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Lost my mom after years of mental illness and then dementia


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My mom suffered with lifelong mental health issues. We are talking countless hospitalizations, medications, and shock treatments in the hundreds. She eventually developed vascular dementia from being a heavy smoker and all the treatments that she endured to try to hang on to any scraps of sanity and normal. To say my childhood was in constant upheaval is an understatement. My early adulthood was chaos as well. 

Times were not always horrible. And when my momma was well, she was my best friend. With the past 10 years of her life lived in a nursing home, and watching her completely lose herself little by little, I had forgotten so many of the good times and the good momma she was when she was well.

She passed away on 1/19, and I just made it to be with her when she left. We had put hrt on hospice just the week before because her appetite shifted to non-existent and then we think she had a stroke or some other neurological shift because she was no longer able to eat, and she lost her ability to speak. At the time of the hospice admission, I honestly didn’t think we were going to lose her. At least, not that soon. 

I am in limbo because her funeral isn’t until 2/17 because my sister lives in Arizona and while she was here in Wisconsin for the week after mom passed, she needs to travel back and be here for a bit again. 

This has been the longest couple weeks of my whole life. I’m having anxiety all the time and have had to start taking Xanax again. The anxiety comes out of nowhere. I mean, I know it’s stress. But I can feel relaxed and fine and then WHAM. 

I haven’t been back to the nursing home where she lived yet. We are having her services at the chapel there because she was a beloved resident and she had amazing caregivers and staff there. I need to go back to test the software for the live stream we are doing for the funeral due to some family members not being able to travel here (thanks to Covid, which is still a thing, and part of why mom declined so quickly as well. She had it over Christmas)

I am not sure what I need here. Maybe just a safe space to hash things out. I want to write a book about my life and my relationship with my momma. It’s completely unfair that she suffered so much in this life. If anyone deserves peace, it is her.

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Hi Kerit71,

Unless someone has been through it, they will never understand the devastation caused by mental illness. Although my mom was never hospitalized, she too lived with mental illness which had a profound effect on us, her children. 

I am so sorry for what your mom (and you) went through. My condolences on your loss and despite all of the complex and traumatic issues, she was still your mom. There were good moments amid the chaos and I totally understand that. 

It was kind of like that in our family. After my mom passed in 2019, I went through a stage where I grieved not only my loss, but the loss of the life my mom could have had. An abusive childhood and mental illness took that from her. 

These are early days yet for you in your grief and you have to do whatever feels best in order to cope. I had full blown panic attacks out of no where too, it was awful. My sisters did not experience this and grieved differently than I did. And that's okay. There is no right or wrong way to grieve such a great loss. 

I hope you find some comfort here on this site and have a good support system around you, as you come to terms with the loss of your mom. 

Thinking of you,


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