Reaching out…

BY tarps 2011

I/we have not been posting as much in this stage of life. But, I see folks linking to Hoarding Woes & You on a weekly basis. So, I thought I would once again extend to anyone in the midst of this crisis in life to feel free to write re questions for me and/or other viewers. Please feel free to write and I will get back to you.

Catching up…

but only regarding communicating with you. Not catching up with residual stuff left over after two massive hoarding cleanups.

BY tarps 2011

I few observations re how things might happen to us and to others:

I have remarked before about the sentimental stuff we kept after the two hoarding cleanups. We kept way too much stuff that we will never use.

BY corner

We are still and probably permanently mentally drained from the effort. I think damage was done to our mental capacity to absorb new challenges. We drained the batteries down and we seem incapable of recharging to full capacity.

HH4

Take that mental capacity and now join it together with recently suffering health on both our parts and we find ourselves mentally and physically in a hole. My partner has always been the driving force behind organizing and getting it done. I was fortunate beyond belief in having her steadfast resolve in seeing every cleanup project through. Now that has become severely compromised by health and I find without her, I do not have the same resolve either. This is frustrating for us both because we do need to finish up those final cleanup phases!

kitchen-stairs-to-dining-rm1

We also have pending cleanup likely of a family member that has all manner of stuff. Not of a massive nature but still a lot of stuff that will have to be dealt with in the not to distant future.

And so it seems we might be in a position similar to where our passed loved ones were in life when the saw their dilemma, but did not possess the mental or physical capacity to address the issues. We don’t have a shame factor so letting someone in would not be the problem. But right now, we would feel overloaded and befuddled to delegate or organize a push for a completed solution. A far cry from five years ago when we conquered every obstacle in our pathway.

driveway

So I think the take away is don’t leave or create loose ends if burnout or physical debilities are going to thwart your abilities to take on those last vestiges of finishing up. It may not get done later and then what?

I don’t mean this to be a do or die moment in life for us. But it shows how you can be a few steps away from the place our loved ones were and then they compounded it all with more and more acquisitions…

Almost Done

So we pray Springtime and a bit of warmth and sunshine will lift the Winter doldrums and give us renewed focus and energy to once and for all be done with stuff that lingers from the hoarding past. It sure as heck is a very long ways from the old days for sure….. thanks for reading!!!

Should note, so as not to alarm, these are photos from the cleanup days and not now!!! 🙂

 

 

 

Deja vu….

Been awhile since I last posted here at Hoarding Woes & You. I hope some of you new visitors have found the back posts of interest in helping you deal with the stresses of hoarding, at whatever level you are dealing with the problem.

Out family is yet again, facing some of the same variables that we dealt with these past several years: elder care, dementia, denial, moderate accumulations of stuff, family dynamics, future health care decisions, cleanups and wondering how the family will deal with the evolving stages.

This time, a probable benefit will be a larger family unit to assist in cleanups, decision-making and elder care.

The same sensibilities are evolving: attempting to not steamroll the elders with impatience, confusing advise or many voices at once. Pride and fears are evident in the elders and it important the family members remind each other to go slow, to listen as much as speak, to share the load of care and to give the elders some sense of ownership and empowerment as life unfolds. So far, this effort at awareness has had its bumps and hurt feelings.

Also, some have worked to the point of exhaustion or illness. Yet, most have jobs, other obligations of family and their own respective health issues. It is a blessing that this time around we, as an extended family unit, have more human potential to maintain a happy, healthy course of action.

I have been ill of late (nothing too serious), but it highlights more than rising off one’s sick bed to help at all costs…no, one is contagious and cannot be around already sick elders and all that could go with infecting the sick elder as well as the caregivers.

Again, we are faced with a wait and see mode regarding any cleanups because the elders are really not of a mind to have their belongings moved let alone sold or donated. So, to keep the peace, we are organizing a bit, suggesting cleanups and yard maintenance, but not pushing true removal/thinning of items. This next effort pales in comparison to our two previous hoarding cleanup, but will still require decisions on downsizing, moving, sales, keepsakes, etc.

Even here, there is a hesitancy to complete DNR paperwork or at least have a discussion. With one member being in moderate dementia the time may have passed to have a meaningful discussion re healthcare expectation and end of life decisions.

So, even having been down this road several times before, we find ourselves looking at some of the same problems again. 

Hoarding Transitions…

For those of you that have followed along here at Hoarding Woes & You, you have seen the transitions of the house and the immediate surroundings (the driveway, the patio, the carport/garage). I thought I would share a sequence of images of the back yard that transformed from my Aunt’s well maintained, heavily flowered venue to a mess and to what we have created this past few months….

Tillie backyard 1987
My Aunt’s backyard in 1987…representative of the entire back yard…but by now she had started filling the patio and had created the tarped sidewalls.
patio walls
The patio, a lovely spot at one time, was encased in layers of canvas/tarps and then the 20′ x 20′ x 10′ area was completely filled.
BY tarps 2011
The once well maintained backyard was filled with pallets and box upon box of stuff…covered with layer upon layer of blue tarps.

 

BY tarps 2

BY corner
The cleanup commenced and layers of rotting stuff and dead animals were pulled away.
backyard-pile-gone
The backyard was cleared leaving a muddy mess….but this vacuum was filled yet again with debris from cleaning nearby areas…this happened repeatedly…

 by pile

The photos could go on and on over the last few years cleanup, renovations, and now the new back yard…I will just show the end result
BY 5-2015

by 5-2015 c

BY 5-2015 a

Not quite as laden with flowers, but still closer back to the original. The birdbath remains…somewhere there is a photo of me standing there some 55 years ago…but let’s not go there!!! Sorry for the size of some of the photos…Hope those of you that followed along from the beginning or somewhere in between enjoy this sequence. All of the roses were my folks and my Aunt’s. It feels so good to bring a semblance of beauty back to the yard and the house.

Hoarding Woes Update..

Hello all! I do hope you all had a pleasant holiday season and are facing a positive pathway in the new year!!! Hopefully not a hoarding pathway! But, if you are I wanted to let you know a few things.

I have noticed, of late, that I have daily additions of followers to Hoarding Woes & You. I am most thankful you have found your way here, if even for infrequent searching. I must let you know, I will only post here now on a rare event. Most of my/our activities in life (post hoarding cleanups) are over on SwittersB & Exploring. I welcome your visits over there where I share our passion for photography, fly fishing, travel and writing. It is what we are trying to do to rebuild our lives, our minds and hearts.

single bloom cactus-Mojave-desert-photography-SwittersB

That said, the aftermath of the hoarding cleanups is still there. Unopened boxes, too much of our own stuff now having kept too much of my Mom and Aunt’s treasures. We are faced with what many are faced with after cleaning up a hoarding mess that they didn’t foresee…trapped with too much in the aftermath. And, too tired or distracted to address the problem. Hmm? That’s dangerous because one illness, one protracted crisis leaves us right where our hoarder so often was.

Illness, weakness, a crushed spirit saps resolve from our core. We procrastinate, we turn away from the stuff and just give up. Not that we are there, but we are besieged with physical ailments that bring us to a halt for days on end. Also, the good side of life intervenes with holidays, birthdays, celebrations, hobbies things that were sacrificed before and are now taken in like some healthy elixir. We are trying to make up for lost time and at the same time not quite finishing up what needs to be done.

So, I may or may not delve into this along the way. But, as I have said before, please if you are a new visitor take the time to go back to the beginning and study the past. Not so much about our journey but to gather understanding, patience, courage, strength for what you are facing and have not quite yet grasped the magnitude of it all.

Also, please write and ask questions if you wish. I will always be alert to Hoarding Woes & You…see I saw I had quite a few new followers lately. So, I want to help if I can or just be an ear for your journey. 

Again, best wishes for 2015!!!

 

A first Christmas in the ‘hoarding house’….

the project house, the ‘cottage’, the ‘hoarding house’, ‘Tillie’s’ (my beautiful Aunt’s name house). Our first Christmas in the house is miraculous. We are full of joy and bountiful thanks.

first xmas tree cottage

Joy abounds. Thanks beyond our wildest dreams comes forth. Small ‘but’ we are damaged and maybe forever beyond renewal. We are so banged up we cannot make an assessment that connects with the past abilities to assess and rebuild. We got blown way off course to a new world. The past markers do not seem to connect to the present reality.

first xmas cottage

We aged, we were physically damaged on top of existing ailments, and most importantly we suppressed our mental anguish while trying to complete the two hoarding house cleanups and now come out on the other end disconnected and grasping to create a new new. Life is busy. Pain and suffering have created immediacy and focus on ‘now’. We seem unable to go back to find the past and bring it forward to ‘heal’. 

entryway

I don’t write any of this to be dramatic or seeking even a response. It flows forth as it is. A trauma from hoarding woes. Not different from anyone suffering much more catastrophic damage and having to move on in a new realm.

pointsettias

We mounted an effort to respond to the hoards. We were situated in life with strengths and weaknesses. We moved forward to attack the hoards. But, we (our lives) were simultaneously besieged with additional assaults and challenges aside from the hoards. It all mounted together to wear us down into the present. We won the war…all the damn battles…but we are crippled.

xmas red characters

And, there is life. We survive with scars, limps, pains, traumas, mental defects as victors..as survivors of what others created and we took on. Regrets?

Not sure…so numb and discombubliated as we are now. I/we cannot understand it all. Life in all its raw reality moves on. The clock ticks. Life passes by. It seems wasteful, pointless to go back now to dissect the why’s of hoarding and the damn damage it did to two beautiful women! Damn it!!! Damn!!!

Christmas was throughout their lives the most important time of year for my Mom and Aunt. They left home, in their teens, between Thanksgiving (no thanks) and Christmas. They each moved alone cross country to escape terrible abuse. They rejoined at Christmas time. Joy! Salvation! They both attached a HUGE significance to surviving their journeys and arriving together during Christmas just before WWII.

My admiration for strong women knows no bounds! I tear up thinking how damn strong they were, how sad they were.