“Everything is copy,” the famed writer and movie producer Nora Ephron said to her kids on her death bed. And to a writer, this is so true. I experience things every day of my life that I want to write about. Some are funny, others are poignant. As a writer, that’s how we process our world. Artists paint, musicians compose, and writers write.
When my mother was dying from a malignant brain tumor in summer 2012, I started a CaringBridge site to keep her friends and distant family informed about her constantly evolving condition. But soon, the blog posts became a cathartic vehicle to share the difficult emotions I was experiencing.
Not only did I get a chance to write down my feelings, but I shared them with people who gave me love and support in return. I also heard from hundreds of people who had gone through similar situations. They told me they appreciated my sharing my experience with them because it gave words to their emotions, words they had not been able to find before.
At the time, my mother also enthusiastically contributed to the blog. “Write that down,” she would demand from her hospital bed in my living room when something funny, awful or bizarre happened during our 80-day journey together. “That has to go in the blog!”
Out of that blog came a book called “The Living Room.” It’s an opportunity for me not only to share the pain, but the overwhelming honor I had in being able to care for my mother and usher her out of this world to the next with as much grace and dignity as possible.
In the process, I listened to her and learned more about life than about dying. I hope it will help begin a dialogue between adult children and their aging parents about end-of-life issues.
The book is my story, my mother’s story, and the story of everyone who has every had the privilege of caring for someone they love. It is available on Amazon. For more details go to www.alambauthor.com.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books. Find her here on Mondays.