This past weekend, we took my children to the Jersey Shore to see my family. It was an annual vacation that had been planned for earlier in the summer, but postponed due to my mother's illness. While it was welcoming to be in the arms of my family and to do familiar things in a familiar place, there was also a lingering sadness because part of this annual trip used to involve my mother.
I'm not sure when being reminded of someone who has died will stop hurting so much. It is hard to measure grief on a daily basis because just when you think you are moving forward, making real progress, you take two steps back and you are right back in the thick of it again.
My children, however, love the traditions of this annual vacation - miniature golf, ice cream, the zoo, kayaking. For them, this was a necessary journey back to normalcy, back to a place where Mommy isn't always so sad.
Sometimes, I think the only answer is to do new things and go to new places, places that don't remind me of my mother, but I know this is unrealistic. I also know that it is important for my children to continue to enjoy family traditions, even those that include painful reminders for me of what I've lost.
I am trying to look at grief as a season right now, a part of the life cycle that we as human beings really have no control over. There is no moving on, bucking up, or getting over it as well-meaning people often suggest. It is simply something one must accept, bear, and go through.
Soon, the leaves will change colors from green to golden hues and fall from their limbs. The air will turn chilly and snow will cascade from gray skies blanketing the earth. Eventually, after the spring rains, bright flowers will push through the hard ground and bloom again. The change of seasons is an inevitable part of the cycle of life. We know the changes are coming. We count on them.
Hopefully, my season of grief will give way to positive change, and when the season changes, so will I ...
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.