Since I brought my mom home from the hospital Sept. 12th, I've observed her having countless crying spells. Unless she is engaged in conversation with me or engrossed in a television show, she is weeping. Hearing her do this (and it is nearly constant) is affecting my own proclivity for depression. Mom has always suffered from mental disorders (bi-polar, ocd, depression), and is medicated for them (she takes fluoxetine, trazodone, diazepam, and perphenazine.) This particular depressive episode has been stubborn and resistant to medication.

A couple of nights ago, mom started in with the crying thing. As I usually do, I asked, "What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

She took me by surprise with her answer.
She said, "I'm afraid of dying."

I'm at a loss. I have the same fear. This is a fear that is recent for me, and one that has kept me awake at night.

My mom is deeply Catholic, and because of her steadfast devotion to the church, I never thought a fear like this could possibly exist in her.

I can handle the medical side of her depression, but how do I address this?
What can I say to comfort her and make her feel better about a subject like that? I could really use any help or advice you can offer. (It would help both my mom ...AND me. )

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Ask her if she would like to see a priest and encourage confession, and anointing of the sick. This used to be called Last Rites, so your mom may see it under its past description.
Feeling absolved may bring her peace.
Maybe pray with her for strength to face this blessed journey. Concentrate on the positive teachings of Catholicism relating to afterlife. Pray Psalm 23 with her.
"Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of The Lord

Of course death is scary, regardless of faith t is largely an unknown.
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Call the priest and let him get her straight according to the church. If he's some kind of fire-breathing nut, get him right out of there. I've only run across one of those, but they do exist.

What are you more afraid of, dying or death? If it's dying, try to get in touch with the chaplain of a nearby hospice for a description of what to expect.

If it's death, well, dead people miss out on a lot, but they are also free of pain and suffering. I don't believe in heaven, but when I do, I think I'll see my parents and other relatives again. I think that my father will still be full of piss and vinegar, but will be free of the fears that sometimes made him act badly.
we will be ourselves, but a happier, healthier version.

Admit to Mom that you, too, have fears, and share them. Help her explore her fears to figure out the scariest part, and how to make that less scary. Remind her that you love her, and Jesus loves her, so how bad can it be?

You don't need to take away her fear. You may not be able to. What you can do is to be with her in her fear, and then she won't be feeling so alone.
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I can think of at least three aspects to fear of dying:
1) Afraid that death will happen soon.
2) Afraid of the process of dying -- pain, anguish, etc. Afraid of being alone while dying.
3) Afraid of the afterlife, or that there is no afterlife, etc.

If you can talk about her fears a little and discover where her focus is that may help you discuss it with her. Of course you cannot assure her she won't die -- everyone dies -- but you can assure her you will do everything possible to minimize pain, etc.

Since she has a strong religious faith, I agree with the others who have suggested inviting a priest to discuss her fears with you both.

Is she, in fact, likely to be close to the end of her life? If so, enrolling her in hospice can be a comfort to both of you. They can talk openly about the dying process, and also have a chaplain talk with her.
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Hi, Angels19, a hug for you and a hug for your mom. Aren't we all afraid of the unknown? I agree, I'm sure a priest would be glad to come visit your mom; and I'm sure you've let the doctor know about the length and depth of this depression. I don't know where you live, but I always struggle with seasonal affective disorder in the fall; my doctor prescribed a special light I use each morning.

Is your mom able to express any details about her fears...that she'll be in pain, that she'll be alone...what happens after death...that you won't be able to take care of her?

Would your mom be open to any of the things that help those with depression...a gratitude journal, helping others, pet therapy?

Maybe the only thing you can do for your mom is to give her a hug and empathy. Please take care of yourself, too. Peace and good wishes to you.
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Call the insurance company and they may be able to send out a Pastor or Priest that may be best suited to address this question. Did she go to mass on Sundays? If so, perhaps someone from her church can come and sit and talk to her a about her fears. My heart goes out to you. My mother's prayers were about dying and I think you're right it is easier to discuss that because we know why, but afraid of dying? I'm not sure how I would have handle it. I'm sure any church would send someone to talk to her or at least give you some advice how to handle it.
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I would certainly not want to suggest that anyone abandon their faith or religion, but I have found that what some people think is true of their religion and the afterlife is sometimes what causes the fear of dying. The simplest answer if you want to stay true to Catholicism would be two consoles with your parish priest for comfort. I think you may find that some of the scarier things about death and dying are more geared to "bad" people with and forgiven transgressions. "Good" folks, when to have even made mistakes but follow the prescribed rules are supposed to exist forever in a glorious heaven. Perhaps some hand holding and confident wording from you and/or her priest could bring her back closer to her beliefs.

On the other hand, if you want to expand your thinking into the realm of metaphysics, I would recommend a very simple little book by Jerry and Esther Hicks entitled "Sara and the Foreverness of Friends of a Feather" (available on Amazon). It looks like it could be a children's book but it is ageless. Since it is just a story, you could read it to your mom without offending any of her religious sensibilities. You and she can take from it what you will.
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