My dad is now home from hospital but the doctors have given him months, rather than years to live. In all the fuss and stress of coming home he somehow didn't take in the prognosis so I had to go over and ask if he wanted to know. Months ago we had had a conversation about his earlier days when people were routinely not told how long they had.
I sat at the end of his bed and asked if he wanted to know and he said yes. When I'm made sure he knw the truth it dawned on us both that my mum need to know to. My job was to deliver the news, which I did a few monutes later.
Some years ago a friend asked me to call the hsopital where her sick friend was, to find out how she was doing. She was nervous about calling so I volunteered. While my pal sat on the sofa having a cup of tea I worked through the hospital switchboard until I got to a nurse who, after an awful pause, told me my friend's friend had died in the night. I then had to go back to the front room and tell her.
Telling my parents that dad would be lucky to last three months was only easier because they were older and more prepared for the news. It wasn't a huge shock.
Now I'm in the strange world of visiting my dad, having conversations and keeping him up to date on the events in my life - but in the same day I might be talking to the funeral director or working on some other practical tasks. My dad is a practical man, I am just becoming one.