Tamara Braun lived through Kim’s worst nightmare

Oscar’s passing on GENERAL HOSPITAL left viewers gutted. And the host of powerful performances on display made this one of the toughest Gold Star competitions in a while… but in the end, the way Tamara Braun dug into Kim’s loss and love earned her this week’s nod.

Oscar’s Last Breath

When Oscar exhaled his last breath, a shiver ran through Kim. Jumping up, she rushed to her son’s bedside to fi nd Josslyn crying over him. For a beat, Kim went into doctor mode — checking Oscar’s vitals and trying to shake his heart awake. But when she looked back at Drew, her eyes said it all. Their son was gone.

Since Oscar’s cancer was fi rst revealed, Braun has wowed us with her portrayal of Kim’s journey. For months, we’ve watched the mother fi ght her guilt and grief in order to hold herself together for Oscar. But once he fi nally let go, so did she. Sobbing, Kim climbed into bed with him and took him into her arms.

“He’s Gone”

For a while, Kim and Drew just lay on either side of Oscar, holding him. Then Drew got up to embrace Monica, and Kim clutched her son closer — as if to shield him and herself from his grandmother’s pain. Still, she thanked Monica for her help, offering a comforting touch. And when Drew leaned over her and Oscar, Kim wordlessly put her hand on his shoulder. Through her own pain, she managed to smile over their son’s sweet face and the fact that he’d passed peacefully, without their knowledge. “He’s gone, and he’s still trying to make things easier on us,” she whispered. Grief overwhelming her again, she let Drew wrap her in his arms… but never let go of Oscar.

The Struggle To Say Good-Bye

Finally alone with Oscar, Kim faced him with a newfound calm. “Here we are, kiddo, just you and me,” she cooed, and as she stroked his face and remembered the day he was born, she seemed to glow with love. The heaviness of her heartbreak was tempered by her deep pride in him. But as she tried to say farewell, she only seemed to sink into Oscar. Her head resting on his chest, she cried, “I don’t know how to do this now without you.”

Alone Together

Downstairs, Kim got a moment of respite thanks to the confusion over Oscar’s Kilimanjaro Foundation… only to realize once again how special he was. She tried swallowing her emotion and even offered Josslyn support, but for the most part, she let her tears fl ow, accepting Carly’s embrace and then Jason’s. And she and Drew were doing their best to comfort one another.

But, though surrounded by love, Kim had just lost her partner in crime, the biggest part of her heart. So when she stood slightly apart from the group, wringing her hands, we felt her solitude. She may not have known how to handle what was ahead, but Braun knew just what to do with all that emotion!