My husband passed away 2 years ago and my father passed away. My mother took this very hard and we are both grieving.


My husband of 24 years passed away 2 years ago from glioblastoma multiforme, then I moved back to FL to be near my parents, then my Father's kidneys started failing and cancer progressed and he passed 7 months later and during that time I was the only one he would let take care of him. My mother and I were always best friends. Now of course she took this very hard. I moved in with her right away. We are both grieving. I am on ant depression meds. It has been a struggle to get her on any... She can't sleep, without sleeping pills and they make her feel "strange" the next day. So every other day it is either "how am I going to sleep" or "I can't live like this". I have had her try all natural alternatives to no avail. She has also developed an eating issue where nothing tastes good. Which is a big drama for here, even though I have similar problems (I know it is from grief) and will eventually pass. but she says she "can't live like this" and I have taken her to 5 specialists, had tests, xrays, mri's, endoscopy, etc..., done, to the er 3 times even a dentist 3 times, Now she finally went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed meds for sleep and appetite. She took 1 nite and only slept 3 hours and even though I tell her it can take upto 2 wks to fully work. I asked her not to read the side effect sheet, because she will give herself side effects. I have seen her bring her blood pressure up, also the opthamologist tested her eyes she had 20-25 vision then the said it felt like something was in her eye, dr put refresh eye drops in and my mom assumed she put drops in that would affect her vision and then suddenly she couldn't read anything she just breezed thru. She is driving me crazy. All the dr's say she is healthy and grief is playing a large part in her problems. She doesn't believe it and says "something is wrong" even when she doesn't eat enough and gets weak and shaky because of it instead of eating she wants to go to the ER because "something is wrong" then I make her eat enough and rest and she feels better. This has been going on for 6months... EVERY DAY it is one thing or the other. I have done tons of research, tried to inform her, explained over and over again to her. she says yes but her actions show me different. I am now starting to loose my cool because she just won't do anything on her own. she say she wants to stay independent but actions speak louder than words and I tell her that. I cry regularly because I don't want to treat my mother and best friend like this and I just don't know what to do. She is going to bereavement group weekly, I cant go with her because if I need to talk she then makes it all about her. She worries about things she can do nothing about. She even worries when she is trying to sleep that she will get hungry. Maybe just getting this out is all I need. I have no one to talk to. Maybe someone out there can give me some advise or help me find help. Thank you so very much for listening.

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You both need a new environment. Find a assistant living home for mother where she can have peers who have also lost husbands to talk with and activities to look forward to. Do not visit every day. She will get settled and begin to forget about all her ailments and enjoy life again. Then you can begin again as well. It will be hard but with a positive adventurous attitude
(which you will have to fake at first) life will get better.

Dear Joanne,

My deepest sympathies and condolences on the passing of your husband and father. I'm so sorry for your pain and sorrow. I know its not easy on you or your mother during this difficult time.

I wonder if you can find a separate grief counsellor or grief support group for yourself. Or if there are other resources in the community or through church that could help you. During my grief journey I also found these websites helpful. What's Your Grief and The Grief Healing Blog.

I know you are trying to support your mom. But maybe consider some respite care or making alternate caregiver arrangements for her, while you take some time for yourself. Grief is so hard. It really does take a toll and I too have lost some patience during this time.

Thinking of you. Sending you all my thoughts and prayers.

I feel your frustration. My goodness, you've been through a lot. And so has your mom. I'm sorry about the loss of your husband and father.

One big plus is that you both have received medical and psychiatric care. All you can do, is all you can do. At some point, you can't force someone to adhere to treatment or to get well. It's really up to her. I'd take care to ensure my own grieving is given proper attention and that you are healing. Be gentle with yourself and don't overload your responsibilities.

Many conditions can cause your mom to have all those symptoms. It could be her continued grief, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, (has she had a sleep study?), or somatic symptom disorder, etc. All you can do is encourage her to maintain treatment and rely on her doctors for advice. Sometimes, the patient is stubborn and will not accept the diagnosis or treatment. I'd try to protect yourself from letting her symptoms drag you down.

Living with someone who is miserable and suffering can really effect you. I'd try to get away, engage in activities, be around positive people and events, and encourage mom to do the same.

Are you living with your mom, or are you only near by? If you are living together I think you need to think about separating from each other, I wonder if her grief and depression and yours feed off each other, I do know that our moods can affect others. It seems to me that your mom would benefit from assisted living or an independent living community, being around other people and taking part in activities would help to fill her days and limit the time she has to ruminate and catastrophize. For both of you I think you need to try to return to some kind of normalcy in your life, fake it till you make it.

Did your dad take care of your mom emotionally? It sounds to me like she's been this way (sorry to say it and not trying to sound mean, but she's very high maintenance). I have a feeling your dad was the buffer and now he's gone.

Would your mom ever consider some volunteer work in an area she's interested in? Cuddle babies or play with puppies or help at the hospital...something where she can take the focus off of herself and think about others for a minute? I can almost predict she won't be interested in anything like that because she's intensely focused on herself and only herself.

Can you tell us more about what she was like when your dad was alive?

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