GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Tamara Braun contemplates Kim’s crushing loss — and life after Oscar

No one wanted to see Oscar die… but Tamara Braun is proud of the way GENERAL HOSPITAL told the tragic story. “The writers did a lovely tribute to Oscar, his life and the people who loved him,” Kim’s portrayer raves. “They did a beautiful job with the love story of Joss and Oscar and the teenage couple saying good-bye with the family all around. And during those last days, it was great to bring in Monica, Ned and Olivia. I loved how they wove everyone into it — because the death of a loved one touches everybody.”

“Losing Her Heart”

While Oscar ultimately found a family to love and mourn him, single mom Kim and her son had spent most of his life on their own. “They were each other’s everything,” Braun maintains. “You don’t often see mother/son relationships portrayed that close, loving and communicative. I really loved that bond — which was mutual. It wasn’t that she was a smothering mother. It seemed like a lovely two-way street of respect and connection. When he was dying, it was like she was losing a limb. More than a limb, she was losing her heart!”

And Braun was losing her main man at GH — on-screen son Garren Stitt. “I adore Garren, and I was very sad he was leaving,” she shares. “I felt so connected to him. Those three days of Oscar dying and letting go, it felt like everything lined up. Just seeing him like that, it was there for me.

“The most challenging part was that we shot a lot, and it wasn’t always in order,” she adds. “But it was really well done, so my job was easier.”

The Love Stories

Though Kim feels isolated in her grief, she’s not actually on her own anymore. In addition to Julian, she’s had Drew by her side, sharing in the loss of their son. “Julian and Kim bring out the best in each other,” Braun believes. “Drew was defi nitely the love of her life — that intense, young love. And then Charlie — because that’s who he is to Kim — is an adult love. Once she finally allowed herself to love again, she found him. Now they’re both there… but Drew is not the man she knew before.”

Which is why Kim and this “new” Drew didn’t reunite romantically when they found each other. “What’s interesting is we got to play a love story, but it was a platonic love story about our son,” Braun notes. “Drew and Kim have a true love — a connecting love — in Oscar.”

At A Loss

Now that her son has moved on, Kim can’t seem to do the same. “This loss has affected her in a way she’s never been affected,” Braun says. “Who is she without this anchor in her life?” Instead of answering that question, Kim asked Julian and then Drew to make a new baby with her! “In her twisted, grieving mind, she wants some essence of Oscar back,” Braun explains. “And she feels like if she has another baby, somehow it will be like a little piece of him.” Unfortunately, after both guys saw through Kim’s request, her next call wasn’t just bad — it was downright scary! “I think she’s going a little nuts,” Braun admits with a sigh.

A Teachable Moment

Of course, no one can blame the mourning mom for going a bit crazy right now. And while Braun enjoys the yummy, soapy twists of daytime, she’s hoping this story will also continue to take on the realities of grief and loss. “If she goes nuts, I hope we address it in a way that will be useful for viewers who’ve gone through this or seen a loved one have a psychological break because of trauma. I’m hoping we take the opportunity to make this into a real teachable moment to help people understand what can happen if someone doesn’t get the kind of help they need.

“GH did such a beautiful job with the Alzheimer’s story and how it affects everybody,” she adds. “We can open people’s hearts and minds — two things other genres don’t have the opportunity to do. So whatever’s to come, I’m hoping this is going to be an opportunity where we go, ‘Aha, here’s what soaps do best!’”

A Time To Chill

“This story was exhausting,” Braun confesses. “It was a lot of deep, emotional work, so it was taxing — physically and emotionally. But after the demise of my son [on screen], we actually ended up on a nice two-week hiatus. A lot of people went away, but I just wanted to spend time with my pups, sleep in, do housework, see my friends. That’s what I do on my time off . I go on nice hikes and long walks, just refueling my spirit and my soul. I also did get a facial — and I got one of the worst massages I’ve ever had in my life!”