Hi everyone. I have only recently discovered this board and feel the need to purge my story to hopefully get some helpful advice and support. This might take a while so please bear with me. I've never put my story in print before but...I think it's time. This feels like it will be healing for me. Thank you for reading.
My father died on February 24, 2012. He killed himself slowly through alcohol over about a 3 year stretch.
He had been a showman & musician all of his life but due to a severe car accident in 2010 (the people who hit him head-on died on impact) and a broken ankle - he was suddenly unable to travel or perform anymore. The reality, I think, killed his spirit and the depression that set in went untreated as he drank himself to death with vodka.
To backtrack a bit we have always been a close, tighknit, happy family. My parents had a pretty successful band in the 80's when we were kids so we made a lot of trips to Disneyworld - Dad's favorite place in the whole world. I was firstborn and definitely a Daddy's girl. If I so much as glanced at it, it was mine.
I went to expensive, exclusive private schools (financed sometimes by my grandparents) and got a great education. Both parents made sure both my brother and I got the very best of everything, even on our middle-class income.
It never occurred to me I might lose my Dad at the young age of 62 and, even though I am nearly 38, I was still VERY much dependent on him in some ways. I am married with 2 little boys but if my car went dead who did I call? Daddy. If I needed extra cash, who did I go to? Daddy. So, yes, in many ways this past year has thrown me into the harsh world of not having that crutch but that's all beside the point. I'm mainly here to talk about my Mom.
First, let me take you all to the week he died:
He only survived about a week in the ICU without his crutch of the bottle and was kept constantly doped up on Xanax. His eyes were red and watery, when he could keep them open, and my heart broke whenever I visited to see him strapped to the bed, mostly unconscious. Finally, the hospital decided the man with no insurance had to go so they told us to show on a Friday as we turned off the machines. Mom ran out of the room, my brother hovered in the corner, I stood there holding his hand, crying, "Daddy, can you hear me? It's ok, Daddy."
Ever since then things have been going downhill.
My mom had a seizure in the funeral home right in the middle of our meeting with the owner for his arrangements. Thankfully my brother held her and took over while I nearly had a panic attack outside. My father was a member of the SCV or Sons of Confederate Veterans and was VERY active in the Civil War reenactment community for nearly 20 years. He had a string band for most of those years and those guys definitely came through for us - they got the organization to rally around and pay ALL expenses for his funeral/casket - everything. I don't know what we'd do without them because not only did Dad leave us penniless, he left us with a HUGE amount of debt. I'll get to that in a moment.
Mom dived VERY deep into a pit of severe depression fueled by pills (whatever she could get her hands on) and alcohol to numb the pain and sleep as much as possible. I wasn't much better. We were HORRIBLE consolation to each other because neither was mentally strong enough to tell the other it was "going to be ok". See, Mom & Dad had been high school sweethearts and together for over 40 years. He was all she knew and he "took care" of her. At least we thought he did.
As for my brother, he disappeared into his own world at his home and dropped off the planet over those months.
Well, it didn't take long before the state was knocking on her door with a notice that they would be taking her house away for non-payment of taxes. We were floored. How much were these taxes?! Turns out the taxes themselves weren't all that much but when you don't pay a red cent for THREE YEARS you tend to irk the state slightly. She hustled to get together about 5 grand by draining the bank account and throwing every penny from her job into the problem, combined with loans from friends she knew she could never pay back.
Whew! Crisis over, right? WRONG. That was CITY taxes...now the COUNTY wants their cut as well and apparently THEY had not been paid in years either. This news puts us at a standstill. We are financially drained so start researching a reverse mortgage to pay the taxes off and keep Mom in her house.
Now, I'm not sure if all the incredible amounts of stress over the past year have contributed to my Mom's deteriorating health condition or not but it's nonetheless clear: something is wrong. Almost out of the blue she began showing signs of Parkinson's - "pill-rolling", swaying back and forth, leaning, smacking her mouth - some of these things she was unaware of, some she WAS aware of. In any case, she assumed a visit to her shrink and a nice pill cocktail would cure her ails. For a while, the cocktail actually worked! She was going to work every day, the strange habits stopped, her attitude improved...until it just stopped working. Instead, the pills began to have the adverse effect on her to the point where she was forgetting if she took them so she'd take more and nearly have a seizure. That's when I took every pill bottle out of her house to stop her from taking any and perhaps isolate what the cause might be. That was 2 weeks ago.
Right now she's back and forth from manic to depressed in the blink of an eye. Her entire personality has shifted from a sweet, cool, laid back, calm person to a mean, bitter, anxious, angry person. And the anger! It is out of CONTROL! And it's ENTIRELY misdirected! She's angry with her boss who she's worked with for 10 years for finally letting her go because she is both physically and mentally unable to do her job anymore. She flies off the handle over things that would usually not even get her attention. Some days she says things like, "No wonder your father drank himself to death" right to my face.
I go to her house every other day to check up on her, bring her groceries, whatever. It's the most I can do since she lives nearly half an hour away and I have 2 little children to take care of. Sometimes when I show up she's calm and happy to see me, more like herself. Sometimes, though, she's sluggish to the point that she can't get out of bed or stay awake or so strung out that she can't form a coherent sentence. Obviously I need to get her to a doctor but with no insurance this is going to get costly very quickly - especially since I'm sure a CAT scan is in her near future. Plus, she is PETRIFIED of a doctor visit. Even when I promise they won't admit her to a hospital (her worst nightmare) and insist the worst they will do is test her blood, maybe make her pee into a cup - she freaks OUT and it takes a while to calm her back down.
The thing that is beginning to bring me down is handling this ALONE. Naturally, my husband is there for me but he gets just as frustrated as I do and has just as much, if not MORE responsibility in his life with raising the kids with me and holding down a full time job. We're not enough - we need help. I have reached out over and OVER, begging, pleading my brother to do something - ANYTHING to help. Just drive to her house a couple of times a week, talk with her, make sure the dogs have food, re-hook up her computer - the same things I am being forced to do over and over all the while seeing zero improvement from her. He nods, emphatically agrees, says he will get up bright and early then go see her. He never calls, never shows. He insists his cell phone is broken beyond repair so that I cannot reach even through text. Not sure if this is a lie or not but it doesn't matter because even when he COULD text he would never answer my messages.
I have a million feelings towards my brother: anger, resentment, jealousy that he gets to check out, desperation as to why and how he can put me through all this and remain silent and distant. Does he WANT to drive me to a nervous breakdown? Does he CARE if I end up in the hospital?!
So now I've brought us up to present day. I get phone calls sometimes half a dozen, sometimes 20 times a day over anything and everything, depending on what kind of mood Mom's in. I am her savior, her provider, her grocer, her banker...I have a third child. A 63 child. She refuses to stay on a subject for more than a minute or two before she goes right back to her old standby: what her former boss and co-workers are doing and thinking about her right at this moment. She thinks they are plotting against her. Yesterday she demanded her debit card back from me because I "stole" $150 from her checking account. I told her that was 2 weeks ago and I've spent it on groceries and her cell phone bill.
Then there's the ever-present computer issue. Every single day she calls complaining about one of 3 problems: her mouse won't work, her keyboard won't work, her monitor won't come on. I have been to her house a dozen times to correct these problems and every single time I leave my work is undone over a 24 hour period. Yesterday she says, "I don't know why you're blaming ME for all this! I'M not the one unplugging everything!" I laughed and said, "What? You think leprechauns are sneaking into your house overnight to unplug all mouse and keyboard?! You live alone - there's no one around to do this but you!"
So here I am at this present moment. The anger and frustration is giving way to apathy and depression.
My husband has Tuesday and Wednesday off next week and I will be spending both of those days dragging her to both the social security office and the unemployment office to try and get SOME form of income going into her bank account because right now she's in the red and does not seem to give a flying you-know-what.
Hubby took the phone from me after an hour of saying the same things, calmly and gently, over and over again and said to her, "Your utilities are going to be cut off next week. Where are you going to live? With us and the boys or with your son?" That quieted her up so I thought it finally "clicked" until later on when she said, "Did you hear the way your husband talked to me? I can't believe he was so hurtful and rude!" *sigh*
Just wondering - why me? Why her? Why now? Why bother? This is pushing me over the edge and I don't know what to do to stop this impending freight train from smashing right into me. I have my own marriage and family problems to worry about yet she seems to think it's only HER I need to focus on. I'm almost drained, almost worn out. I don't know how much more I can take before I shut down.
Any posts and comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks mainly for just letting me vent. :)
I am so sorry all of this has happened to you. I'm so sorry you lost your dad and your mom is in such bad shape. I'm afraid it sounds like your mom won't get better without some serious Therapy and the correct meds. It sounds like your mom is broken and it's going to take some time to get her better. I know she does not have insurance but there are some options here. Mental Health Clinic, based on your income which in some cases is free or close to it. They have doctor's and Therapists. Also check to see if you have a free clinic for help with meds and sick visits. For free meds or discounts you can call the pharmaceutical co directly for the meds she needs. Check to see if she qualifies for Medicare/Medicade. Check to see where your nearest Social Services office is. She can get Therapy there too and you may be able to get some assistance with caring for her. I'm sure there are other avenues to check into but these are the ones I know.
Try to remember your moms behavior is because she is sick. She has not chosen this for herself and is not doing the things she's doing on purpose. She is not purposely try to hurt you. I know this is very difficult for you especially with a family to take care of. That's why it's so important to find help for her. Help to get her better and help to take care of her. It certainly does not sound like she is in the right frame of mind to take care of herself. In the meantime while your trying to get these other things worked out, can you ask some neighbors or her friends or a church close by to help you out with her?
I understand your anger, disappointment and frustration with your brother. His actions and behaviors are not unusual. I think your brother truly can't deal with the fact that his mother is sick. More than likely he doesn't understand the situation and feels he can't do anything to help. He is afraid. Ignoring what is happening on some level is his way of coping. It's very possible he is still grieving the loss of his dad. People heal differently and in their own time. So even though it's been a year, he may still be going thru his own turmoil. Add your mom on top of that and it sounds like he just shut down.
As hard as this is, you sound like a very strong women. Just because your brother is a man doesn't mean he can handle this type of situation, even though it's his mom. I know it would help you tremendously to have your brothers help and maybe in time he can help you. Could he possibly go to counseling as well as yourself. Possibly both of you together too. I think it would really help your sanity and help your brother to get on board.
Hang in there. I think your doing the right thing, just get help for your mom right away.
This particular site you posted on doesn't get used very much. If you post this on the depression forum too, you will get more responses. I know there are other avenues for help, med websites, organizations, phone numbers. I have read so many over the course of time but I just can't remember everything. I think you should be able to get more help and info on the depression forum.
Sorry for your loss. Your mom is suffering form the most difficult phase of life, Acceptance is the most important thing for Grievers.She needs emotional support.Look for a counselors that can help.http://www.professionalcounselingpiedmontva.com
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