A very wise person recently told me that when we go through something traumatic, we often deal with it by telling our story to people. This can be in person, or, as in my case, as a writer, on paper.
And she said that each time we tell that story, it changes. It changes not because the actual events change, but because the way we look back on it changes as we gain new perspective over time.
When my mother was dying, I was very angry. That anger colored all of my re-telling of the moments we shared together, even the good ones. After she died, I became quite sad, and hence, that sadness tinged all of my renditions in person and on paper.
But as I travel further through the tunnel of grief, there are now slivers of light seeping into the tunnel from the other side. I am starting to tell the stories with more tenderness and humor than I did before.
It is amazing how we can rewrite our history not by changing the events themselves, but by changing how we reflect on them and process them. For example, I know in many ways that the gifts my mother gave me in her life, and while she was dying, have made me, and are continuing to make me, a better mother.
So, when I strip away the anger and the sadness, I can find the beauty that defined my relationship with my mother, and will in turn, hopefully, define my relationship with my daughters.
All good writers know that editing is critical to creating excellent pieces of writing. It has actually become one of my most favorite parts of the writing process, improving upon my first inclinations, refining them, polishing them, and then sharing a finished product that I am proud of.
So, bear with me as I continue to rewrite the story of my loss and sift through the sand to find the shiny gems at the bottom of the bucket.
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.