Ami Brown’s lung cancer diagnosis has been an emotional event for her entire family.
And as the matriarch of the Alaskan Bush People family enters treatment, the clan of nine prepares to pack up their homestead in the Alaskan wilderness and relocate to the “Lower 48” states, where Ami can get the care she needs.
“Are we really doing this?” husband Billy, 64, asks Ami, 53, in a PEOPLE exclusive preview clip of Wednesday’s episode of the Discovery reality series.
“I guess so,” Ami replies on the episode, which was filmed just seven weeks ago. “What else are we gonna do?”
“I can barely remember now what it feels like to wake up in the morning, like, being really us to where we did whatever we wanted to do,” says Billy, who moved most of his family to Southern California when Ami’s poor health escalated earlier this year. “The true freedom that we had.”
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“Wilderness. No people. No time clocks,” acknowledges Ami.
“We can’t live where we do belong anymore. I’m trying to act like, you know, everything is cool, but just the thought that, you know, we can’t go back there is kinda getting to me,” says Billy as Ami wipes away tears. “It’s the only place I’ve ever felt like I’ve belonged. I’ve never belonged anywhere else and I don’t know how I’m going to live without it.”
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Closing down Browntown is a possibility that was first brought up on the June 28 episode of ABP.
“We fought so hard for freedom and we fought so hard for independence and everything that gave us the freedom we’ve had our whole life, now is working against us,” Billy said on the episode of the need to be closer to medical resources.
“It’s much deeper than a simple question, making those that like it there so much Bear and Bird and the others — making them sacrifice that for me … ‘ ” Ami added before letting her thoughts trail off into silence. “We’ve lived a long time in the rainforest. It flows through our veins.”
“Ami of course is really heartbroken,” added Billy. “We have members of the family that their future dreams were there. They were born in the forest and I think it’s deeper in them than I think it is in Ami and I.”
But Noah — the only Brown child to remain in Alaska while the rest were in the Lower 48 — was in agreement that the family should be together in their time of crisis.
“Every moment I’m not there is a moment I’m not going to have with her and a moment I won’t get for a memory later,” he said on the episode. “But the entire family pulls through tough times with three things: with God, with family and the people who love you.”
“The funny thing is, I don’t like hugs,” he continued. “And right now all I want to do is give my mom a hug and tell her that it’s okay.”
Alaskan Bush People airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Discovery.