I'm having a hard time getting out of the house in the morning. The main reason: I am obsessed with the obituaries.
I have always had an interest in reading them. They are little vignettes, glimpses into the stories of people's lives. As a memoir writer, I am always fascinated with how someone's life can be boiled down into a few simple paragraphs. That was until I had to write my mother's obituary and the task of reducing her life to a single column of facts turned out to be daunting.
I now read them with a different eye. I want to really know who the person is, not just about their job or where they went to school, but about the kind of people they were in life and how they touched others. I admit I am also a bit obsessed with ages, who lived longer than my mom and why. The latter, of course, will never be answered.
I am also very interested in how people died. It is human nature, the nature also of the journalist to want to know. I want to know not because I am nosy, but because I want to know what kind of cancer or heart disease is the most rampant. What research is underfunded? What are we not aware of that we need to know more about? I think it is a great service to let people know for that reason.
As I head into the week where I will be hosting my mother's memorial service in her home church in Pennsylvania, I am thinking about another way we remember our loved ones: The eulogy. I will deliver my mother's eulogy.
In it, I will not talk about where she went to college or law school, what professional acclaim she received, but just about her essence, about who she really was and what she meant to people around her. Because in death, she was not a lawyer or a Duke graduate, but just a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a friend ...
And on Aug. 18 when I deliver my mother's eulogy, I will not be a writer, or a television reporter, just a daughter remembering her beloved mother.
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.