Near the end of life: my parents last year

Posted by: Newswalle

Roz Chast The first clue was that their old parents are not faced waswhen ofgrime realized the level in his apartment. No ordinary dirt, we do not talk about something pleasant in Can?, A graphics memory decay and eventually "happens a coating when peoplehaven't cleaned in a while. Itcovered everything." The death of his parents, but she Writes

In his professional life, Chast, 59, was a very successful illustrator for the New Yorker, at the height of his career and in the control of an orderly life in the green Connecticut. When she her parents small apartment in Brooklyn, although entered – the place of his unhappy childhood and where she had lived since 1959, without apparently throwing away a single element – that in a re-wastransported angry and helpless teen "with fear, guilt, and a rare species of claustrophobia filled. "

Those who know and love the work of Chast think of her as the queen of family emergency, a brilliant chronicler of the power struggles, and the account of the last year of his parents – as they move out of the apartment, the hospital ACARE home in Connecticut – is an extraordinary record of love, furyand ambivalence that often characterizes these experiences.

"Of course there is always someone to tell of, writes:" I thought it was unkind, '"she says." But above all, people are happy, that's what I said it was very difficult, and really messy. Ever wanted the whole experience, including the parts that was gross, and fun to write, and that my feelings about my parents. I do not want rosy write in a false,. "

We are in the kitchen of the house Chast, overlooking the garden. She works in a winter garden, surrounded by works of art, or in an armchair in the living room, where one of his two parrots perching sometimes on the shoulder. (The sofa pecked bald in places, like the parrot, who has an anxiety disorder and begins his own feathers, a detail soapt like something out of one of the drawings have Chast.) The biggest problem, he says, was to get the parents are faced with the fact that slid into chaos. This was not to speak afamily of things, and certainly not in death, or money, or privacy, except in the general and apocalyptic terms.

George's father was worried Chast terminal, while his mother, Elizabeth – "like a fire hydrant built", and fit with a personality – he ruled the house with an iron will. "His emotions were very primary colors," says Chast. "If I was angry, I was very angry. And when she was sad, just sad." She took her job as an assistant principal very seriously and had no time for what they saw as the licentiousness soppy her husband access to things. "My father was an introvert. And they cry, 'George, you're with her tentacles on foot!' Well, yes, that is what we as humans on earth. Are not all made of metal. "

Roz Chast explores the relationship with their parents in their graphics memory. Photo: Roz Chast

They were an odd couple, completely in character for others and not like other fathers. "My mother quoted Shakespeare and words such as" "used" gaps The dust will get into the cracks! "O 'metatarsal bones." Most of my friends parents do not use this kind of language. "No friends were also from Chast, not particularly enlightening and very much for the parents away., When he visited her home and then realized the dirt, she had not set foot in the place for 11 years. "I'm not the worst daughter?" (We visited a few times a year in Connecticut.) In some flair, but she went to Brooklyn that day and saw that theywere in trouble As he writes in the book threatening:.. "Something will soon be on the market"

George and Elizabeth Chast had saved their entire life. They had amortgage, do not trust banks and the belief that borrowing money was wrong. Repaired and not even mend an old oven mitt to keep them going at a distance. They were the classic products of depression. Andso if Chast mother was injured in a fall and his father began to show signs of dementia show Chast they moved to a residence near his home, where the contrast in the week spending was so terrible, she says, only you could laugh.

It was a terrible time. The Chasts had, but transferred Insurance incredible, not from New York to Connecticut. And so they were thrown into a world of almost unimaginable financial burden. "To go from a botched kitchen glove and a towel full of soap chips, at $ 14,000 a month?" Chast says. "You have to see it as a black comedy. Scrimp and save, scrimp and save, and then everything goes to Sunset Acres in two years, at the end of his life."

Chast made all things one has to do; they put them in a decent and clean place. They got a lawyer, despite his horror of the things that were forced to sit and talk abouttheir finances. When he got into his late 90s, he organized for the care 24 hours a day. And he kept his eye ahorrified dwindling savings, thinking all the time: "Since my heritage is.

"It is a terrible, terrible thing, and you will see yourself in the mirror and think … I am a worm, I am humble, dung, manure, worm terrible to think about it, but everyone thinks it is because you want to leave their children to be able to make some money. "

What they inherited, but was a world away. When her parents dying, Chast moved back to his apartment and began the arduous task of sifting through a lifetime of possessions worthless. "You could open a drawer, my father jammed full of newspapers had, and could the fund had left knobs and screws and nails and bottle caps and glass lids -.? Drawer cover Why, because they are made of metal and maybe it will again must be war, the metal andwe'll A friend of mine – and I quote in the book – says: ".. the source of the river ebay found '"

His father died first, 95 years old, and as Chast relationship with him had been closer, less divided, because of what it was in the last days of his mother, she was. The most painful part of the book is when he tries to ask at the 11th hour of thy mother, whether she regrets the fact that had not been closer.

"That was bad. Kind of you., You did not really want to talk about it., It was too late. I think it was then that I began to realize that not always get what you want., You don ' t get the closure or understanding. simply not always the case. "

Chast was done well for them, but it was still, though ill after they were gone. "If I had in my home? Should have seen and why I do not want you to know, I'm a bad person, I mean, I really loved my father, but there is something I'm missing here, in all ? "

The final sketch of his mother's deathbed onher are moving terribly and despite honesty sometimes poignant book, the impression one takes away it's the tenderness tenderness of a story with the truth, he said, and so far a fine tribute to their parents. Her death has seen Chast, his two sons, in their 20s and who has good relations, and both "feel so bad for my mother. Fact that they lost in something that is the most important thing in my life for me."

After the release, people have to Chast for advice on how to write with their own super-old parents a lot, and she is at a loss what to say. These people live too long? This is absurd to spend so much alive, it is difficult to see the value? At the end of the day without profound ideas; only horror and sadness, dark and fun. "It was something I wanted to do," she says. "But I had to."

• We can not talk about something more pleasant? is published by Bloomsbury on July 3, 18.99