David Sedaris penned a fantastic piece in The New Yorker about the suicide death of his youngest sister, Tiffany. In it, he talks about Tiffany’s slow descent into depression by way of horrific living conditions and mental illness. This is framed, interestingly, by a family vacation he paid for shortly after her death.
I understand that grief is a funny, tricky and wholly individual business. But I suppose what bothers me about Sedaris’s story is that this is the same sister that he wrote about in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim who, from the sound of it, repeatedly requested that he not write about her, or use her sad existence for witty little bon mots and anecdotes.
So knowing that she wasn’t pleased with this kind of “therapy through public forum” in life, I can’t imagine she would’ve been terribly happy with it being used in the circumstance of her death. Especially when most of this story is about Sedaris coming to terms with losing the identity of being part of a 6-child family and his mixed feelings of guilt and pride over his wealth.
I’m not saying that everybody doesn’t have “this” family member, directly or distantly, but I do feel like both Amy and David have a bad habit of over-sharing stories that aren’t theirs to over-share. And while I appreciate the excellence of the writing, the subject makes me feel like I’m being shown a dead woman’s diary, knowing that she wouldn’t want me to look.
Has anyone else read the piece? Want to agree/disagree wildly?