Hi everyone. I’m 33 years old. My mother, from whom I’d been estranged for a year and a half, passed away at age 61 from an overdose two weeks ago (she’d been smoking crack for the past few years but struggled with many different substances throughout her life). I lost my first father at age 6 to a heart attack. I lost my step-father at age 18 to a car accident. Since I was so young, I don’t feel as though I ever properly processed the death of my fathers. So losing my mom honestly feels like my first loss of a parent. I immediately went back to my home town when I heard the news and helped my sisters and brother cleaning out moms apartment, getting her accounts straightened out, and held a celebration of life for her. When the busy-ness of life slows down for brief moments, I find myself very sleepy. When I sleep, I have vivid dreams where I’m processing so much. I wake up with realizations such as, understanding why she carried so much pain inside of her, how she didn’t mean to hurt and abandon each of her children several times throughout our lives. I feel guilt for cutting her out of my life for her drug issues and the way she treated me and my children. Logically I know I set healthy boundaries she wasn’t able to mind. But there’s still guilt. I don’t even know where to go from here. Friends don’t understand. I hear things like “You’re lucky you had your mom until adulthood.” “It’s more painful when a parent dies slowly.” “You’re lucky your husband lets you rest.” It’s all so bizarre and I don’t know how to get out of the brain fog so that I can have energy, be present for my kids, and complete my coursework for my own college courses.