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Mama June Shannon Gets Emotional About Raising Late Daughter Anna’s Child Kaitlyn (Exclusive)

Mama June Shannon can’t help but get emotional over caring for her late daughter Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell’s child, Kaitlyn.

“In her mind, she was talking about Kaitlyn graduating and Kylee graduating fifth grade. Those are the moments that … now I’m choking [up],” June, 44, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, June 13, while promoting her show Mama June: From Not to Hot alongside daughters Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. “Because those are the moments that she’s going to miss.”

Cardwell died at age 29 in December 2023 following a battle with stage 4 cancer. While Cardwell was married to husband Eldridge Toney, the reality TV family shared that Cardwell had not planned ahead about who would raise her daughters, Kaitlyn and Kylee. However, June confessed that she and Anna had previously discussed who would be given custody and noted that it was the mother-daughter duo’s “hardest conversation.”

“I’ll say to my last breath, I should not be raising Kailyn and Michael should not be raising Kylee and should be here raising her girls, period point blank,” June said, sharing that she wishes her daughter was still here for her little ones. “I’ll say it till the day I die. That life is not fair for the girls. Definitely not.”

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Pumpkin added that since Anna’s death, “every day is difficult for everybody” as the family continues to cope with their grief.

“Kaitlyn obviously every day is a consistent reminder of Anna and just little things throughout the day is a [constant] reminder of her,” she reflected “Like red cardinals lying in the yard while we’re outside and on the porch or flickering lights, [and] things just randomly falling.”

Mama June Shannon Gets Emotional About Raising Late Daughter Annas Child Kaitlyn
Mama June Shannon Raymond Hall/GC Images

June shared that she had to “hire a lawyer” to get “emergency custody” of Kaitlyn. June is raising Kaitlyn while Kylee is under the care of her father and Anna’s ex-husband Michael Cardwell. While the sisters are in separate homes, the girls don’t get to see each other often and June noted that it wasn’t due to a “lack of trying” on her part.

“I can do everything in the world, but if I try to text when I was texting them and they wouldn’t answer, I can’t make them answer me back. I can’t make them see me,” she told Us. “And that’s what I try to explain to people. We get ridiculed and unfortunately, they’ve only seen each other a total of three times since Anna’s passed away and I know that they miss each other. I know that they want to be in each other’s lives, but I mean life looks a little bit different than it did.”

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June and her daughters have been candid about sharing the intimate moments of their lives after losing Anna. June added that she felt the need to return to reality TV because being involved in the series was something her daughter loved the most.

“I have to say, Anna loved being in front of the cameras when she decided to come back to reality TV, she hated that she had to keep a secret [from] the world because people were asking,” she told Us. “But when she wasn’t on the show, people were asking, well why ain’t Anna on the show? What’s Anna doing all this? And so she really did share a lot of her journey. She loved it. Even in the last days, the cameras were there and she was joking with them up until the last maybe hour of her life.”

Mama June: From Not to Hot returns to WETV on Thursday, June 14, at 9 p.m. ET.

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