Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cleaning Up 40 years

Oh my goodness.  Our elderly relative who recently died left a huge mess for the family.  She was a Depression era child, and never psychologically recovered from being put into an orphanage for a while.  It was apparently fairly common -- at least there kids would get meals.  It was the equivalent of the state taking custody of your children these days, except the parents had control.  At any rate, it created such an insecurity in her that "things" became very important.

When she was a military wife, it didn't really manifest much because she had to move so often the accumulation would get sorted through frequently.  Plus, they didn't have much money.  But in her later years, after she inherited money, and they stopped moving around, things began to pile up.  After her husband died in 2000, it really accelerated.

We would try to help take things out -- even newspapers and magazines -- and she would start physically shaking and tearing up.

So now we have the nightmare to deal with. On the other hand, God is using this to bring family members together who had been somewhat estranged because of the way the elderly relative had manipulated the relationships.  We find photos of early occasions together and laugh and remember.  It's very healing.

So...I will continue to visit sporadically until we get it under control.  We can't even have the "pros" come in yet, mostly because there are some very valuable items in the house -- we just don't know exactly where they are.



The Bug said...

This is the kind of thing my mom was trying to avoid in her later years (plus she got tired of dusting so much "junk" as she called it). But my dad, while not accumulating more, is probably not going to go through what he already has, what mom didn't get to before she died. Which, um, might mostly be stuff that my brother & I have stored in their basement. Eek!

I'm glad for the healing - may it continue unabated so that you can finally enjoy living near family like you had hoped to!

P.S. my word verification is "undidis" which I take to mean that you guys have "undid" some of the harm :)

Anita said...

I liked reading this post because it is confirming my thoughts of getting rid of a lot of stuff(junk) that I have in my large home.

My husband and I were 36 and 40 when we married, therefore, we had two complete households. Plus, both of us are sentimental, so we have keepsakes galore. Our attic is practically another house.

I have finally realized that my three children will have to deal with it all if we don't get rid of it. It's difficult, because as you mentioned, there are treasures buried within the mess, so we have to go through it.

Praying for my husband to get on board. :)

ps. We're not as bad as the hoarding people. lol