The Changes In Our Lives Uncategorized Episode 1: Lexi: The Impact of Losing Daniel, Part 1

Episode 1: Lexi: The Impact of Losing Daniel, Part 1

Lexi discusses the impact of losing her brother Daniel to Ewing’s Sarcoma. Lexi discusses her own experience, as well as how Daniel’s diagnosis and eventual passing changed both her and the dynamics of her family.

Lexi Osborn self-describes as highly empathetic, extroverted creator who values the balance of rational analysis and intuition. She is someone who loves to wrestle with making abstract concepts applicable to our day-to-day life. Lexi channels these characteristics into a deep passion for supporting others in their path to finding fulfillment, improving their lives, and life-long learning. These passions and aptitudes currently manifest in her work as a Certified Professional Coach, a certification she received through the Institute for Professional Excellence In Coaching (IPEC), and her full-time role in training and development at a non-profit committed to defending individual rights across the country. 

Although she hails from the Chicagoland area, she now is living her interior-decorating dreams at her house with her partner, Raúl, in Richmond, VA. If she’s not eating at one of the many amazing RVA restaurants and/or dancing around to music, you’ll most likely find her on a long walk with her head in the clouds or curled up on the porch with her nose in a book.

If you’re interested in reaching out to Lexi, you can find her on LinkedIn by clicking here.


Stacie Crawford 00:00 
Today we have Lexi with us who is a friend of mine. We have Believe it or not known each other for almost two years now. Wow. That’s right. I was thinking about it last night. I was like, boy, I can’t believe how much time has passed since we met. You know, we’ve we haven’t met in person just online. And we’ve had great conversations. And whenever I put out the call to Hey, would anybody like to be on my podcast? Lexi answered the call. So, Lexi, why don’t you take a minute and introduce yourself really quickly. 

Lexi Osborn 00:41 Yeah. So hello, everybody. My name is Lexi. I currently live in Richmond, Virginia, we, my partner and I were just down here, like three months ago, which is all the boxes you see in the background, if you’ve ever moved, which I imagine you probably have in your life, you can really resonate with my chaos. I am a certified professional coach. As of like a week ago, I finished I finally got completed, which is how CZ and I know each other. And I’m 29 years old. So I’m on the cusp of a lot of like current transitions. It’s funny. I’m 29. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. And I’ve been in this nonprofit field for my entire career thus far. And I’m currently doing a training and development with a nonprofit so they can, they can upskill all their workers so they can kick butt, I mean the world a better place. So I’m currently doing so the coaching kind of blends into that really nicely. I also love to love to read, currently, like annoyed at anybody that interrupts my current reading of this one book. And I love to decorate. So even though it’s chaos with all the cardboard boxes behind me, I’m actually love having a new space to decorate. So this is just a little little snippet about me. 

Stacie Crawford 02:13 Excellent. Excellent. So when we were talking about getting together to record, we talked about one specific topic, but then had this realization, you know, that oh my gosh, there are so many things connected to it. So many sub transitions or micro transitions. And how funny is it that you are in addition to what we’re about to talk about, you also have all these other transitions going on in your life, you know, new move, new certification, new job, you know, all of these amazing, amazing things. So we decided that we were going to talk about Daniel. So tell me about Daniel. 

Lexi Osborn 03:01 

Yes. So, Daniel is my brother. He passed away back in October 2016, from terminal cancer. And he fought that for like nine and a half years. He was diagnosed at age 23. I was 14, there’s like eight to nine years between us. And so that the when he finally passed, that was a really, really big transition. That is probably the most powerful experience I’ve ever gone through and definitely, like the most the craziest transition I’ve ever experienced. He was he was wonderful. Still is wonderful. I feel it’s sometimes I honestly sometimes I still forget he’s done because he’s just so in my head, my heart. But he was brilliant, like super high IQ. Incredibly musical. He was a top trumpet player when he was in high school. Got to like I think he was like 30 in the state. It’s an incredible musician. absolutely hilarious. I can I can like anything that makes me funny. You have to credit my brother. I absorbed as much of his style of humor as possible. He was tall and very very expressive, very expressive. We had that have that in common. But yeah, he he fought really, really hard. He fought really hard for a long time. And it’s just the tragedy that we all went through. And it was him being ill was the real Like a central point of my life for my adolescence, so it’s very, very impactful for me, but I really, really miss him. understatement. And his birthday is birthdays coming up in August. So usually I try to do something like for myself for his birthday, but yeah, so not surprising that there’s probably a good chance I want to cry at least once during this podcast because Because yeah, I missed my brother. He was my only sibling. Yeah. 

Stacie Crawford 05:31 

And you know, you were so young when he was diagnosed too. So that alone had to be very impactful being so young and watching someone that you love, who is also young, because you said he was 23. That that had to be really scary for you actually, as a little kid to see someone young and like young people aren’t supposed to get sick, right? Especially little kids think that way. So that had to be really hard. And I’m wondering how how your family had to adapt to that was, you know, adapting to someone having a terminal illness had to be really difficult for all of you. 

Lexi Osborn 06:21 

Yeah, yeah. We each handled it very differently. I mean, my parents, at least for the first couple years, my parents kept a lot of trying to keep some of the really serious aspects from me, because they’re trying to protect me. And so they, they never told me exactly what the odds were of him surviving past a year were until like, you know, three, three years later, it was like a, like a less than 5% chance or something like that. It was that he’d make it past year because it was it’s, he had Ewing sarcoma, ew ing apostrophe s sarcoma. It’s very rare. Just it just is very, very rare. And usually, it’s actually technically like pediatric cancer. So most people that get it are kids. But it’s so like, he actually spent most of his time in treatment in the Kids Hospital, which is much more cheerful. Honestly, he didn’t mind it. And he, I think he had said a few times that it was actually he thinks it helped him because it’s more cheerful in there. And you see these amazingly resilient children. But, um, but yeah, we, we all handled it very differently. And my dad kind of was always in the, in the, the unfair characteristic of it would be like he was in denial, which is something that like my mom would say about where he was, and sometimes I agree with her, but I think he just shut down like this as a possibility and was just so focused on getting everything he needed. And he was my brother’s primary caretaker. For certain parts of of the Daniel’s illness. But both my parents were really, really strong advocates for him. Especially my mom, she’s in like the she’s, she’s a neuropsychologist, she’s worked in and she was working at a hospital, so she really could advocate for him. And so my mom, my mom’s approach was, was advocate for him really hard to get him the best doctors and, and just trying to survive, she went to like survival mode. And my dad, my dad’s way of handling it was to kind of like, very, very optimistic, very, very hopeful, and, you know, really just being really, really diligent with everything that the doctor said and tracking everything. He did that when I was ill as a baby. He did that his home notebooks. And so he has similar files for Daniel and his he’s always he was always upbeat and cheerful. But my mom, it was you can tell that there’s just sort of a permanent sadness that she held and, and then for me, they tried to protect me as much from the level of seriousness as they could, but it’s just not really possible. Like, you know, his room was right, we shared a wall. So I would hear him coughing and vomiting throughout the night from chemo. And, you know, I was he actually almost died from a first year from experimental brown, brown bone marrow transfusion treatment. But it was his own Bone, like his own blood is on marrow being filtered out. So it wasn’t he got somebody else’s. They were trying to filter out literally all the cancer and very experimental, very serious and he’s in the hospital for a month. And they almost died because they have an allergic reaction, something that they gave him and no one was listening. And I remember getting a call, middle of the night, my mom was there, because my parents are taking turns State Hospital. And I just heard my mom on the phone, like, talking to him trying to like saying just how much like saying I love you too, like, it’s going to be okay. And luckily she she being she being who my mother is, was able to like just very aggressively from the house, like that the doctors, the doctors to actually pay attention. And so they were able to, they’re able to save him, but he was he definitely thought he was dying. And so like, there’s just, you know, there there years of him, like, you know, getting fevers around the holidays and having to spend those in the hospital. And so I would say with my uncle, there are just a lot of things where the way that there was nothing I really could do as a kid, like the only thing I could do was not add to what my family was dealing with. So that is how I decided to handle it. Because you’re asked like, hey, that must have been, like I fell on the handle. And we all kind of took on different role. And my role was I wanted to just be somebody that Daniel could be with, I wanted to be his sister. I didn’t, I didn’t want to wear my pain, like I knew that my mother, my mother did. I mean, that’s not a criticism on her. That’s just, that’s where she was, right. That’s where she was and, and you know that that’s really hard to be around. And so I was like, I don’t want to wear it, I want to compartmentalize it, I don’t want to add to my add anything to the burden of what my parents or my family is going through. So I just made sure that like I took care of myself as best as a 14 year old can comprehend what that is. And at that time, it meant doing well in school, you know, going not telling my parents I was having going through emotional times. Like I like sought out a lot of other adults and friends in my life who were able to help with that. Like my godmother who’s also my flute teacher, she basically cried in our in our flute lessons are weak. And so and I just compare it mental, I threw myself into reading with tons of fiction, which is definitely a this has been leftover as a coping mechanism for anytime, anytime things get stressful. But yeah, that I that’s I wanted to be somebody who did not need to be worried about and to just handled, handled everything. And that was like, I remember maybe making that like as a conscious decision. I was like, I just can’t, I need to just take care of myself because I cannot put my family through anything else. And so I think I did a decent job of that. He did a decent job of that. And then as I got older, it was more about like, I wanted to be able to be somebody that Dale didn’t have to put a front on what no matter what was going on. And then somebody somebody who would advocate for him, even if it meant going like toe to toe with my parents, which I never really had to but the there were there were times where like I you know, there are there are other really like along this nine and a half year time, there are so many traumatic things that happened related to this, that there were times where like I I tried to be somebody that at least the Daniel didn’t have to he didn’t have to hide. And I think I somewhat was able to be that for him some certain moments that were really awful for him. So that’s how I handled it. I was like, I get it. Basically I was like I didn’t get my shit together and just be a good sister. That was basically what I decided. 

Stacie Crawford 14:32 

And you know that it’s interesting to me because you talk about being so young and making that decision to you know, really act in a way that takes care of the people around you. You know, I don’t want to be an extra burden. I don’t want to had add any more to all of this. And yet you somehow were able to get support that you need it by see Getting out other adults. I think that’s really incredible because, you know, 14 is very young and be aware enough to make a conscious choice like that is big. That’s, I don’t think that’s really common, you know, and then to, as you grow, got older, trying to morph a little bit into being that place where it almost seems like Daniel could rest, he could rest when he was with you, he could just be who he was, he didn’t have to worry about, you know, how he was presenting himself, you had grown up, you had gotten older, he sees that you’re older. So you know, that’s really incredible. So how did those dynamics within your family changed? Once he passed away? Because it sounds like yeah, we’re operating from a place of, I’m not going to be a burden. And I’m kind of stepping into the background, you know, like, this is all about him. And, you know, allowing that space to be there. How did all the dynamics in your family change once he passed away? 

Lexi Osborn 16:20 

Yeah, it’s, honestly was something I hadn’t thought too much about beforehand. Like I before Daniel passed, it just wasn’t on my radar. And it was actually one of the most, one of the biggest aspects of the transition. So the going when your family unit is we were just so close, because we had gone through this thing together, you know, trauma bonded, basically. Yeah. And, and so we were very, very, very close, because we had gone through so much together, but also, like, there was a lot, there was a lot of dysfunction in our relationships. Like, I think, mostly between me and me and my mom, and what hat what was what happened was, I don’t know how long after he passed, but it just started it, I’ve, it felt very weird to become like the only child because it started, I started getting a lot more attention from my mother, a lot more criticism from my mom. I mean, usually that’s pretty much like, that’s, it’s not that’s not completely surprising, but I, but there was a lot of more attention, a lot of criticism. And also, she wanted to talk about her grief a lot. My dad didn’t do those things. He really, he really kept a lot of that to himself. Only on a couple occasions when I had gotten gone out and got drunk with friends. You know, I was in my early 20s, I was 23 when he died. And so I was going out and like getting drunk and and just sobbing, you know, and occasionally I’d call my dad and we would cried together. But for the most part, I really try not to do that to them. Because I was still trying to try to not put anything more on them. But one of the things that happened was that I hadn’t been happening. During like, when, when Daniels in hospice was like, I was just, I just kind of became like my mom’s like, like, like, I was just she dumped everything on me whenever we would talk. And there’s just I felt from my perspective, like that there was just no space for my own grief. And so I went from being able to like from taking care of myself emotionally and getting what I need from other people too. You know, a lot of attention my parents want to be really involved or my mom didn’t really want to be involved having her having a lot of opinions. I mean, we had been we would get into fights pretty frequently anyways, because we would always butt heads but it just got to be like to the point where now it was there’s just so so much now it was also about Daniel and I just there there is something snapped like a few years I think it was about two years after Daniel died she said something super critical to me and went from like having we were having a really pleasant conversation to her like giving me like just like such a angry just disappointed like call her Mom look and saying like you’re gonna ruin everything like if you do make this choice is like yeah, you’re talking about like me moving in with my boyfriend or something like that. And she was like, if you move in with him, like where it’s you know, along with your roommate choose if you’re worried I was. I was moving out with my potentially moving into boyfriend, she was worried he was gonna move in with me and my grooming. And that, like that was gonna like ruin the dynamic or something. I’m like, I don’t know what you like you need to calm down. But she would go, she would like snap, she had so many of these moments, but she just snap and then it would just unleash this tidal wave. And, and that and that happened. And finally, like, we had a conversation that day, where I was like, you make every conversation about you, and your feelings and your grief. And as you have asked me a few, I was like, Can you think of a moment ever and an entire, like the last decade, basically, where you’ve asked me, How am I doing with everything was Daniel, and she couldn’t think of anything. And so it it was a I was just so proud that we were able to have that conversation because it started, it started with a lot of the really important transitions are really sending the transition into a good place because I didn’t want to lose my family I didn’t want I didn’t, but I knew it couldn’t continue like it was where I felt like I was dealing with a lot of resentment towards them. Because even though I shouldn’t need this choice to even though I’ve made this choice to take care of myself and kind of step back, and just be like feel I have no power in any of this. So what I’m gonna do is just not add. What that did was they I felt like she didn’t really notice me for 10 years. Yeah. Like she only notice if she thought that if she was gonna give me criticism. Or like, if I you know, if she perceived if she like somehow saw like, Oh, I didn’t do like my absolute best. So basically it was like she if she came in it was like this critical thing. And especially once I got into like, you know HMI for 25 and started being really proud of who I was as a person and how I handled things. I started standing really firm with her and and just said like, you have no and I realized the reason I was so hurt by her criticism was because I said this to her. Because I feel like you have absolutely no right to criticize me. You have no right to criticize me because you don’t know anything. I have done so much. And it’s never been recognized. I took him like basically took care of my well being from age 14 Onward. So that and you only saw like, if something really bad like I one break up that was really really bad. And my mom saw the was there with me through it. But then after like the first week, she made a comment. Like I wish we were going through this right now because it’d be Daniels last Christmas. So, right, so it’s like this. I was like, wow, that one’s been so supportive. She was really helping me through this. And then just like that, like there’s, there’s probably not a worst thing you could have said to me based on like, how I had what I had been trying to do for my family for you know, all the way up to that point. And and like what I value what I valued and and then her being like, Oh yeah, I wish we were dealing with this, like this breakup that you’re going with, like with your three and a half year relationship? Because, yeah, I wish we just focus on Daniel and so like that, to me was just cemented all of this. And it wasn’t Yeah, 

Stacie Crawford 23:29 

it sounds like it’s so you know, a little bit of coach speak like, how in the heck do you keep the Gremlin voice from not saying let’s just focus on Daniel is what everybody wants to do. Because it’s one thing when you make the choice for yourself, let’s just focus on it, you know, but to actually have this verbally spoken at some point had to be kind of a punch to the gut for you. All right. 

Lexi Osborn 24:00 

Yeah. It was like a It was shocking. I remember being so shocked and just like I’ve never like I just felt like immediately like withdrew into myself and and that was something I had to make sure to bring up because it was so hurtful and it was so impactful to how I realized she saw my life that that I was just like, I know, because it made me realize that you know, I like you said I’d made this choice that I was going to do this but I never thought that she would have wanted me to. Yeah, and that was confirmed Kevin that confirmed very casually to very, very casually said, like, I wish just we weren’t dealing with this Since the beginning of last Christmas, I just, you know, I had been on and off crying and sobbing, you know, ending this relationship and all that. And she just she, when I go through through things, they impact her so much that she, she, it’s I mean, it’s very not healthy, it’s not a lot better, but like, so she feels she needs to be critical and controlling. Because it impacts what’s going on with me impacts her so much so because obviously, she’s going to respond very differently. If she is impacted so much. And so, yeah, so I just confirmed all that, for me made me shut down for more years where I’m like, I’m not telling her shit. Anytime I did tell her anything, criticism would come out and the huge fight would blow up. And that was a lot. That was a lot most of our relationship for like four years. I’d say that like at three, three, maybe three years. It was like that. But but that was going back to that conversation that I had a few years after Daniel died. It was like two, I think it was two Christmases after Daniel died. And she and I were I finally was like, Do you remember saying this to me? No, of course. Right. And I was like, dear, and there were other things kind of similar to it, or in the same vein. And I was like, these are all the things that you have said to me, that have made his made me keep distance with you. And because she had this whole narrative of why our relationship was the way it is, she was just like, oh, because she had completely misinterpreted something I had said, like a year before, like, I don’t want to because I had actually tried to put a boundary with her. Like, I don’t want to talk about Daniel with you right now. And she thought it was because I was so empathetic, that I was taking on her grief, and it was overwhelming me. And I had to say to her a couple different conversations over the last over a few years. It’s like no, that wasn’t it, like the, the the it was that you mean of space for mine. You’ve never made any space for my grief. And how and so I’m not gonna I’m not about to be vulnerable with my grief, because you’re going to make it about yours. And I’m going to be and so I should like, I shut down. I was like, You never even noticed that I shut down in these conversations. That’s how energy is. And so I’m not, you know, as I’ve gotten older, too, I realize like, I can’t, I can’t be mad at her for how she handled it. I hope to never go through what she went through. But it’s was it. It was a it was a it’s an a really challenging thing for us to get through. But our relationship is so much better now. But it was because of like, in the in this transition of Daniel, Daniel went from alive to gone and, and it just left this vacuum in my family, and all of a sudden brought up a lot of the ways that our Dynamics hadn’t been for a long time. It’s not going to be sustainable if we wanted to have good relationships. And I think the most important thing I did at one point, it wasn’t at that that first big like come to Jesus conversation is like one or two after that, where I said, I want to have a good relationship with you. And my mother was like you like you do? I was like, yes, that is why I’m having these conversations. And she’s and I never thought that she thought I didn’t want that. And so it wasn’t there are so many ways that our family could have gone in that time. And in response to the grief in response to have our life not being interrupted, like in our life not being completely through the lens of Daniel being terminally ill and just being like right now you know, you have your life yeah. So that go you know, right where you are. And it could have gone so many ways, but I think it’s because you know, the same things that made me make those choices when I was 14 are the same that the same parts of myself that made me made the choices when I was 23, 24, 25 really like in the most intense aspects of that transition period where I kept stepping i as imperfectly but try to try to keep stepping towards her and towards my family. It’s a stepping away of like, I’m okay, I’m going to tell you everything will tell you everything. I And that was really huge. And I think, yeah, I mean, my best friend who I lived with for seven years, she’s like, I know that your relationship with the weather has gotten better, because I’ve literally been front row to it. So, but that was, so that was a really, really big transition was my relationship with my mom, my relationship with my dad actually has been pretty constant. But my relationship with my mom was the one that really had to be redefined. And had to have some really, really hard, honest, hard and honest conversations that are like, I had to confront her about, like, deep resentment, and caring, and sadness and vulnerability that I did. I don’t know if, you know, I don’t know what gave him the strength in those conversations to do it. But I think part of it, too, is Daniel and I had so many conversations about, you know, what, you know, about the fact that he was gonna die, and he’s gonna be gone. And you know, him being worried about what’s happening in the family. And so I also thought, you know, I took the responsibility of being their only child left very seriously, I’m not perfect I can be, I can definitely call them more. But it’s, it’s very hard to change the independent, my independent nature, you I built that, in me and so calling them 

Stacie Crawford 31:27 

and you you purposefully built that starting, at least at age 14, you purposely built your independence, that was your, frankly, your mechanism of surviving as a member of the family, and, you know, wanting to be glue for the family, you know, that independence was a really big part of it, you know, so I, we can sit there and look at these things and be like, Okay, we need to shift this, we need to change it, but we don’t change everything in one day. And, you know, so like, right, yeah, exactly. Okay, we need to, like just take this piece by piece kind of a thing, you know, absolutely. And it sounds like really, with you know, with your relationship with your mom, it really sounds like you from my point of view, you had a lot of guts to have these really hard conversations where you were talking to someone that you care about talking to someone that you know, has been hurting and still wanting to create boundaries, so that you can stay and a good relationship or have a better relationship. And I I wonder how did you get the courage to do Wow 

Lexi Osborn 33:08 

man, um, I, I I think it’s, it’s from a comes back to choice that I also made in how I was dealt with Daniel, on being sick of the like, I said earlier, I wanted to be somebody for him that was going to really show up and, and listen and bear witness to what was going on, no matter how hard it was. And I have tried, I tried as hard as I could to be that person for him and to be there for my parents that way. Not try to say everything’s going to be okay. Not try to, you know, not trying to minimize anything, just be like, bear witness and be be there. And that scene, I think, because I took the mantle of that up when I was young and prided myself on being somebody who could could do that. Like, that’s the kind of person I am with my friends or I try to be with my friends. And so it’s just become woven as part of who I am. And I think that that’s, that’s, it’s, it’s something I’m very proud to have. Characteristic I’m very proud to have within me that I will like, I will be somebody who will have very tough conversations and be very like and be just there. And with my mom, I realized, I think it was like I need to show I need to show up in a way that I’d be proud right now. And this is an and it was just it’s almost like I think I literally saw a fork in the road. I was like I saw an opportunity sort of like this is now or never Yes, yeah. And and I took a leap of faith and and was like, you know this goes out we’re like I did this I did right by my own values and who I am and I tried and and so I think that’s how I got it. Just yeah, 

Stacie Crawford 35:15 

guys Lexi and I enjoy talking to each other so much that we talked for over an hour, so I decided to split her interview into two episodes. So this is part one, and the next episode will be part two.

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