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My dad died under Hospice care about 48 hours ago. I never thought I would need counseling but they have offered it and I might try it. However, my grief goes beyond the recent loss of my dad - it really is due to the overall parent decline I have experienced over the past decade which includes alcoholism, fighting/verbal abuse of my dad by my mom, and my dad's eventual decline into dementia. I don't want to schedule the counseling if my situation is too tangled-up for Hospice (i.e. it's about a lot more than the fact that dad died). I'm afraid I will come across as much more "messed up" than the average kid :(

Thank you everyone!! I've been holding a lot in for years to keep strong to oversee my dad's care. I still have my mom to deal with and of course she has ramped up her drinking and lack of self-care since he died. Now, allowing the tears to flow during the two days since dad died, I am starting to feel the impacts of the family dynamics over the past decade. I need to find a way to move forward in my life and not be a totally dysfunctional person myself.

I appreciate all of the support I receive on this forum. Jeez, I have been on Agingcare since 2014 now, and it's really helped me a lot. I do want to thank you all!!!!
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 24, 2019
Upstream i have followed you since i found this site about a year ago after my mom lost her baby sister, and she is the last remaining of that generation. I realized i had no clue about dementia/alz, boy have my eyes been opened!!! The depths of despair and abuse that so many people experience always leave me heartbroken. My mom is 86 and healthwise is pretty much good, general aging issues....but at times she repeats herself a lot and may ask the same questions from time to time and i am concerned and wonder if she may be heading down that path....so i do all i can to help her stay healthy and to exercise her brain as well....none of us know what tomorrow may bring....i wish you well in your journey forward, and hope you can heal from your loss and deal with your moms issues too.....blessings to you! Liz
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Upstream, I think you should schedule intake with the hospice grief counselor. They MAY refer you out to another mental health professional after a bit, but not because YOU are messed up; because the situation created by your parents' various mental and physical illnesses have created an ongoing tangle that has enmeshed you in ways that go beyond grief.

I hope that makes sense to you. What I'm trying to say is that if they refer you out, its NOT a reflection on YOUR pathology, rather on that of the situation, which is not of your making.

Go for it! ((((((HUGS)))))))))
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 21, 2019
Thank you,Barb, as always, wise words from you...
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I'm in Hospice counseling right now. Both of my parents died from AD this year. My anxiety has ramped up a LOT! I have counseling over the phone because I'm not driving very far right now.
I'm so sorry for your loss, and the emotional disruption you're going through. I think Hospice is a good starting point for counseling. There's so much anxiety and grief that it makes me feel crazy, or that I'm actually going to go crazy. My mom was ver narcissistic and abusive, and my dad was the kindest man ever., and my brother is a pedophile, and tried to rape me when I was a young teen. So, all of this is addressed in couseling.
I'm almost positive that you're no more messed up than the rest of us, but you feel like that, and I do understand. I feel like no one understands why I'm so forgetful now and fear that I'm showing signs of AD. I can't talk to anyone the way I talk to my counselor. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, like I can't relax, and I'm hyper vigilant about everything. I startle easily, and can't even follow a recipe correctly. Grief affects every aspect of our lives, in small daily things, and big decision making. I didn't think I was ever going to get through a day without breaking down and sobbing a lot.

Be kind to yourself as much as possible.
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Reply to Kindnessandlove
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My condolences on the loss of your dad.

I agree, check out grief counseling. If what you need isn't what they offer they can refer you to someone else. Hospice also may offer "complicated grief" counseling which is just what you may need.

Definitely check it out.
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Yes, I have, and it was helpful. My issues weren’t as critical as yours sound; but I do think hospice therapists know how to guide. Usually there’s no cost for at least a few sessions: I ‘d try it. Best of luck. Remember the human physiognomy is designed to take/absorb pain, process it, and gradually convert it to something you accept has happened, and ultimately live with. There’s no shame in needing some help with it, which I’m sure you already realize!
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MyThreeSons Nov 24, 2019
In CNY we have 13 months of free grief counseling, then potential continuation for a small fee/donation. It's well worth the time & effort.
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Different Hospice organizations handle grief counseling differently, but most have Bereavement Counseling or Grief Counseling done by different staff people than the ones who were on your team during the life of your deceased family member. Partly this is because the folks providing this counseling have different skills and training, but partly, explicitly, so that your counseling can start from where YOU are now, not from whatever the team members thought about how your loved one was doing or how the family was coping.

In the Hospice organization I work for, our Bereavement folks are licensed social workers with significant specialized training specifically in griefwork. They meet with family members in the family group and/or one-to-one, they offer practical support as well as counseling, they offer grief groups where a small number of people can express their feelings and process their experiences. Some groups are narrowly limited: only people who have lost parents, or only people who have lost spouses, only people who have lost someone in the past 4-8 months, etc. So that someone in the group is further along than you in one area and further behind you in another, but everyone's experience is relevant to one another.

I heartily agree that you won't be the 'most messed-up kid' they've talked with. Their work can be enormously beneficial. At the very, very least they can help you move forward to find the right next counselor if you need more than they can provide -- and you wouldn't be the first 'kid' who has a lot of complicated feelings after a decade of a parent's decline.
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Reply to maggiebea
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Upstream...my condolences for the loss of your dad. Its so difficult to lose a family member, but especially when youve been through what you have with your parents. Yes, please take advantage of the Hospice grief counseling....it will help you. And they may refer you to someone else that can help untangle the problems your parents caused during the last 10 years or so. This is NOT a reflection on you, rather what their actions caused.....please take the time you need to grieve and begin the healing process and come here to let us know how youre doing. We care....
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Reply to cherokeegrrl54
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Upstream I am so sorry for your loss. Great big hug!

I would try their counseling and hopefully it is a good fit, if not ask them for referrals to other grief counseling groups.

May God grant you grieving mercies and comfort during this difficult time.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I think Hospice grief counseling will be good for you. They are well trained in all kind of grief. It will help you.
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Reply to sandy1955
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Are you kidding? Mental health professionals have seen and heard it all. You don’t need to worry about how your story comes across. They will do their part and make. A referral if what you need is beyond their scope in their role as a hospice chaplain. Please take advantage of it and please go a step further and seek a qualified therapist who deals with family issues such as yours. God bless.
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 24, 2019
I agree wholeheartedly! Even though i worked in oncology and saw a therapist, i still took advantage of the grief counseling hospice provided. And cetude is right too, in that work can be an outlet as well. When you have to keep going and work to buy food and pay the bills because theres no one but you to do it now....
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