Hoarding’s Neglect Quotient (Beyond the Stuff)

Well now, we pretty much understand that the hoarder neglects health, home, space, finances, family, job, friends. Is it possible the people tasked with cleaning up after the hoarder also neglect the same areas of life?

A beautiful red rose that I removed from my mom’s yard and transplanted into my front yard. Beautiful despite my neglect.

Well, I am here to say I have. Factor in the hoarder’s ill health, decline, dementia, confinement, broken bones, hospice, death, funerals, grief, estate settlement, and any mental, physical, emotional, financial malady that can rear its ugly head and you are likely to be neglecting major portions of your life.

There was a time when my roses had a healthy look. The leaves were shiny green. There were no aphids, and buds opened with out blemishes. SwittersB

Those areas of my life that provided me solace, strength, courage, pleasure, peace of mind and heart are severely missing now. The balance of life that keeps us straight and steady is missing. How did that happen? This should be just adding extra bricks on the load of normal life…right?

Such a beautiful rose. The old adage of stopping to smell the roses is so true…even to stop and recognize the beauty. SwittersB

Personal strife, familial strife, ill health, work demands, being in the dark on figuring out legal, home improvements, making power of attorney decisions, making end of life decisions, geeeze….it goes on and on. Much of it is new territory for folks. Sure there are , those that share advice, professionals that waltz in and provide great advice at hundreds of dollars an hour, on line gurus, TV shows and even blogs that share their ordeals.

Gardening has always been a passion of mine. Yet for the last few years I suffer from what I imagine a hoarder deals with…procrastination and/or ‘I’ll get to that later’. Neither the flesh nor the spirit is willing to do the simplest tasks of dead heading, pruning, a little (or a lot of weeding). I took these photo’s so at least I got out to do that. SwittersB

If you are alone handling all this, then seek all the help you can and don’t be too proud to ask. Even if you are part of a ‘team’ it is critical to regroup, assess, critique, even ask where are we headed. Because as you are figuring your capabilities out, don’t be stubborn if you cannot meet certain goals.

Thankfully, some things do survive despite my neglect. SwittersB

With my mom’s house I had a timeline that I had to adhere to and massive debts attached to the house. I ran out of energy, suffered pain. I resisted help. Ultimately I gave into help and then had to resist a sense of failure. I had to adapt and not attach silly pride to the completion of a task that was just too much for my mind and body.

Now with my Aunt’s hoarding mess, the truly hard part is over. The heart break of removing her from her home for medical reasons. The reality of dementia and bitterness. The realization she was never coming home and then the decline and death. The sadness of that sweet little girl in turmoil and addiction withdrawal. Now we need to pace ourselves and we are figuring out volume, value/worth, neighborhood tolerances, marketing, donations and doing all this while neglecting the personal life.

Our home is in need of a deep cleaning. Our yard is sad and has been for the last three years. Our health is in limbo and frankly all of the Team has a tendency toward intense focus and plowing ahead to get it done, but at the neglect of the bigger picture. Then we all stand up, moan from our collective pains and notice that our personal lives are in need of repairs, a new coat of paint, extreme power washing.

So, to summarize my wanderings….while you deal with the neglect and accumulations of the hoarder realize how vulnerable you are to neglecting your own life while you struggle to figure out that hoarding puzzle. Reassess often. As you look at the hoarding mess…also, stand aside once in awhile and look over your shoulder to make sure your own life is in order.


3 thoughts on “Hoarding’s Neglect Quotient (Beyond the Stuff)

  1. Such a thoughtful post. I doubt that any who read it will not recognize this malady in some form or another in their own lives. It’s the old story of putting on your own oxygen mask first so that you may help those around you.

    Keep chugging along……

  2. Gary, you have the makings of a very interesting book. Your journey with your beloved ladies, and the realizations you have come to along the way are inspirational ( I always hesitate to use that word, as it gets over used) and compelling to read.
    Your pictures are part of the story, and should be included. You write with such compassion, I have mentioned this before, and you are also a natural writer, possibly because the subject matter is so near to your heart.

    Keep writing, I will keep reading.

  3. Tish

    Your roses are beautiful. I’m glad you got a chance to really look at them, even if it was only for 5 minutes. The beauty of resilient plants is that they wait patiently until you can return to them. Remember – neither they nor you need to be perfect to bring joy to the world.

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