Hoarding Woes: Apples to Oranges?

 

Scratching My Head by Chris Newson

As I watch the Hoarder shows on TV, I find it depressing and mind numbing. The same scratching finger nails on a black board negotiations to remove this item or that. The whole scenario is frankly depressing. I went through it with my mom, without the clean up crews,  camera crews, negotiators etc. In the end, she won in a way. She died in my home away from her stuff. My mom had that degree of stuff you see on those shows. I mean the extreme + smell + filth. I failed her on many levels. She owned her mess. But, I cannot absolve myself of not negotiating better to reach some solution.

Now, I care for my Aunt, an organized hoarder. A move it here…move it there..nice little-big piles of stuff. But, she is actually growing weary of all her stuff. She is bothered by it. Her solution is to have yard sales. Not likely now in the raw, wet cold of Winter.

So, at 93 y/o I am again not pressing anything with my Aunt. Small victories. Small steps. I have begun to consider her mind, her heart, her happiness. She is incapable of a massive effort to sort. And, I am incapable of forcing any issue re any stuff unless it is re safety & welfare. Some would argue it is all about that right now as it sets.

Perhaps. But, for now, I do not intend to convince her (if I even could) to get rid of anything save garbage. I sit amongst stacks. I sit in a chair that is always clear upon my arrival. A chair that was buried for years. I am blessed that she loves my visits and daily phone calls. She has taken my and mine into her home and ever so gradually into her heart. She never had children. Her husband has been gone for 45 years. Now her sis (my mom) is gone. She is alone. She was alone.

I am doing what my mom asked me to do just before she died. Take care of her sis. Not fix everything. Take care of her. Listen to her. Remind her of what is best and safe. Love her. As I write this, it is 40 degrees, stormy and I picture her up, sitting with a small 20 watt bulb burning in a nearby lamp. The radio is on low. She is as she says staring off into the dark remembering. Missing her sis. They would talk through the night on the phone. I picture that. I will not fail my mom or my aunt.

Oh, apples to oranges? Sisters with a hoarding ‘gene’. but different motives, different styles. A son, nephew that will spend the next several years marveling at, gringing at, enduring the why’s.

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