A Eulogy for a Sweet, Demented, Hoarder

Sweet Aunt Tillie (July 4th...her 94th Birthday...just into the care facility)

No, I am not being disrespectful. We meet with the Pastor presenting the funeral service for my Aunt in a few hours. He will want to know all about this woman that lived for 94 years. What does one say? Life’s journey minus decades of hoarding and a finish shaded with hallucinations and dementia’s pall. You talk about the early struggles and journey. The pride in her gardens and home (well the front at least). Her blossoming in the final two years of her life that allowed her to be around children, to ultimately say “I Love You”. Her hugs and sweet smile, that had been unused for so many years. The blessing she gave to our lives. Throw in some of the obligatory scriptures and I believe the Pastor, who never met her will be able to paint a word picture worthy of the sweet girl. Some of us will also stand and present our recollections of this woman. 

It is instructive that much can be salvaged in even months if the past is set aside. My mom was a difficult customer to get close to. She was able to keep her distance and this was particularly necessary from her perspective because of her hoarding home. But, in the final five months of her life she had to stay with my wife and I in a terminal illness mode. The past became unimportant. Each day was a pronounced passage toward the end. We cleared away a lot of rubble, and focused on just love and gentleness.

Such was the case with my dear Auntie. All her past hoarding, all her paranoia and accusations and escape attempts meant nothing as we all honed down our focus to but one thing….our love for her and her love for her family. What a fitting ending.

‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ (Corinthians 13:13)


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