With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin
Ah, another book that I remember always used to make me cry! Even though Liza isn't the oldest, as the oldest daughter she's still in some ways the most responsible, so I really identified with her. The way this book was structured was very nice. We get a good part of the book while Liza's father is still alive, his heart failing. We see the family interact with him and how he's such a great father. Then we get the immediate aftermath of his death, and the later consequences such as moving out of the family home, her mother going back to school, and the kids having to take on even more responsibility themselves. I thought the exploration of Liza's guilt was beautifully handled, and also I know that as a child it showed me that there were deeper emotions one would feel in this situation than just sadness. And of course, the primary reason kids read these kinds of sad books is in preparation for dealing with sad situations themselves (though hopefully not this one exactly.) The book is honest, sympathetic, and feels very real. I'm quite shocked to see it's out of print.
I think I really ought to read One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies. I obviously really like these kinds of books (or at least did when I was a teen). In my rereads this month I've read a book where the sister dies, the Dad, a brother, and where a best friend is deathly ill (but survives). Oddly, I guess the only one I haven't read is one where the mother dies, but I'm sure I still have one on my bookcase somewhere. I'll hunt it down to be sure I've covered all the bases.