1. It’s never easy to talk with aging parents about the end of life, but it was maybe particularly difficult for New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and her parents. Chast joined Fresh Air today to talk about her new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? In the interview she tells us about hiring a lawyer who specialized in talking about the difficult topics of death and money:

"This person was really good. And I think he was able to … somehow make them trust him enough that they could open up a little bit about things that they really never wanted to open up about, like money and talking about the future. I was there with them when he came over and we talked about things like health care proxy forms. Things I had never thought about, things I had never heard of. It was very, very helpful."



Image courtesy of Roz Chast/Bloomsbury View in High-Res

    It’s never easy to talk with aging parents about the end of life, but it was maybe particularly difficult for New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and her parents. Chast joined Fresh Air today to talk about her new graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? In the interview she tells us about hiring a lawyer who specialized in talking about the difficult topics of death and money:

    "This person was really good. And I think he was able to … somehow make them trust him enough that they could open up a little bit about things that they really never wanted to open up about, like money and talking about the future. I was there with them when he came over and we talked about things like health care proxy forms. Things I had never thought about, things I had never heard of. It was very, very helpful."

    Image courtesy of Roz Chast/Bloomsbury

  2. roz chast

    cartoon

    aging

    death

    parents

    memoir

    fresh air

  1. 
"The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day."

Writer Peter Matthiessen from his 1978 book, The Snow Leopard 

Matthiessen was a award-winning novelist, naturalist, and zen Buddhist. You can hear Terry’s 1989 interview with him here. 
He passed away at April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. 

via jorge martinez View in High-Res

    "The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind, but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day."

    Writer Peter Matthiessen from his 1978 book, The Snow Leopard 

    Matthiessen was a award-winning novelist, naturalist, and zen Buddhist. You can hear Terry’s 1989 interview with him here. 

    He passed away at April 5, 2014 at the age of 86. 

    via jorge martinez

  2. peter matthiessen

    zen buddhism

    writing

    obit

    death

    LSD

  1. The good death has increasingly become a myth. Actually, it has always been for the most part a myth, but never nearly as much as today. The chief ingredient of the myth is the longed-for ideal of ‘death with dignity.’

    — 

    Dr. Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die

    How We Die was written at a time when the prevailing medical practice was to use all means available to extend the life of terminally ill patients for as long as possible, even if aggressive treatment also caused extended suffering in the final days of life.  Nuland’s book made an impact on the national debate about end-of-life care, at a time when palliative care and the hospice movement were beginning to assume a bigger role in the care of terminally ill patients. 

    Nuland passed away Monday at 83. You can hear part of his 1994 interview with Terry Gross here.

  2. sherwin nuland

    death

    how we die

    end of life

  1. Today Roy Scranton and Jake Siegel, two veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan join us to talk about their wartime experiences and the process of writing about them. Scranton explains how he coped with the constant fear of death:

I found that I had to shut down my imagination because it really turned into an enemy. The kind of daydreaming and extrapolation of ideas that I love to indulge in as a reader and as a writer was suddenly and completely maladaptive to the situation in Baghdad. The more I could imagine what could happen, the more different ways I thought I could die or fail or mess things up and it just would turn paralyzing. That’s where I started to tell myself that it doesn’t matter: "None of it matters; you’re already dead. Just get through your job."




photo via flickr commons View in High-Res

    Today Roy Scranton and Jake Siegel, two veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan join us to talk about their wartime experiences and the process of writing about them. Scranton explains how he coped with the constant fear of death:

    I found that I had to shut down my imagination because it really turned into an enemy. The kind of daydreaming and extrapolation of ideas that I love to indulge in as a reader and as a writer was suddenly and completely maladaptive to the situation in Baghdad. The more I could imagine what could happen, the more different ways I thought I could die or fail or mess things up and it just would turn paralyzing. That’s where I started to tell myself that it doesn’t matter: "None of it matters; you’re already dead. Just get through your job."

    photo via flickr commons

  2. fresh air

    interview

    veterans day

    roy scranton

    jake siegal

    afghanistan war

    iraq war

    death

    fear

  1. National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

 I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.


image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk View in High-Res

    National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward speaks to Fresh Air about her newest book, “Men We Reaped,” a memoir that simultaneously tells the story of five young men who died young in her town. She writes how these deaths, while each different, relate to racism and poverty in Mississippi. In the interview she explains what affect these deaths had on her own life:

     I know it sounds trite when I say it, but [the deaths] made me realize that I don’t have a lot of time and that I’m not promised tomorrow. I hear that all the time at home, I guess because everyone in my community has lost a young person that they love, you know? So everyone says that all the time: You’re not promised tomorrow; you don’t have tomorrow. So it does, it sounds trite, but it’s true. It made me feel that I wasn’t promised some long life where I would die when I was 60 or 70 or 80 or 90. That’s not a given for me. It brought me to writing.

    image (and video on Salvage the Bones) via bbc.uk

  2. fresh air

    interview

    jesmyn ward

    men we reaped

    national book award

    memoir

    death

    loss

    writing

  1. Emily Rapp talks to Terry Gross about how her Christian upbringing informed her response upon learning that her son Ronan had Tay-Sachs disease:

I was definitely not identifying as a Christian long before Ronan was born. I think having that kind of a diagnosis, which really feels straight out of the biblical Job— I mean, it really does — it’s like you feel cursed and what Job does in TheBible is wander around asking everyone, ‘Why this is happening?’ because he doesn’t understand and I think that’s a little bit how I felt. People come around Job and they sit with him for a while and then they try to explain it and that’s when it all kind of goes horribly wrong, because what they should just do is sit and witness and say, ‘We don’t know. We don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense. This is chaotic and crazy and I can’t believe it’s happened.’ So I think I didn’t want to pray, but I definitely felt that impulse that many religious people feel: that I should, you know. I had that whole I-want-to-broker-a-deal. I went to shamans in Santa Fe. I tried to find anyone who could give me some kind of answer, not to save [Ronan] but just tell me why this was happening or if he would be okay or what would happen to him when he died, which is something I was thinking about constantly and still do.


Image by emotionalcynic/Flickr 

    Emily Rapp talks to Terry Gross about how her Christian upbringing informed her response upon learning that her son Ronan had Tay-Sachs disease:

    I was definitely not identifying as a Christian long before Ronan was born. I think having that kind of a diagnosis, which really feels straight out of the biblical JobI mean, it really does — it’s like you feel cursed and what Job does in TheBible is wander around asking everyone, ‘Why this is happening?’ because he doesn’t understand and I think that’s a little bit how I felt. People come around Job and they sit with him for a while and then they try to explain it and that’s when it all kind of goes horribly wrong, because what they should just do is sit and witness and say, ‘We don’t know. We don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense. This is chaotic and crazy and I can’t believe it’s happened.’ So I think I didn’t want to pray, but I definitely felt that impulse that many religious people feel: that I should, you know. I had that whole I-want-to-broker-a-deal. I went to shamans in Santa Fe. I tried to find anyone who could give me some kind of answer, not to save [Ronan] but just tell me why this was happening or if he would be okay or what would happen to him when he died, which is something I was thinking about constantly and still do.

    Image by emotionalcynic/Flickr 

  2. basinet

    Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Emily Rapp

    The Still Point of the Turning World

    Job

    Death

  1. Emily Rapp tells Terry Gross about looking at people’s death photographs at the Upaya Zen Center where she spent a weekend during her son Ronan's decline. Ronan had Tay-Sachs disease.

Some of them showed signs of struggle. There were babies; there were older people; there were spouses; there were pictures of the whole family in the bed with the person who had just died, covered in flowers. And that was so difficult to see because just the idea of Ronan not being alive was so hard, to even conceptualize it was just so horrible that I didn’t want to imagine it, but going to that weekend was so helpful to me because it made me imagine it which made the grief worse for a while and then it kind of lifted. One of the things about having a terminally ill child is that you start to understand and really absorb your own mortality and the mortality of every single person that you love and that is really terrifying, but it’s the truth.

    Emily Rapp tells Terry Gross about looking at people’s death photographs at the Upaya Zen Center where she spent a weekend during her son Ronan's decline. Ronan had Tay-Sachs disease.

    Some of them showed signs of struggle. There were babies; there were older people; there were spouses; there were pictures of the whole family in the bed with the person who had just died, covered in flowers. And that was so difficult to see because just the idea of Ronan not being alive was so hard, to even conceptualize it was just so horrible that I didn’t want to imagine it, but going to that weekend was so helpful to me because it made me imagine it which made the grief worse for a while and then it kind of lifted. One of the things about having a terminally ill child is that you start to understand and really absorb your own mortality and the mortality of every single person that you love and that is really terrifying, but it’s the truth.

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Emily Rapp

    The Still Point of the Turning World

    Ronan

    Death

  1. Yesterday’s show looked at ethical issues involved in organ donation:

    Dick Teresi, is the author of a new book about how medicine is blurring the line between life and death. For example, if you have opted to be an organ donor, if you are declared brain-dead after that declaration, you may be placed back on a ventilator to keep your lungs working and heart beating until after the organ removal process.

    Last week in a Wall Street Journal article adapted from his book, Teresi said that when we choose to be organ donors, we are not really giving our informed consent, and he laid out some facts about organ donation that you may not know.

    But doctors and others who work with organ donation programs say that Teresi is unnecessarily frightening people and could discourage people from becoming organ donors. We’re going to hear from Teresi and then from transplant surgeon Dr. Richard Freeman, chair of the Department of Surgery at Dartmouth Medical School.

  2. npr

    organ donation

    bioethics

    medical ethics

    death

    life

  1. You know, it really got me when people would come by and would tell me stories about narrowly missing being killed in an accident. And they’d say, ‘But my guardian angel protected me.’ And I just wanted to slam the door in their face and walk out. Because I thought, ‘Where was Denny’s guardian angel the night of Feb. 6?’

    — Dennis Apple and his wife, Buelah, came to StoryCorps to talk about their son Denny. Nearly 21 years ago, Denny came down with mononucleosis. Before going to bed one night, he took some medicine, and talked about where he wanted to sleep. He never woke up.

  2. storycorps

    death

    mourning

    parenting

  1. I believe everyone should have a good death. You know, with your grandchildren around you, a bit of sobbing. Because after all, tears are appropriate on a death bed. And you say goodbye to your loved ones, making certain that one of them has been left behind to look after the shop.

    — Terry Pratchett, on Morning Edition.

  2. terry pratchett

    discworld

    death

  1. It’s worth considering that anything that’s on the Internet and connected to your digital image does have potential to outlast you. For instance, services like Twitter [are] now being archived by the Library of Congress — presumably that information is going to have a long shelf life. It’s worth considering what you put out there and what is put out there about you and making sure that is in line with the image you want to portray.

    — Evan Carroll, discussing the best ways to maintain your online legacy after you die, in a conversation on Fresh Air on January 10, 2011.

  2. digital afterlife

    john carroll

    evan romano

    death

    online

  1. What do you want to happen to your online presence when you die?

    On tomorrow’s show, we’re going to talk about what happens to your online self (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, websites) when you die. What do you want to happen to your profiles when you die?

  2. death

    social media

  1. heartssunshine:

Also tomorrow: What happens to your online presence when you die. We’ll talk to John Romano and Evan Carroll from The Digital Beyond.

    heartssunshine:

    Also tomorrow: What happens to your online presence when you die. We’ll talk to John Romano and Evan Carroll from The Digital Beyond.

  2. the digital beyond

    john romano

    evan carroll

    death

    digital

    online