The Emotional Stuff – Part 2


About 10 days ago I wrote this post.

2015-06-22 01Tonight I would like to follow that up with this piece, also written by my friend, Patty.

 In the town of my youth, behind the double brick home that is my mother’s neighbour’s house, is a hoarder.
The daughter of a very cranky, intolerant almost-100 year old father, (who lives in a nursing home on the other side of the river) she lives by herself with her mother’s memories and furniture.
Downstairs, you are barely able to squeeze past the belongings of her mother’s old home.
The furniture, the tables, the sofas, dusty with age and just covered with plastic, the china cabinets, and boxes, and boxes, and boxes of glassware and who-knows-whatever-else. All stored.
Filling up her house, cluttering her own life.
She moans to my sister as they hose their lawns. “I wish I could travel! It’s too expensive.”
My sister and I would sympathise and suggest she sell some of her mother’s possessions.
“Oh no! I could never do that! It’s too precious!”
And so her life is unlived, her home a rambling, chaotic mess of someone else’s life.
There’s barely enough room for herself. Her mother lives on, in every room.
It’s physically demanding, cramped and unacceptable.
She lives within the shadows, unhappy, miserable, resentful, and unable to move on.

She knows the answer to the situation, she just hasn’t asked herself the question.
Why keep it all, and what happened to MY life!

I have said to my own sons: “When I go, keep what you want, no obligation, and chuck the rest!”

While this is probably an extreme example, it is a stark reminder that we cannot live our lives if we are weighed down by emotional attachments to the stuff of previous generations.

How do you feel about this?  Have you had to deal with this sort of situation?

5 thoughts on “The Emotional Stuff – Part 2

  1. I agree with you. Keep what you like chuck the rest. I am very pragmatic and believe things should have a use. If they are if no use then I let go.

  2. Si, it depends why one would keep those belongings you see..
    I wouldn’t keep much of my mum’s belongings if she died because she wouldn’t have kept them herself if she was to live on for however longer destined for her to live.
    I also wouldn’t keep all because maybe the emotional attachment was between my and my mother, not me and the furniture.
    But then again – seeing the things that made my mother happy would make me happy after she leaves and I’d want to keep certain things for that reason.. like a pen she loved writing with or a necklace she loved wearing.. I’d even listen to songs that made her happy – just to relive the smiles and happy times..

  3. My aunt is a hoarder. She only hoards new things so the rest of my family doesn’t think it’s a problem. She lives with my grandma and the whole house, which used to comfortably house a family of six kids, is full to the brim with unopened kitchengoods and unread books. My grandma can’t get to her sewing table, can’t clean properly, and now she’s getting frail I worry about the clutter being a trip hazard. I understand the reasons my aunt feels compelled to collect things, but it means that she and her mother can’t live good lives. And the things aren’t used. It’s upsetting.

  4. My sisters and I have been through a fortunate situation. A few years after becoming widowed, Mom decided to sell the family home and downsize. It’s a big house, and had been collecting memories since 1966. We were all invited to come and clear out/take away anything that was sentimental or useful to us (provided she didn’t still want it for herself), and of course to help her clean and arrange the house for an ‘estate sale’ prior to selling the actual house. Hard, slow work. But good. We relived lots of memories TOGETHER, and were able to let many things go TOGETHER. It hadn’t been my choice, but I’m glad we have done it while Mom is still completely in charge of her own life. Later, we’ll have fewer hard choices to make.

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