My maternal grandmother got suckered in by the JWs when my mom was in college in the 60s. They caught her at a time when she was questioning the catholic faith she was raised in (timing is everything, I guess). My mom’s 3 younger brothers who were still at home became JW. She also got my grandfather to join but he rarely went to Kingdom Hall or did much of anything. My grandmother went all in but she never pushed it on us, probably because my dad is a Methodist minister and she knew it would be a waste of time. Of my mom’s three brothers who converted with her, only one is still in it (very active) and my other uncle admitted that he was disfellowshipped by my uncle who’s still in it. He will hang out and spend time with those of us who were never ‘in the truth’ but he won’t talk to my uncles that got out. It’s all really weird.
In the early 80s when I was in kinder or 1st grade my grandma had kidney cancer in 1 kidney. However she couldn’t find a doctor in her small town that was willing to do the surgery to remove her kidney since she wouldn’t accept a blood transfusion. It was really frustrating for my mom, although she actually found a doctor in our city that did surgery on JWs. So my grandma stayed with us for 2 months for the surgery & recovery. I never knew why until I got older. I’ve been told (not sure if this is accurate) that they won’t accept blood but they can accept an organ (which would be full of someone else’s blood). I don’t know if that’s really true or what is the distinction for them.
The stuff about end times and Armageddon is so crazy. My grandmother was obsessed with it and was convinced she would live to see it and was terrified of dying before Armageddon. When the cancer came back over 20 years later and ravaged her body, she was still fighting to stay alive. She was suffering and in pain with metastatis everywhere. We were all praying for her suffering to end, but she just wouldn’t let go. Eventually her body gave out and she passed away, but it was hard to see her suffering and still being so afraid to die. It really made me angry. Her funeral was boring and impersonal, other than when my mom’s older brother (the oldest child who is a devout catholic) stood up and spoke about her. He had regretted not saying anything at my grandfather’s funeral several years earlier and was determined that something be said about my grandmother at her own funeral. We all appreciated it.
I had a coworker who was JW and her granddaughter developed leukemia. I remember she told me that the hospital filed something in court so they could treat the child properly with blood transfusions or whatever (my coworker and her daughter weren’t happy about it but there wasn’t much they could do). I’m glad the hospital intervened—the child survived and recovered well, from what I remember.