Marisa Bardach Ramel was 17 when her mother Sally, received a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and given two months to live. While they were always close, Marisa retreated into school and friends, avoiding her mom and her attempts to connect. Then, when Sally outlived the prognosis and Marisa was a freshman in college, her mom asked if she wanted to write a book together. Almost twenty years later, Marisa recently published their mother-daughter memoir, The Goodbye Diaries. In their alternating chapters, readers get a window into how they were processing Sally’s diagnosis, treatment, and approaching end of life very differently. The process of writing the book also created a pathway for Marisa and Sally to re-establish a close relationship during their last years together.
In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.
Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.
Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this second mini-episode, Megan, Michael, and Mason talk about life after Michael and Mason's dad died.
*Music by Chad Crouch.*