I’m sorry that you have found yourself in this difficult situation. Small families can be wonderfully close and intimate, but sometimes that can feel suffocating as well. It sounds like your mother is experiencing depression, though she may be in denial, but you cannot fix it for her. What you can do is be relentless about suggesting that she get some professional help outside of the family. If she tells you that she is fine, confront her with what you have described here, that’s it’s not normal to cry so much and sleep her time away.
If you really want to go all out you could make an appointment with a therapist yourself in your home town and request family therapy. If you (and maybe even your father) go with her, it may seem less frightening and she may be more likely to continue on her own. You can also encourage her to speak with her doctor about what she is referring to as a “mid-life crisis.” She may have enough trust in her doctor to get a therapy referral from them, or to try medication.
But, no matter how much you try to help your mom, you have to go on with your life and she needs to find ways to fill the gaps in her own. She is an adult, and so are you. I know you said that you can’t speak to your father about it, but I disagree. He may have other issues going on but he is her spouse and thus should also be her number one support. At a minimum, let him know you are concerned.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts