So Who Were These Hoarding Masterminds?

My Aunt, The Hoarder (SwittersB)

Many of us have watched the television shows about the hoarder and the difficulties of the hoarder, the family and the experts brought in to solve the hoarding mess.

Often, but not always, those hoarders seem to fit a profile of older, unkempt, dirty and cantankerous. I am not sure what one would expect with such provocation media. Of course they are cantankerous. I, of course, have no idea about the lead time and permissions attached to such shows. All I am personally acquainted with are my Mom and my Aunt and their hoarding homes.

For some time now (over two years) I have written about hoarding and also our personal experiences with disease, hospice, vigils, death, grief and the psychological/logistical aftermath of dealing with hoarding cleanups. Some of the writing has maybe been poignant and some more clinical.

I have always written this blog from my perspective; my emotional roller coaster. I have offered advice, but only from my own narrow perspective, hoping it might pertain to some portion of what others deal with. Also, the writing inherently portrays these hoarding women, by virtue of how they lived, as mentally ill or at a minimum obsessive. That is indeed a sad thing really. 

Today, I thought it better to just say these ladies were sweet hearts. Such noble, courageous women. I love them both dearly and miss them terribly. Yes, jokes are offered up often that they are looking down on us with delight over the mega sales or shaking their heads over pricing or covering their faces in momentary shame. But, also, sometimes the sadness of it all sweeps over us bringing us to tears. 

Loneliness…treasures that gave solace…lovely taste that showed elegance and refinement…disgust with their condition…memories of what was…patriotism borne from WWII…a work ethic that would grind many into a standstill…fierceness…anger over their early abuses, some of which I suspect were unspeakable…a love of money & ‘merchandise’…crazy about organizing a grand sale…the difficulty with saying ‘I love you’…a lady like way when out and always topped off by those darn wigs…and a ferocious holding onto their final breaths while holding my hand.

All the mildew, mold, stench, water damage, waste, filth, drop boxes, broken backs, mind numbing repetitions aside for us….these were women that demanded respect. They exemplified the expectation of how a man should behave, work and take care of his own.

They also exemplified what happens when love is lost. When that special someone is permanently gone. When one does not move through the grieving process, but clings to the past and does what makes one feel best…..over and over and over.

So as we move through this arduous cleanup, I often am reminded (I’m not making this up..honest) that these women simply sought love and comfort. Just the wrong ways. There is a reverence if one stops and considers their past. If one didn’t know their past it would be very easy to judge them solely on the hoarding mess…the hoarding woes. Beautiful ladies they were.

My Mom, The Hoarder (SwittersB)

7 thoughts on “So Who Were These Hoarding Masterminds?

  1. I read your blog from beginning to end when I found it originally. You have never been anything but respectful to your mother and your aunt in explaining their challenges on your blog. The over all feeling is one of great commitment, love and finally…..endurance. You have painted a wonderful picture of two women who did their best with the circumstances they were dealt, just as we all try to do in life. Well done.

    1. BumP

      Bonnie is correct about your blog. There are times you have to voice your frustration and that is ok. No one but a man/true angel and a lovely family could take care of the trials you have been through the last two + years and now there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel perhaps. 😉 keep up the great work.

  2. Very, very well said! You are doing the very best that you can and have given, and continue to give them, the best of you by doing all that you’ve done and continue to do. I don’t know that I could be so strong … I salute you!

  3. Tish

    Every person and their story is so much more complicated than what is shown on TV. Your blog has been respectful and human, loving and exasperated, full of humor and sadness and all of the other emotions we experience as we live our lives as best we can. It’s been a great tribute to wonderful, complicated, fully human women written by a wonderful, complicated, fully human family member.

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