There is nothing more sacred and profound as ushering a life out of this world into the next.
This week, after losing my mother from an intense and tragic 80 day battle with brain cancer, I am scheduled to return to my regular life. But, in truth, there is no return to the way life was before. People talk to me about moving on, about time healing all wounds, about getting back into a routine, to what was once my normal life.
In reality, I think it is impossible to experience the death of a parent, especially one that you were present for throughout his or her illness, without some kind of real life transformation. The question is, what does that transformation look like? Is it a radical change, or simply a series of small changes aimed at living a more authentic life, one where there are truly no guarantees of tomorrow.
I am just now coming to terms with the reality that grief is not a single moment it time when you miss the person you lost. It is many moments - it is holidays, birthdays, and vacations spent without that person. It is life in a new viewfinder. Especially when it comes to the loss of a parent, it is the loss in many cases of that unconditional love, your anchor to the world, the person who believed in you no matter what.
I believe in the power of tragedy to transform. My mother and I talked about how to make positive changes in my life in the weeks leading up to her death. She gave me her suggestions for what she wanted for me, for my future. Now, it is up to me to take the reins and allow that transformation to take place.
As a friend said to me the other day, "You can't get to second base without taking your foot off of first."
I'm not quite ready to take my foot off first base yet. I'm not even sure exactly what this means as it relates to my life. But when I do, I'll be sure to let you know ...
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.