One year ago today, my precious mother departed this world.
In many ways, I can close my eyes and remember the moment like it was yesterday. Thankfully, I was with her and was given the gift of knowing she died peacefully.
In the past year, however, it is not this moment that I have dwelled on, but all the other moments that came before it. Sure, I remember her illness vividly as I was her caregiver every step of the journey, but slowly I am discovering those memories are being replaced by the joy I shared with her throughout the 46 years that I was lucky enough to have her in my life. There are more days now when I stop and smile remembering something that we shared or see something that reminds me of the things we used to laugh about together.
She had a wicked sense of humor. Recently, I started keeping a list of things that would have made her chuckle. For example: the senior citizens at my pool doing water aerobics to a saucy song and a man arrested this past week whose idea of a disguise was to cover his face with Noxzema.
The other project I have been working on over the past year is a book about my mother and the journey we shared together as she was dying. It has been both cathartic and emotionally draining, but I believe as a writer that writing about one’s pain is the best way to truly understand it and work through it. I am now putting the finishing touches on what I see a story of learning how to live from someone who is dying.
The famous writer and movie producer, Nora Ephron, died shortly before my mother. Months later, Ephron’s son wrote a column about her final days. He said that she told him she hoped he would have several moments in his lifetime after she passed where he would be so proud of something he had accomplished that he would say: “I sure wish Mom was here to see this.”
As I move forward past the first anniversary of her death this is my wish for the future — moments that would have made Mom proud.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.