Laurie Kilmartin, comedian and author of Sh*tty Mom, has written a funny, lovingly irreverent guide to dealing with the loss of a loved one: Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed.

Kilmartin’s father died in 2014. Kilmartin live-tweeted through the ordeal. Later, she realized that people are terribly uncomfortable with and unprepared for dealing with the death of those closest to them, so she wrote the Guide.

In it, she recounts the difficulties of dealing with death, and shines a light on the humour that can be found in such a dark time. “I’m a comedy writer, so I sort of manage my emotions by organizing them into jokes – which is terrible for relationships, but it’s great for your Twitter feed.”

Kilmartin recalls telling her son that his grandfather is dying.  Her son’s response: “What about his iPad?”.

Kilmartin’s father died on the night of the Oscars. “He laughed as much in death as he ever had in life at an Oscars monologue.”

The book includes chapters entitled:

  • “Undo Years of Bad Parenting with the Gift of the Unexpected Check”;
  • “The Obituary: A Bad Time for Writer’s Block”;
  • “When the Wrong Parent Dies First”;
  • “Your Parent Died before You Got to the Hospital, AKA One Final Attempt to Make You Feel Guilty”;
  • “Atheists: Prepare to Have Your Unfaith Tested”;
  • “The Cemetery: Who Will Ignore Your Mother’s Grave When You’re Gone?”;
  • “The Only People Who Get Truly Upset When an 83-Year-Old Dies Are 82 Year-Olds; and
  • “’I’m Sorry for Your Loss’; The Aloha of Condolences”;

amongst many others.

Listen to Kilmartin’s interview with CBC’s Brent Bambury here.

Thank you for reading.

Paul Trudelle