How do I cope with my extreme fear of losing my mother?

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I've posted here before. My mom is 83. Not demented, but has had numerous health problems in recent years and basically never leaves the house. She's doing OK at the moment, but I am terrified of how I will cope with losing her eventually. I'm her only child and my father died tragically when I was 6. My mom drank a lot after that and I was/am extremely co-dependent and "enmeshed" with her. I know people grieve terribly when they lose their parents, but I do think that if you had a relatively healthy relationship (ie not enmeshed) it's easier to cope with. I feel like my mother is an artery in my body, like I couldn't possibly survive without her (ie I would have a mental collapse). I have kids, friends, but no partner right now, so I don't feel like I have anyone who will "save" me when this happens.

Thanks for listening. I just had to get that off my chest.

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Sorry I cannot offer any comfort. I am terrified of my Mother passing away. I have to push it out if my mind all the time and every time it pops into my head I am in tears. My life can never be truly happy again.
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Thank you, Chari and Mulata. I am working on trying to relax and understand that what will be will be. Mulata, I am just now starting to figure out what the next step will be, how we will afford it, etc. 24/7 care at her home would be ideal, of course, but it seems way too expensive. I am talking to an elder lawyer soon as well as a geriatric care manager to get this all figured out. What a project.
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Oh Xina, I finally found what I think is the latest post about your mom! You said it to yourself in the last sentence of your post...YOU have to gain CONTROL of this THING... This thing is the fear of your mom's death. As I have told you in prior posting, we all have that. As much as I knew when my mom was going and thought I was prepared, I was almost primal. So, no one can really be prepared. So, you have to stop trying to control what can't be controlled anyway. You are fighting a losing battle. Just think what a burden will be lifted from your shoulders when you accept that you can't control what happens to your mom while you are away from her and enjoy the moment of doing whatever you are doing. She is in a safe place, where they are more able to care for her than you are. What I had to learn in therapy and about the phone phobia was that if it were mom, it most likely was because she wanted me to take her something else for the day. Our deal was one trip a day, and I would put the rest on a list for the next day. I was going back and forth up to four times a day! I gave her a chalkboard to put anything she needed on it (or have one of the aides put on it) and I would write them down and pick them up when I got the list the next day. Then I had to convince myself that we were paying for professionals to care for her and that my worrying about her was not going to make any difference at all. She learned our boundaries and not to worry about me. I learned to relax and enjoy my time away from her. Life was so much better. (I made sure to go to the ALF at different times of the day and to eat with her once in awhile. I really think the residents whose families show an interest in getting to know the staff and visiting the facility are treated differently. It has been five years now, and I still take a large box of candy to the owner on holidays when I am able to physically get out. It will always be a special place.) The answer was there all the time, Xina! All we had to do was to reach out and make it a part of our lives. Each of us has to do it at our own time and in our own way. That's why your last sentence made me so happy! Can you let go of your fear and channel that energy into something positive? Tell yourself that mom is being cared for and nothing you can do will change what is happening with her. If there is a real emergency, you will be notified. Take that extra energy and do some things for yourself. Live in the present and enjoy where you are. I know you can do it. You made a major step at the end of your post!!!
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Oh Xina,
I'm glad you are posting on the site. I had missed you and was wondering how things were going.
A lot has happened in your life.
Mom's stroke and rehab hospital. My goodness!
Like you say, she's in good hands, since she has care 24/7.
What are the people at rehab saying, as far as discharge plans?
What is going to happen?
They're going to ask you, and explain to you her prognosis, and they'll want to know if she's going to go home, or to a facility.
Be prepared for those questions.
What do you want to do?
Can you, perhaps, use the transition from rehab to ??? instead of going back home where she's not taking care of herself...........
Big help at rehab is the CASE MANAGER SOCIAL WORKER.
Will LISTEN to you, and the surrounding circumstances, and will help you
determine what is best for MOM and, thereby best for you.

I cringe at the thought of my mom having to go to a facility, especially when we're not independently wealthy. She's on Medi-Cal, same as Medicaid.

I am scared, and will be seeing a therapist for the first time, this week.

I understand what needs to happen, but I don't think I am strong enough to endure it. So much is the unknown, and it frightens me to no end.

M 8 8
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Since I posted this, things have changed dramatically. I think I mentioned that my mom was living alone, not taking care of herself, not taking her meds, not going to doctors, and not letting anyone, including her family, help her at all. She was in extreme denial about her aging and health issues, and part of that I guess, was not do anything that proved that she is "old."

Anyway, two weeks ago she had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. While she was there, they also diagnosed an arrythmia and installed a pacemaker. Now she's in a rehab nursing home for the stroke. She also has some (minor, I think) CHF with some fluid build-up around her lung. She is able to tolerate PT, though, and is progressing pretty well.

She is finally being properly medicated and well cared for for all these conditions. She is completely on the ball, though she insists she's ready to go home (more denial). I figure she should be in better shape now than she was at home, since she was taking none of her meds and is now being monitored and medicated. Still, I'm a complete basket case. I'm her only child and we are extremely close, enmeshed, codepended--all that good stuff (ugh). While of course I realize that at 83 with all these health problems, she is unlikely to live for years and years, I am so anxious. Every time the nursing home pops up on my caller ID, I panic. I visit her frequently and she never wants me to leave (this is a woman who wouldn't let me visit her for 6 months when she was living alone).

I guess my question is how do I take care of myself and my own life without letting this constant terror of her demise consume me? I find myself calling her a lot to make sure she is OK. I guess I am trying to maintain control of this thing that I can't control.
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Zina and Mulata, my earlier post ended on such a positive note; but, I am having to try to take my own advice tonight. It has been five years since my mom passed away, and I don't recall dreading the date on which she died. This year, though, I have already been dreading June 1. I can feel my emotions starting to sink. All I know to do is to go about my daily routine and not dwell on that day. I think maybe my bone-on-bone osteoarthritis in both knees causing me constant pain and my birthday coming up next month are adding to the dark cloud I feel coming. So, the answer to your questions, is you never know how you will react. There have been days that I thought I would really be aware of my loss, and they have passed without notice. Now, here is this unexpected date coming out of nowhere. All I can do is try to use my coping skills to get through it and know that better days will follow. Just wanted to let you know that one never masters the art of knowing how we will react to future events. We just have to develop some coping skills and use them when they are needed. Feeling alone and sad tonight.
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Gulp......

:^(

M88
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my son is disabled and my mother had bone cancer she lived with us for almost 13 years we were 3 peas in a pod. i did not know what my son and i would do without her. then a young disabled woman who's family abandoned her came into our life after my mother died and we have become 3 peas in a pod. there are many people out there who need a family even if they are adults and god placed her in our lives when we so desperately needed her as well as she needing us. hang in there and god bless
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I feel just like you, Xina.
Comments directed to you are helping me.

M88.............feeling physically and mentally exhausted.
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Hi Xinabess. The fifth anniversary of my mom's death is coming soon. Interesting that she was 84 and that I, too, am an only child. We weren't enmeshed, but we were much closer than most mothers and daughers. During the 5-6 years after she broke her hip and before her death, I visited her at the ALF every day, sometimes for hours at a time. I took her to the nail salon so we could have our manis and pedis done together. We went to movies, out to dinner, and any time she wanted to come to our house, she knew she was always welcome. I devoted so much time with her that I almost lost my husband, but that is another story. When I say we weren't enmeshed, I did have to go to a therapist when my mom became too demanding of my time. After I learned to set some boundaries, our time together was much better. We had to call in Hospice, so I knew mom's time was limited. The last two nights, I spent with her. She was conscious and able to talk until the last day. So, if anyone should have been prepared for their mother's death, I should have been! When the nurse gave me a nod, I stood by mom's side, held her hand, and talked to her. The strangest thing, though, xinabess, when she stopped breathing I WAILED so loudly they could hear me all over the wing of her building. I am generally a reserved, composed person. I was in my early 60s. I couldn't believe that sound was coming from me. It didn’t last long, and the rest is a blurr. I remember my best friend being called and staying with me. So, my point is, no matter how close you are, no matter how long you know that the time is near...in my case, I wasn't prepared. You mentioned not being in a relationship with someone to take care of you. Be careful what you wish for. My husband had bottled up 5-6 years of anger because of my neglecting him and our home. He didn't say much for a couple of weeks, then it was like a stranger had taken over my dear, sweet husband's body. So, I could not mourn my mom's death with him; and, we experienced the worst year of our marriage. There were times I wished I were alone. Thank God, things slowly returned to the way we used to be, even better. My fear/dread ? Is being an only child with no children. Both of my parents are gone now, and no relatives live anywhere close to me. I have friends closer than family. There is something about only children, though, we're used to figuring things out by ourselves. So, my advice to you is to stop fearing the future when you know it is inevitable that one day your mom will die, just like the others who responded to you. Enjoy every single day with her, but limit your time and develop some other interests. You realize you are enmeshed with her and you are seeing a therapist, so I know you know the right things to do. One of the best things you did was to write here. There is a wealth of information and some very compassionate people ready to help you. May you find peace and enjoy your mom until her time to go comes. God bless.
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