I've had a stellar career, good life and always had my act together mentally and emotionally...until now. My mom is 89 and was diagnosed with Heart Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and now terminal Pulmonary Fibrosis. She lives alone and we live across the country from each other. She refuses to move to where I live, so that I can care for her. She is recovering now from months of the flu and pneumonia. Although that acute illness is gone, she remains weak and somewhat feeble from being so sick. She's at her winter house and we have to figure out how to get her back home. Her Fibrosis is terminal and the average life expectancy is 2 1/2 years for someone with this disease. She has hidden this from me for a year. Now I am trying long distance to get in home health care for her until I can get there in about 5 weeks. In the meantime, I am a mess at being told this is terminal. When my dad went 20 years ago with lung cancer, I was okay with it... not this time. I'm not sleeping, depressed and I am preoccupied and distracted thinking ahead to what is in store for her and me. I've started going into mourning and she's not even gone yet...Trying to prepare or maybe over prepare for what comes next. Trying to decide if I'm going to uproot everything here, risk my marriage and move back there to care for her myself until she passes. Guilt if I don't go and major drama if I do.... tough place to be right now!

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sgtmjr, I too offer hugs and more hugs. Very tough situation!

Anticipatory grief is common when a loved one has a limited life expectancy. We often begin mourning before the actual death. Be gentle with yourself. You've always had your act together mentally and emotionally, but you've never faced contemplating your mother's death before. The fact that you are a strong, capable person will help you through this, but not without some emotional upheaval.

How does Mom usually get back from her summer home? Who meets her there?

Does Mom have sufficient funds for in-home help? What kind of help does she need during the day? If you did move in with her, what would you be doing for her? Which of those tasks could be easily done by hired help?

Have you considered hiring a professional care manager? That person would be a liaison between you and the insurance companies, health care providers, agencies, etc.

Maybe you could take some time now to accompany Mom back to her comfortable base, get her settled, talk to her doctors, and interview some potential local help. Perhaps set her up with a care manager. Then return to your career, your marriage, and you own life. Keep in touch with the care manager. Visit Mom more often than you have in the past, sometimes with your spouse if they get along.

I'm trying to convert this from an either/or plan to a both/and approach. Not either continue your life in your own setting or disrupt your life and move in with Mom. Instead both continue your own life, accepting some disruptions, and care for your mother, perhaps through professionals and with extra visits.
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She doesn't have to go right now. Her main doctors are all at her main home. She's had friends staying with her for the winter when all this happened and they are leaving this week. They have been caring for her through all of this. She will be alone . All her friends and neighbors in Florida have died and there really isn't a support system there . Just trying to get her back in her comfort zone
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Very, very tough place. Hugs. More hugs.

Don't do anything in a hurry. If your mother could keep this to herself for a year, you get at least a few more weeks to think things through very carefully before you make any major decisions.

Distinguish immediately, as well as you can, and with help from a counsellor ideally, between the turmoil of emotions that your mother's prognosis has stirred up, and the urgency of any actions you need to take.

It's probably a stupid question, but why does she need to move from her winter house necessarily? If she's not feeling well enough to arrange the logistics as usual, might it not be a good idea for her to sit tight for the time being?
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