When we least expect it, life throws us a curve ball - a bend in the road so sharp that we can’t imagine navigating it without ending up upside down in a ditch. This past week, my family was faced with such a sharp curb.
My beautiful, vibrant, brilliant mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Just last week, she was arguing cases in court and now she is trying to figure out what to do with a toothbrush. After many discussions, we moved her from her home state of Pennsylvania to North Carolina to be treated at Duke. But even more importantly, we moved her here so that we could circle the wagons of our family and surround her with love.
Nothing that we learn in life prepares us for this moment, the time when the roles become reversed and we must step up to the plate and do what is needed. My mother not only cared for me for 45 years, but she has imparted so much wisdom, so much joy, humor and strength. I am now drawing on those lessons, and hoping that I’ve been a good student, good enough to navigate what is shaping up to be the most difficult journey of my life.
Ironically, my daughters are now my strength in this struggle. They are not only helping with their grandmother, but they are helping me cope with the many emotions I am feeling. Even in the midst of tragedy, there are gifts - family dinners that we never seemed to have time for before, deeper and richer connections with relatives and old friends, and a sense of understanding of what’s really important in life.
That may sound cliché, but anyone who has ever been here will understand that you don’t come out on the other side of this the same as you were before. My family will somehow survive this painful bend in the road, and hopefully, my mother’s gifts to us will allow us to make the next phase of our lives more meaningful than before.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood and parenting. Find her here on Mondays.