Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why We Hoard The Things We Do

We have been working at my mom's house, trying to help her have a rummage sale.  I come from a long line of pack rats.  I like watching the hoarder show.  In doing so, I'm beginning to understand "why" people collect and save the things they do. 

For instance, when I was little, I can remember not having many socks or mittens.  I can remember wearing socks as mittens.  If you were to come to my house would see about 5 laundry baskets of socks and 3 of mittens.  I understand now, that I didn't want my kids to go without them, so I hoarded them.  There are other "things" in my life that this is also true with.

My mom was born during the depression and grew up during hard times.  I understand why she has cupboards downstairs full of old food - at a time in her life she was hungry.  She also had to feed all of us on a budget.  I not only understand this, but have empathy for her.    

I struggled with wanting to help her.  I do this for a living you know.   I've tried in the past and was viewed as "the one who was 'making' grandma get rid of stuff.  This is why it has taken so long to do this.  However, it needs to get done.  My mom actually wants to look at her "treasures."  If she dies before I get a chance to help her and let her do this, I will feel like I failed her.  I have to live with me - and the decision I make.  I don't have to care how this is viewed as long as I know I am helping her.  

I've been so pleasantly surprised with some of the decisions that she is making!  She is looking at all of her "treasures" and actually letting them go!  I keep encouraging her by saying "good job mom" or "that's a good decision."  It also helps if I say "well, I think that is worth $5 if we put it in the rummage" - she says "let it go then."  

Don't get me wrong, with any hoarder (myself included), there have been struggles with getting rid of some of it.  Working on this has actually been therapeutic for her and me.  She said to me, "well, at least now, I can make some money and pay some of my bills so I can die in peace."  

Facing end of life decisions is difficult.  When my dad passed on, it was hard.  Many in my family had/have difficulty with it.  My coping with loss is different.  I am able to view my parents passing with an attitude of  "I was so blessed to be their daughter - they provided us with a wonderful family and childhood."  I don't dwell on the fact that he is gone, rather how happy I am that he was my dad.  I'm not one of those "glass half empty" people.  I don't understand that.   I'm thankful for my faith in loss, that it isn't the end, rather the beginning for our loved one.  We still have to live out our end here - we will see them again.   Jesus said that if we believe on Him we will have everlasting life.     

My intentions are to help my mom.  Doing "right" by her wishes.  I am enjoying the time spent with her doing this.  With almost every item we take out of an old box from the basement she tells us the story behind it.  It is nice for her to remember and nice for us to share in the memory. 

So, here's to letting go, moving forward, saying good bye to our "treasures" and growing from the experience.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

P.S. - the sale will be in late September - before Ringle Harvest Day!

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