Hoarding Woes: Awkward Moments

So, my aunt went south for Christmas. She was gone longer than anticipated. She came home yesterday. Picture her sitting at the curb, in the car. Time to get out and go to the door. Yes, except her sister and nephew intend to not only walk her to the door, but to go inside with her.

Standing at the door, she attempts to bid them goodbye. But, they insist on staying to visit so the sister can rest a while after the long drive. My aunt had a very awkward hour or so as her nephew and sister sat in her house or walked about through the aisles inspecting.

I know my aunt. It has taken months of building trust to walk anywhere in the house without her by our side. Trust had not been established with her intruding sister or nephew. She sat, mortified, and suffered through time, embarrassed and ashamed. The sister, full of herself and a busy body, passed judgment. She, of course, lives in a pristine home, as does the nephew.

As I sat in her home last night, I watched my aunt and how demoralized she was. I thought to myself…do I capitalize upon this shame and push now for more cleanup or do I side with her to relieve her of her guilt and shame.

As I pondered, she said I think what I have done is beyond forgiveness. I must do something. An opening I heard. Well I asked..’where shall we start?’ So many options. She remarked that maybe the kitchen (my favorite target for certain). So, we have a target. Now time is needed and her memory being what it is, she may not remember in a few days.

Example: She came home to a beautiful bouquet of red and white tulips I had brought her as a gift just five days earlier. Her sister asked who gave you the tulips. My aunt could not recall where they came from. So as I entered her house yesterday, she commented upon the mysterious appearance of the tulips. I reminded her that the tulips had come from me and a gracious benefactor. She had no recollection. The upside, she got to enjoy her flowers as anew again.

She had a very good time on her Christmas venture to the south, away from her stuff. But, she admitted to a nagging uneasiness while gone. She did not sleep well at night. She was in a bed, and found it awkward compared to her couch. Also, she did not do a good job taking her meds and no one there knew or made the effort to see to her taking her drugs. So, she was a bit off with out her blood pressure meds or pain pills being taken.

All in all, she survived the trip just fine. Happy to be home surrounded by her stuff, she made a commitment to attack the kitchen. We shall see if we can keep her focused upon the target and moving forward.

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