Mariyam was six when her father, Nurtay, died just before his 34th birthday. Over the next 14 years, she would experience the deaths of four more family members, including her mother, Bagitgul, and maternal grandmother, who both died this past summer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mariyam's home city in Kazakhstan. Now 20, Mariyam is figuring out how to live without both of her parents. We talk about how COVID complicated everything about grieving these two new deaths. We also cover how well-intentioned phrases like "I can't imagine what you're going through," "You're so strong," and "I could never survive" can be painful to hear.
The poem Mariyam reads at the beginning of the episode is "The Mountain" by Laura Ding-Edwards.
Follow Mariyam on Instagram @marikoyes