Browsing through my local bookstore, I picked up the graphic memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant, intrigued by its comic edge and familiarity of the cover illustration. At the time I didn't realize the author, Roz Chast, has had over 800 cartoons in the New Yorker. It was at least twenty minutes later when I looked up again from her graphic memoir, which tells her experiences of helping her aging parents' transition from her childhood home in Brooklyn to assisted living and ultimately the rest of their lives. Chast's combination of cartoons, stories, and photographs touch on sensitive subjects that I avoid facing with my own parent.
When I finally got my own copy home, I read it in one sitting. Her tale was frankly honest, heartbreaking and at times hilarious. If you have parent(s) who are living into their 80's and more, I highly recommend this memoir. Chast's adult-child viewpoint of navigating through challenges of dementia, illness, falls, hospital stays, assisted living and loss has lessons I haven't even considered.
We'd all like to talk about something more pleasant than the eventual death of our parents and the potential issues we may face together on the way, but we'd be better off to have those conversations.