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After late mom's experience with domestic abuse, Forest City teen hopes to help others

After late mom's experience with domestic abuse, Forest City teen hopes to help others

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FOREST CITY | Forest City High School freshman Alexandria Brahm is turning her grief over the loss of her mother into action.

Brahm's essay about her mother was chosen for a series of National Resource Center for Domestic Violence podcasts titled "I'm an Activist" posted online last month.

In her podcast Brahm talks about how her mother's experiences with domestic abuse have prompted her to help others.

"My fight with grief isn't over and it never will be, but some people's fights are just beginning and I can help with that," Brahm said in her podcast.

After she graduates from high school, Brahm plans to volunteer with Crisis Intervention Services, which assists survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Her stepmother, Nicole Hamilton-Brahm, is a violent crime program supervisor with CIS.

In her podcast Brahm describes how doctors predicted her mother, Shawntel, who was born prematurely, would have a learning disability.

Shawntel proved them wrong, graduating a year earlier than expected. 

However, she later developed an addiction to painkillers and "became someone I had to take care of instead of her taking care of me," Brahm said.

Brahm was very young at the time and didn't really understand why her parents got divorced and why her mother didn't come to her events. 

"I refuse to blame this all on my mom," Brahm said in her podcast, noting the hold of drugs "is simply too overpowering for most people."

After the divorce Brahm continued to visit her mom off and on.

Her mother dated a man who slammed her head into some concrete because she didn't clean the house the way he wanted her to, according to Brahm.

She then dated and married another man, who at first seemed to her like a knight rescuing from her previous abusive relationship, Brahm said.

However, he turned out to be very controlling, not even letting her mother buy a can of pop without his knowing about it, according to Brahm.

Then in May 2016 Brahm's mother became ill and begged her husband to take her to the hospital but to no avail, she said. 

Three days later Brahm learned that her mother was dead. She said that she's been in mourning even since for what will never be.

"Every accomplishment is torture to me because she's not there to see it," she stated in her podcast.

Not long after her mom's death, Brahm experienced another heavy loss when her father, Jason, died in a motorcycle accident.

She told the Summit-Tribune that her stepmother has been "kind and loving" and her friends and teachers have been supportive as she deals with her grief.

She said being able to share her mother's experiences through the podcast "means absolutely everything." 

In a small town like Forest City, stories like her mom's often don't get told, according to Brahm.

"I wanted her to be remembered through a story," she said.

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