I'm so sorry for this experience
I think the number one thing people should do is never ever send money on paypal as gift, because that is SO sketchy, so always do the pay for goods and services option (I feel like there should be kind of a commision-ee guide that will prevent scammings thread on here, that would probably save people from losing money), and never pay the full amount up front! always do half first for materials, the rest later once you see a completed commission.
Also, I'm sorry if this sounds super insensitive and mean, but I'd never buy the whole "something bad happened in life, but I can still have it done just later" spiel, in all the threads of people that have been scammed, that is the number one excuse on how to kind of "escape" the 45 day paypal rule, so you can't do anything to get your money back. I know that real life does happen, but at the same time, it's always, always found in scammer stories.
And please do say the name of the commissioner! I commission on here, and I really want to avoid being scammed, and I'm sure many other people do too. If you do get your stuff back/refunded, you can always edit out the name in the post!