Ami Brown’s son Bam has returned to her side as she battles advanced lung cancer.
“Once we got the call that it was cancer, part of me just, like, wanted to run away,” Bam, 32, says on Wednesday’s emotional episode of Alaskan Bush People. “But stronger than that was the emotion to get here and to see mom and do whatever I could to be moral support to everyone.”
Bam had left his family’s homestead in rural Alaska to find love in late 2006.
“Just trying to navigate walking down the sidewalk is an experience,” Bam told PEOPLE in February of moving to an urban area in the “lower 48” and falling “head over heels” for a city girl.
But now Bam — the second-oldest of Ami, 53, and her husband Billy, 64 — has rushed to his mother’s side in Southern California, where part of his family had temporarily relocated while Ami underwent testing.
“To see mom not wanting to get out of bed because it might hurt to walk around the room, that was really difficult,” Bam says on the episode. “And then when I gave mom a hug, I felt how thin she was. So yeah, that hit me pretty hard. As prepared as I was to walk into the room and go into that, it’s different when you’re there.”
Billy welcomes Bam eagerly and admits he sees him as a solid confidant.
“Having Bam here, it helps me, personally, a lot,” says Billy. “With Bam, I can have deep one-on-one type conversations.”
“Between you and I, I’m a mess,” Billy tells his son.
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Bam recognizes that not everyone in the family is realizing the severity of the situation and sees it as his role to make sure everyone is prepared for “the worst case scenario.”
“I don’t want everyone to think, ‘oh, it’s of course going to be okay!’ and then it’s not okay and them regret the rest of their life hanging in their room instead of being with mom,” he tells his father. “Several of them aren’t as realistic as us right now.”
Bam decides to have a chat with his sister Bird, 22.
“I know that this is affecting her strongly,” he says of his eldest sister, who is the oldest daughter of the family and seen as the second mother of the “wolf pack.”
“She and mom are very close,” he continues. “I can’t stop this or change this but I can be there for everybody.”
“Everyone is afraid mom’s dying,” he tells Bird. “She’s not!” she quickly replies. “Mom could die from this,” he responds.
“It wont happen because then … ” Bird says, letting her thought trail off into a moment of silence. “She’ll be fine.”
“You know, it helps everyone for me to stay positive,” Bird says to a camera in a confessional. “I do that to help everybody else, but it helps myself as well.”
But Billy is grateful Bam has returned.
“[His] straightforwardness is what we need right now,” says Billy. “It puts everything into perspective and it makes it right.”
Alaskan Bush People airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Discovery.