filed.  Cable boxes have to be returned.  Phones have to be shut off.  Mail has to be transferred. Automatic refills on prescriptions must be stopped.   There is money that must be returned to us for services dad never got to use.  And just when you think you are done, something new arrives in the mail.

My dad and mom told me to empty their safe deposit boxes immediately on death.  This is one time I am glad I listened, well listened early.  My sister and I did this a few weeks ago.  We saw the writing on the wall.  Last week I went to cancel the now empty box.  The bank officers told me it was frozen and would need to go through probate.  Thankfully, they looked (with us), saw that it was empty and let us hand in the keys.  One less thing to worry about in the future.

I never dreamt that would be any kind of problem.  My dad made sure to put both of us on the box.  What no one realized is that we were on as deputies, not renters.  As deputies, after death, we had no rights.  We had never heard this, but now that I am aware, I will check the status of my children in my bank.  I don't want them having any future problems that can be avoided.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I opened the door to my dad's house today and saw what looked like a black cat running towards the bedroom.  I was afraid there was a mouse in the apartment, but since there were no droppings and the few food packages were intact I figured it was just a shadow and forgot about what I saw.  An hour later, my husband saw the same thing.  I caught the tail end of what he saw

I never believed in an after life or in spirits and I always laughed at the idea of ghosts but something inside of me tells me my dad is still there.  I just hope he is at peace.  I cut off the cable so he can't watch his favorite television show MASH or even watch the comings and goings in the lobby and laundry room.

My sister will be here in a few weeks.  She believes and hopes to see him.  I want him to be with my mom, happy again with the love of his life.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Not Easy

I am going to be honest here.  My dad was not easy.  Oh, he thought he was but he was set in his ways and if things weren't the way he thought they should be, he was not happy and had lots to say.

One time a group of my parents cousins went to dinner in an Italian restaurant.  Dad was not happy.  He ate in a kosher deli (soup or meat  balls), a diner (eggs or french toast) or Panera Bread (muffin and coffee).  The owner assured dad the chef would make him anything he wanted.  Well, dad ordered two eggs over easy and white bread.  Needless to say, these cousins never invited him to dinner again.

I used to try to find good and unusual places to take my parents for dinner because my mom loved trying different places.  My dad always bitched and moaned, but ended up enjoying wherever we took him.  Those days have ended when my mom died.  It wasn't worth the effort when IHOP made him happy.  It hurts now to go past one of these places and know I will never watch him scrutinize the menu and end up with the same thing he has eaten every single visit of his life.

Pictured above is dad celebrating his 87th birthday at IHOP.  The staff of this one, on Boston Post Rd, right on the border of the Bronx and Pelham Manor is wonderful.  They always went out of their way to help him with his walker and make his visits special..

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Writing, for me is therapeutic.  I have another blog, one that mostly dealt with education and teaching issues. I unloaded lots of stuff there but also shared some of my feelings about NYC, the city I love, vacations and of course, my family.

My dad passed away several weeks ago.  I pretty much had the responsibility of overseeing his care for years.  I was the only one nearby for him after my mom died.  For six years I called 3 times a day, at least and visited every week and more if he needed me.

My husband and I are now in the process of emptying his apartment.  It is both physically and mentally draining.  I am starting this blog as a place to unbottle what I am feeling and to also share some of the things I learned about hospice and end of life care.  Hopefully, while helping myself, I will be able to post things to help others.