Love and Loss – Avon – Towne Post Network
Avon High School seniors discuss grief and life after parent’s death
There are pivotal days in every teenager‘his life, including going to the ball, finding a driver‘s bachelor’s degree and high school diploma. Over the course of four years of high school, teens also experience other highlights – perhaps special moments in sports or standing in the spotlight on stage. Unfortunately, however, sometimes other pivotal days come to the surface when life takes an unexpected blow. Such was the case for Avon High School seniors Hannah Hughes, whose mother died when she was a freshman, and Carson Dossey, whose father died during her sophomore year. Despite their shock and sadness, the two teens found ways to persevere, move on, and honor their parents by happily embracing life.
On March 16, 2019, Hughes, 15 at the time, was competing in a state choir competition. Before going on stage, a strange feeling came over him.
“I knew something was up but I didn’t‘I don’t know what,” she recalls. Following her performance, her sister finds her.
“This‘her mom,” her sister said. “We have to go.”
In recent years, her mother Missy had suffered from heart problems and several strokes. She also struggled with other physical and mental health issues that worsened over time. However, its decline came quickly.
“My sisters and I sat by her side all night, holding her hand,” Hughes says. The following day, she died at the age of 53.
In the first days and weeks after her mother’s death, Hughes struggled to get out of bed as she battled feelings of depression and guilt for not spending more quality time with her mother. .
“It hurts to know that I could have seen her more but I didn’t‘t because I had a hard time seeing her so sick,” she says.
In an effort to get better headspace, Hughes spoke openly with her sisters about how she felt. She also started keeping a diary.
“It helped me express my emotions in something,” she says. “I was‘t in a great frame of mind then, but he‘It’s good to look back now and see how far I’ve come‘I came.
One of his biggest difficulties since his mother‘The death of her listened to people talk about what they do with their parents.
“Hearing others talk about their mother really touches my heart because I can‘I don’t feel that way anymore,” she said. “Mother‘s Day is particularly difficult.
Throughout her high school career, Hughes proactively tried activities that would make her mother proud, starting with stepping out of her comfort zone by being more social.
“She spoke to everyone, but I‘I have social anxiety so I‘I pushed myself to be outgoing like she was,” Hughes says.
After graduating, she plans to take a year off to earn money, then head to the Big Apple to land special effects and stage makeup work.
“I want to work on film sets,” she says. “This‘is my main goal.
A self-proclaimed “theater nerd,” she began doing makeup for theater performances in eighth grade. The past two Halloween seasons, she‘her also worked at Hanna Haunted Acres doing makeup and acting as “more frightening.
“I made a lot of friends working there,” she says. “It helped me get out of my bubble.” It also proved to boost her confidence, as she worked with a makeup artist who worked on movie sets with Dwayne. “The Rock” Johnson.
“She complimented my makeup technique and told me my lines looked good,” Hughes says.
The accolades make Hughes think of all the times his mother encouraged and supported his passion for acting and choir. Missy looked proudly at her daughter‘s theatrical performance in her eighth grade production of “The Wizard of Oz”, when she was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West. Although her devilish laugh is deliciously perfect, she is her mother.‘loud laughter that makes Hughes smile.
“I vividly remember being on stage and looking at the audience in front of his beaming face,” Hughes said. “His laughter was everything. Mom‘his death had a huge impact on my life, but I‘I am forever grateful for her and for everything we shared.
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It was January 2020, and the world was not yet closed when Carson Dossey‘The world is collapsing around him. Her father Kelly, a local soccer referee who has hosted tournaments for several soccer clubs here and in other states, began to feel unwell on a Wednesday after returning from a work trip to Baltimore. Given her symptoms, her doctor prescribed her flu medicine, but that was not the case.‘t help his high fever, nausea or extreme fatigue. Even though he felt bad, he assumed he‘d rest and return to normal by the following week. Four days later, however, Kelly died in her sleep at the age of 55. Dossey was only 16 years old. His father’s death was such a shock as he had been completely healthy the previous week.
Dossey had attended Winter Jam, a contemporary Christian music concert, two weeks before her father‘s happening. An entertainer named Austin French sang a song called “Why God,” and the lyrics resonated with Dossey.
“After dad died, I thought, ‘Maybe‘That’s why I love this song so much,” he says. “I realized that all the puzzle pieces of your life finally fit together. Luckily I didn’t‘Don’t walk down a super dark path like some people do when they’re grieving. I trusted it would get better.
Grieving can manifest in different ways.
“My sisters looked at the negatives and I looked at the positives,” Dossey says. “The‘I always regret when it comes to losing, but I wanted to focus on the good memories.
Football was a family passion and Kelly coached all of his children in the sport, including Dossey, from the age of 3. When Dossey was 13, his team traveled to Orlando to compete in a tournament. He went to Disney World with his dad, which was extra special considering the couple love thrill rides. He estimates his family has been to Kings Island over 100 times. One of his favorite memories with his father is of Delirium, the largest Frisbee-style ride of its kind in the world.
“Me and dad used to watch the show ‘Impractical Jokers’ where this guy would randomly yell Larry’s name so when we were putting on Delirium my dad who had a super loud voice was yelling ‘Larry!’ Dossey recalls with a chuckle.
Kelly had a fun and upbeat personality, which he passed on to his son. The best life lesson Kelly ever taught her children was to simply be nice to everyone.
“He was happy no matter the situation,” Dossey says. “He always had a smile on his face. He wanted to uplift everyone around him.
Much of Dossey‘The healing journey involved music. He had always wanted to learn to play an instrument, so when COVID hit he bought a guitar and learned to play it by watching YouTube videos.
He also started recording his feelings in a diary. This year, two years after his father passed away, Dossey pulled out his diary and turned his notes into a song he titled “I love you more. When he performed it at a choir concert honoring his father, there was‘a dry eye in the house.
“A lot of people have told me the song touched them,” Dossey says.
Her friends from the choir, the church community and her grandfather all played a part in helping her heal. He also appreciates the transparency of those who have shared their own grief journey with him.
“There’s a lot of people you don’t have‘I don’t realize I’ve been through similar situations,” he says. “I asked teachers to come and talk to me about what they had experienced.
When he graduates later this month, Dossey plans to go to college and major in criminal justice, then join the military for SWAT training. His end goal is to become a K9 officer. Mostly, he just wants to make his dad proud.
“What I miss the most is the connection we had,” Dossey says. “I have a stepdad who is old school and loves cars. My dad was super athletic and super emotional. I learned both sides of manhood from both of them.
Hannah and Carson‘s Advice for newly grieving adolescents:
“Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Confide in a good group of friends. Eat, sleep, keep a journal. -Hannah
“Try to remember the positives because most of the time they outweigh the negatives. –Carson
“Experiment with different things and activities to try to keep your mind active instead of focusing on this one situation. -Hannah
“Everything in life is a learning curve. Grow from this experience. –Carson
“Let yourself cry, but also take care of yourself. -Hannah