When my father died my mother was still alive. And I think when your second parent dies, there is that shock: “Oh man, I’m an orphan.” There’s also this relief: It’s done; it’s finished; it’s over. Because I had felt for so many years that there was this sense of going through this whole passage, this whole last part of their lives, and all the emotional and practical difficulties of that. And when my mother died, it was like, for the most part, it’s over.
Talking about the end of life with one’s aging parents is difficult under the best of circumstances. And in some families, it is excruciating. Roz Chast talks about her new graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? on NPR’s Fresh Air.