Grief sucks…but not always

My dad captures this heartwarming hug shared between my mom and I
My dad captures this heartwarming hug shared between my mom and I
Major Nunn

For some people, going to high school can already be challenging as it is.

In a new environment around different people and their cruel inputs, which is nothing compared to being in middle school.

The biggest challenge that I faced once I started high school was losing my mom.

The same day that COVID hit and my sister and I got out of school, my mom was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This is something I had always known was a possibility for people, but I never thought it would happen to my mom. 

Growing up as a kid, I had to watch my mom go through a lot of medical problems, and I felt as though I had an obligation to act tough and strong because I was the oldest, and that feeling circled back when the devastating news broke that she had cancer.

It wasn’t just a battle for her, but for our whole family as well. My mom was always so driven when it came to anything. So when the cancer came, she fought her hardest till the very end.

Later on in 2020, she ended up beating cancer, and that was such a relieving and joyous moment. I just remember watching a video of her walking through the cancer treatment center while all the nurses cheered her on as she rang abell melodiously through the halls while “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston played in the background. 

Then came 2021, and her cancer had come back, but this time it was stage 4.

After that, it seemed like she was fading away from us day by day, which was painful for me to sit idly by and just watch. I had to watch her go through so much from being extremely weak to wailing in pain while an ambulance came to get her in the middle of the night.

This was truly the worst moment of my life. 

This also happened to be around the time that it was going to be her birthday. I was so scared that she wasn’t even going to make it to her birthday but I’m very glad she did. However, that day didn’t feel right because my family and I could all tell that she wasn’t like herself due to all the medicine she had to take. All I did was cry that night because I knew I was about to lose my mom but I tried to hold on to some slim chance of hope. 

Five days later, she passed away on a beautiful, snowy Sunday morning. As much as everyone felt down, I feel that we also had peace within our spirits that we would no longer have to see her suffer. 

At the beginning of this year, my dad found out about a grief camp in Michigan that my sister and I could go to. 

Experience Camps, or EXCAMPS, takes place at the beginning of August, but the dates differ depending on what camp you go to.

There are many located throughout the country, with camps in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Maryland.

We were both a little nervous about being away for an entire week in another state, but I was so glad to have that type of experience because I finally felt like I could connect with other people around the same age as me who had lost someone close to them.

Despite the reasons why we were truly there, we also had fun every day with activities like tubing on the lake, baking, ziplining, having dance parties and more.

There was a bountiful amount of support and love from people who came to a camp for only one week.

Meeting people from all around the world that you probably thought you would never become friends with.

I made a great amount of friends while I was there and it happened so quickly, it felt like I had already known them before. 

With this being my first time at camp, this had also been my first time opening up to people and telling them my mom’s story and the impact it had on my family. Everyone in that room showed so much empathy and support. It felt amazing, despite these people being strangers.

I also stepped out of my comfort zone and talked to people of a variety of different ages who were going through the same thing as me: grief. 

It taught me so many lessons on how to deal with my grief, how it’s okay to show it, and techniques and methods I can use when I start to feel sad, angry, lonely and any other feelings. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Voyager Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *