Polite people don’t talk about death. It is whispered about, confined to nursing homes, hospitals, and dark quiet back bedrooms.

 

As adult children of dying parents, we are woefully unprepared for the journey that most of us will eventually take — trying to figure out how to usher our loved ones out of the world with dignity and grace.

 

On April 20, 2012, my journey with my mother began. She was a beautiful, vibrant, independent attorney who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. I became her everything — her caregiver, her advocate, the protector of her heart and her spirit. I didn’t ask for this role, but I was chosen for it.

 

For eighty days, my mother lived in the most unlived room in my house — the living room. In that time, more living went on in that room than had ever before taken place there.

 

Family and friends from all walks of life pulled up chairs around her bed. We ate. We drank. We sang. We cried. But mostly, we learned how to live again.

 

My mother died in that room on July 8, 2012. This is her story, my story, and every adult child’s story of what it is like to be transformed by the power fo death.

The Living Room (2014)

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"Anyone who has had someone close to them — parent or sibling or whatever — who has suffered a catastrophic illness will find familiar emotional territory. For anybody else, it’s an informative and cautionary tale about everyone’s future."

— Leon Capetanos, screenwriter and director

 

"Amanda Lamb is a miner. Her excavations in 'The Living Room' will make you laugh and cry. You may even find yourself angry with God. Her insight might also change your life."

—  Rev. David Crabtree, co-worker and 

permanent deacon, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

© AMANDA LAMB