This is no small feat- not emotionally and not physically. The countless decisions, conversations, financial considerations, phone calls, pop-in visits to check on things, home health nurses, the balance of honoring wishes and being realistic, nursing home applications and visits, the dismantling of homes full of decades of living, hospital visits, hospice care...the list goes on and on.
In an effort to possibly better understand what my parents have been going through AND to get a peek as to what (one day) lies ahead for myself and my siblings, I bought the recommended book, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast.
I was a little unsure about the cartoon aspect of the book. I thought it might be distracting and take away from the content but it did the opposite and that surprised me. Chast is an honest and highly entertaining writer. I literally laughed out loud many times, read portions aloud to Jamey, talked about the book to friends and family, and found myself weeping over it at other times. Despite a smidgen of well-placed profanity (if there is such a thing), I savored each chapter and found myself pacing my progress. While I was inclined to pick it up several times a day to devour as many pages as I could, I put on the brakes when only a chapter or two remained- partly because I knew what was coming and partly because I didn't want the book to end.
When I finally did allow myself to finish, I felt like I had just walked a very intimate road with a stranger and yet Chast and her parents didn't feel like strangers anymore. In their story, I saw elements of my parents' and grandparents' stories and I'm thankful to her for this peek inside a very hallow journey that one day waits for many of us (if we're not living it already).
Whether you're in the midst of the journey yourself or are watching those around you enter into it, this book provides camaraderie, plenty of humor, and a glimpse into one woman's story as she walks with her parents and says goodbye at the same time.