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Amanda Lamb: Because she lived

Posted July 10, 2012

My mother, Madeline Hartsell Lamb, died early Sunday morning after a brief, but intense struggle with brain cancer.

While I am relieved that she is finally out of pain and at peace, there are no words to describe what it feels like to live in a world without her. In large part, this is part of the process of grief, a process that begins before a loved one passes and extends indefinitely into the future after he or she dies. But there is also another component to dealing with death - no one teaches us how to handle it.

Our culture is rich with traditions and celebrations revolving around ushering life into the world, but when it comes to death our culture is woefully unprepared to handle it. We speak of it in hushed tones, are at a loss for words and then simply expect adults to “buck up” and move on.

Yet, in my mind, being part of ushering someone out of the world is the single most profound and sacred experience I have ever gone through in my life. Being there, literally being there, is something that is inexplicable even to a person who spins words for a living.

There is one group that does understand the process of death, Hospice. Although my experience with Hospice of Wake County was brief, I found them to be extraordinarily compassionate and knowledgeable at a time when I needed them the most. Hopefully, I will be able to use my experience in the future when I am stronger to help others in my life who will undoubtedly go through a similar ordeal at some point.

For now, I must learn to live in a world without Madeline.

The world was brighter because she lived. I was brighter because she lived. Someday, I hope that I will learn how to shine again in her honor.

Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. She regularly writes for Go Ask Mom on Mondays. Since May, she's been writing about her journey with her mom. Read more about her mother on her CaringBridge site.


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  • Casu-Al Jul 12, 2012

    I just discovered your mother's passing from a friend I recently met through a blog I write about melanoma awareness. Donna knew your mother fairly well and spoke highly of her...even before she realized that I might know who you are. That's testimony to the type of woman your mother was (and is) as she apparently made a positive impact on many others' lives all over this land.

    My brother passed away 16 months ago from melanoma which had metastisized to the brain, and it was a very quick illness. Nothing prepares one for such an event...whether it be the one who is sick or loved ones. I discovered after his passing how he had impacted so many others, and I felt it as a calling to continue his advocacy for melanoma awareness..while at the same time, living life to its fullest and cherishing each moment on its own merit. He told me that each day might not be your favorite day, but you need to make it your best day. It sounds like your mother lived that same way.

    My thoughts and

  • mudmom2 Jul 11, 2012

    my thoughts and prayers are with you ....stay strong and remember the good times....

  • cjnall Jul 11, 2012

    There is no "right" way to grieve so always give yourself the benefit of doing what heals you. You have my deepest sympathy. My "mama" died 12 years ago and I still find myself dialing her number to talk to her!

  • GLFriday Jul 11, 2012

    I am sorry for your loss.

    You are correct. We are ill-equipped for grief. I had prayed for healing for the child listed on the link I attached. I have prayed for her mother since her death. I will pray for you also. Her mother had written this week about her passing and the grieving process over the last two years.

    Here is her mother's profound statement.
    "Grief is a process. It is not an illness, not something we will get over. It is more like a disability, something we will have to learn to live with. We have lost a part of our hearts. Our heart will still beat without this part, but it hurts sometimes and it takes more effort to keep going. We still smile, laugh, and enjoy life, but there is always a feeling of something missing, something off, no matter what we do. We will never be able to live as we were before. I don't want to. I don't want to live as if she were never here."

  • michelleb Jul 11, 2012

    Sorry to hear about your mom, but she doesn't have to suffer any longer. So glad you shared your journey as it will help others that are experiencing this type of cancer. May God continue to comfort & give you peace. My thoughts & prayers to you & your family.

  • mama2two Jul 11, 2012

    i'm very sorry.

  • lynchannette27 Jul 11, 2012

    I have recently been following your blog. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I also just lost my Mom on Thursday 07/05/12 @ 1:30 am, after 3+ years of having health issuses. It is always no matter what hard to say good-bye. I have memories, pictures and the love she gave to me to carry me through the rough spots, but not a physical body. Each day I seem to miss her more and more, they say time helps, but we will see. Her birthday is just a couple of weeks away and it seems strange not to think of celebrating with her. Take Care Amanda, and do as a good friend told me. Cry when you feel like it, get angry, get happy but always know she is with you.

  • 42ndstreetoyster Jul 11, 2012

    Amanda, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. This prayer helped me thru my mother's death.

    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon them.
    May they rest in peace.


  • Killian Jul 11, 2012

    Amanda...I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope the joy of your memories bring you peace.

  • savethedrama Jul 11, 2012

    Amanda, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. I send heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Based on your reflections of her, i sense she was an amazing and strong woman. Take comfort in knowing that she no longer has to suffer. You are already shining by honoring your mother through sharing this story. You and your family will be in my prayers. The Lord Bless and Keep you and yours always.