Siblings cope with change

While in high school, SHS students deal with parents passing away


Photo Contributed by Abby Dunn

SMS student Cecelia Dunn and sophomore Abby Dunn lay flowers at their mother’s grave. Both they and their brother Torey have now lost both of their parents.

Lyndsay Valadez, Reporter

Cuddling with her dog in the living room, SHS sophomore Abby Dunn’s heart fills with remembrance and her eyes with tears as she thinks of her dad, Torey Dunn Sr., and mom, Virginia Dunn. Abby Dunn, along with brother, senior Torey Dunn and sister Cecelia Dunn, have lost both of their parents in the short time of two years.

Abby and Torey’s family has been hit with an intense amount of new feelings and new changes to their everyday life.

Their aunt lives with them throughout the entire week while their uncle, due to his job, only lives with them on weekends. For this reason, Torey and Abby don’t feel much more independence. However, Abby does feel a new sense of maturity arising. A common feeling amongst the family is that it’s hard for them to wrap their heads around all that has happened.

“When it happens you know it’s happening, but you don’t really believe it,” Abby said.

Abby says she  is now more appreciative and aware of other’s feelings. When people tell her they understand what she’s going through, she doesn’t think they really can until it happens to themselves. Torey doesn’t think any death is ever the same and that death will effect each person differently. For example, he felt losing their father was harder because now he doesn’t know who to talk to.

To get his mind off of these unexpected changes, he tries to stay more involved in social activities, but this hasn’t been easy for Torey to get used to. In fact, he doesn’t think anyone can ever truly get used to something this severe.

“Losing both parents, it kinda makes you feel lost,” Torey said.

However, Abby looks at it as two losses rather than one all together. She differs from her brother, saying she is finding the loss of her dad easier to cope with, since the family had already been through one loss.

Abby can’t help but think back on memories with each of her parents and ponder what it might be like if they were still with her. It’s around the winter season, Abby’s least favorite season, that she is most upset because that’s near the time each parent passed away. As much as she tries, it’s difficult for her, as well as Torey, to find much good in any of it.

“I wanted to believe that (everything happens for a reason),” Abby said, “but since this has happened for the second time it’s like ‘what else do I have?’”  

Despite the few differences in how they feel, there is one thing for sure: change is underway. The biggest thing for them both is trying to grasp that everything is different. A big change coming up is that their aunt and uncle will soon be considered their new legal guardians. They moved all the way from Louisville to help out and since they were never able to have their own kids, this is an opportunity for each family member of that household to experience something most others don’t.

“Things are different at heart,” Torey said. “Everything now has it’s own challenge.”