What to Do When I'm Gone is an earnest look at life after someone you love dies. When Hallie Bateman realizes that one day she would no longer have her mother in her daily life, she asks her to write a book. But she doesn't want a collection of her mother's memories and family stories. She wants a book of instructions for carrying on after her mother dies. Suzy Hopkins agrees to Hallie's request and we are lucky to see the result in this moving and often funny book illustrated by Hallie Bateman herself.— Jen Steele
A mother's advice to her daughter--a guide to daily living, both practical and sublime--with full-color illustrations throughout.
One sleepless night while she was in her early twenties, illustrator/writer Hallie Bateman had a painful realization: her mom would die, and after she died she would be gone. The prospect was devastating, and also scary--how would she navigate the world without the person who gave her life? She thought about all the motherly advice she would miss--advice that could help her through the challenges to come, including the ordeal of losing a parent.
The next day, Hallie asked her mother, writer Suzy Hopkins, to record step-by-step instructions for her to follow in the event of her mom's death. The list began: "Pour yourself a stiff glass of whiskey and make some fajitas" and continued from there, walking Hallie through the days, months, and years of life after loss, with motherly guidance and support, addressing issues great and small--from choosing a life partner to baking a quiche. The project became a way for mother and daughter to connect with humor, openness, and gratitude. It led to this book.
Combining Suzy's wit and heartfelt advice with Hallie's quirky and colorful style, What to Do When I'm Gone is the illustrated instruction manual for getting through life without one's mom. It's also a poignant look at loss, love, and taking things one moment at a time. By turns whimsical, funny, touching, and above all pragmatic, it will leave readers laughing and teary-eyed. And it will spur conversations that enrich family members' understanding of one another.
About the Author
Hallie Bateman is a Los Angeles-based illustrator and writer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Lenny, BuzzFeed, the Awl, and elsewhere. Her creative journal, Brave New Work, was published by MOMA in 2017.Suzy Hopkins is a former newspaper reporter who since 2008 has published a quarterly magazine (Friends & Neighbors, www.seniorfan.com) for boomers and seniors in California's Central Sierra. She is also Hallie's mom. She lives in Columbia, California.