Dear Debra

DarvickGot a problem? Need some advice? Write to Debra at deardebra@renmedia.us and look for your answer in next month’s Red Thread.

Dear Debra: My husband and I have been married for 60 years, and recently it seems as if he’s getting very forgetful. I’m afraid this is the beginning of Alzheimer’s. He refuses to go to a doctor for tests. My children say they don’t see any change in their father and refuse to help me talk to him. What can I do? Worried for my Hubby

Dear Worried:

You didn’t say what your husband is forgetting, whether it’s the old going to the basement to get something and forgetting why he was there, or if he is forgetting important touchstones in your lives, not recognizing people or the purpose of items around the house, or creating situations that could endanger one or both of you.

The Alzheimer’s Organization (alz.org), has a checklist of 10 signs that can help you determine whether you should take it to the next step. Perhaps schedule a regular check-up for your husband, prepping his physician beforehand that you’d like him/her to be on the lookout for signs and/or symptoms of the disease. The organization’s national hotline (800) 272-3900 takes calls 24/7 and has staff on hand to guide you to a course of action.

Dear Debra: My eldest nephew is getting married to an absolutely lovely gal. We just learned that our second child is due a few days before the wedding, making the trip to attend out of the question. I am trying to think of an appropriate way to break the news to them, and I thought you may be able to help. Sibling in the South 

Dear Sibling:

Congratulations on both your pregnancy and your nephew’s nuptials. The best way to break difficult news is simply and cleanly. Such as, “Nephew, I have wonderful news to share. Husband and I are expecting. And here’s the downside of our wonderful news. I am due mere days before your wedding and won’t be able to make the trip. I am so sorry, as there is nothing I would love more than to [choose your own adventure here, Sib]: dance at your wedding, see you and your lovely bride beneath the chuppah, celebrate with the family, etc.

Surely your nephew will understand. There might be a way for you to be Skyped in for the ceremony. Be sure your nephew knows that the next time the family is together you want to carve out some special time with him and his bride. Maybe you’ll go into labor on the actual wedding date, making for a bit of family lore. And what better way to take your mind off the contractions than to watch the couple say their “I do’s”? Or in this case, perhaps, their do-di li’s. (My beloved is mine.)

Now, A True Confession …

Dear Readers: When the above letter from Sibling in the South arrived via the Jewish News editorial office, I thought it was fairly easy to answer, as our family had just been in this situation. Coincidentally, our son Elliot and his dear fiancee, Elizabeth, are getting married in March, and his closest friend from childhood was pregnant and would be unable to attend. So, I answered Sibling in the South with confidence, nary a shade curious over the coincidence.

Well, maybe you can call me “Duh Debra” instead of “Dear Debra” for a moment. I completely missed the boat. The Sibling in the South is actually my own sister!

Yep. My youngest sister, Abby, who lives in Florida, thought it would be a great way to tell me the happy news that I’m going to be an aunt again — as well as the bittersweet news that she and my brother-in-law won’t be at Elliot and Elizabeth’s wedding.

So, Sis, maybe we will indeed Skype in you and your husband, Brian, for the festivities. And if you do go into labor while Elliot and Elizabeth are reciting their vows, we’ll take a moment and breathe with you.


Debra Darvick is the author of This Jewish Life: Stories of DiscoveryConnection and Joy and I love Jewish faces. She shares her unique take on life, books and more at



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