Tatiana Butler, Nikiski senior dramatizes stages of grief at forensics competition
Nikiski Drama, Debate and Forensics (DDF) is a program that gives students an opportunity to hone real life skills. Nikiski senior Tatiana Butler recently applied her experiences to help organizations. Butler helped out the local Hospice organization when she performed a short piece on the stages of grief. The piece, entitled “Just Five Minutes,” by Joe Rizzo, illustrates the stages of grief for Hospice workers to identify and utilize in their volunteer service. “I really admire the people at Hospice,” said Butler. “It takes a lot of strength to do what they do and I really enjoyed working with them. I hope when others read the piece they too will relate,” added Butler. The following is the script performed by Butler:
“I rushed to you as fast as I could last week. I really did. Even though this was the forth time they told me that you wouldn’t make it through the night. This time, they were right. But why couldn’t you have hung on for just one more hour? Was that so much to ask for? Five minutes would have at least been something. Long enough to tell you... I don’t know. Something. We had all that time when you were sick. But it never seemed the right time to tell you how much I loved you, needed you. I wanted to hear that you were proud of me. Five minutes. Why couldn’t I have had just five minutes? You could have given me that since you’re going to miss the rest of my life. Graduation, my wedding, my 17th birthday next month. Well, you always said life wasn’t fair. Well, you were right. It sure as hell isn’t. I know it now. Do you even care? Do you even care that you left me and Dad? You know, Reverend Jensen stopped by yesterday. You know what he told me? It was God’s will. That God needed you and that’s why he called you home. What a load of crap. God doesn’t need you like I do? And if He thinks He does, well, I don’t want to have anything to do with Him. Maybe you’ve both deserted me.
Well, here’s to you, Mom. It’s been a year. A long, long year. You know it’s amazing how many people were at your funeral. And every one of them told me they were there for me. Every single person that went through that line at church and hugged me and told me it would be okay. They were all going to be there for me. But snow hadn’t even dusted your grave before everyone went back to their lives. Even some of my closest friends, didn’t seem interested in listening to me. I know it’s not their fault. It wasn’t that they didn’t care; it’s just that they didn’t know what to say. If only they knew they didn’t have to say anything. Just listen. Listen and don’t judge. “I’ll be there for you.” It’s so easy to say at the funeral. It’s a lot harder eight months later when you have to listen to someone say the same things over and over. Sometimes I get mad. I get angry at the thought that everyone has forgotten you. Everyone except me and Dad. And sometimes, I think he wants to forget. Sometimes, even he can’t talk about it. It makes him more miserable than he is. Everyone tells us, it will get better. But I think they’re wrong. I wonder how you can ever get over something like this.
I’m getting married today, mom. Just a month shy of the 5th anniversary of your death. I’ve learned a lot in those five years. Grown up a little I guess. I realized that all this time I was trying to get over your death and you leaving me when the reality is, you don’t ever really get over something like that. I was reaching out for a solution that was impossibility. I haven’t gone a day yet without thinking of you and I guess I never will. I guess I’ve come to realize that you just learn how to cope, accept things. Maybe the most important thing is I’ve learned that you don’t get better feeling sorry for yourself. You have to get out and serve people. Get out of your own problems and help others. That was also something you tried to teach me - give a little to others and your problems won’t be so overwhelming. I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with death. It’s so scary for so many people but I learned to help others. I teach them to not waste the time they have with someone they love who is going to be leaving them soon. I don’t want them to have to live with the mistake I made of always waiting for the right moment to say the right things. Well, maybe I can say them now. I have a minute before I walk down that aisle. I love you, mom, with all my heart and oh how I miss you. I miss how you would tell me I looked great in blue and how you would say, “It brings out your beautiful blue eyes.” I miss your pancakes. I miss your unwavering belief in me. I’m thankful for how well you taught me to believe in myself in just seventeen years we had together. I’m thankful that you gave me that to hold on to after you were gone - I’ve worked at turning that faith you had in me into self confidence - just like I knew you’d want me too. I’m also thankful for your example of serving people. Over the last five years, many times just out of the blue, people would call me or send me a card and tell me about something you had done for them many years ago. I guess they haven’t forgotten you. Maybe, they like me just didn’t know what to do when you died. Well, I know now - make something of myself. I can see now that your memory does live on in the things that I do. You live on in me. You know for years, I couldn’t stand Mother’s Day. I couldn’t even bear to get out of bed on that Sunday morning. But now, everyday is Mother’s Day. Every day, I try to do something that honors your memory, Mom. And as long as I do that, my life will mean something, just like yours did. I think you would be proud of me. In fact, I know you would be. Well, thanks for the five minutes. I guess I better get going. Dad and Jake are waiting for me. You’d like Jake, Mom. He’s a little bit like Dad. Not a surprise, I guess. And when I’m standing out there at the alter today in front of all those people, maybe you’ll be watching too. Maybe you didn’t miss my life after all.”
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