End of Life

As poet Dylan Thomas wrote in his celebrated poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night:” “Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” And it is not only those in “old age,” who rage and seek to accept the ending of a life. The experience of loss may begin before the loss of life occurs, for example those who question loss of memory (such as Paco Roca) or freedom (like Brigitte Luciani)—those who foresee the loss of a loved one—or fear their own.

Part of the reason that these narratives of aging and death affect the reader so much is that they know that they will one day be in similar positions. Death is universal to the human and non-human experience and, as earlier depictions of death note, often seen as capricious and unremorseful. Through image and text, loss and the anguish of those bearing witness are laid bare by the author.

Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love

Marissa Moss

Newburyport: Conari Press, 2017

On loan from Brian Callender

Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me

Sarah Leavitt

Calgary: Freehand Books, 2010

On loan from Brian Callender