Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Follow up to a Letter to Ms. S

A while back, i wrote a letter i would never send to Ms. S, my Monday client. 

Everything in that letter still applies.  The other day, she was sitting on her couch, trying to decide where to put the 25+ pairs of gloves she has.  When i asked her if she wanted to get rid of some of them, she said, she couldn't make such a decision.

"What am I going to do with all this crap?" she asked me.

Move into an apartment or condo, i told her.  Bring with you only exactly what you want and need and can still reasonably use, and let the rest be donated or trashed.

"You sound like my son!" she said.  Then, "I can't make so many decisions any more.  I should have done just that after the divorce, gotten a small apartment, only kept what I really needed.  Now I'm stuck with all this stuff, and I can't make decisions any more."

This is exactly what i feared, what i expressed in that letter i'd never actually send.  She has come to the place where she doesn't want to and cannot physically deal with all of it.  The idea of making a decision to move, only taking what she actually uses, letting one of those companies that does estate sales come in and get out what's usable and sell it for her, simply overwhelms her.

She is stuck in a sea of stuff she can't deal with because she has let it go on so long she is paralyzed.

It breaks my heart.

Yesterday i did as much as i could, as i do every Monday.  The cat has clean litter, the dog yard was picked up, all the sinks and tub and toilets were cleaned, some laundry was done.  The areas i can get to with a vacuum were cleared of pet hair and dust and anything else, and the window that broke was taped up so cold air won't blow in.

Somehow i even managed to cram more food into the already overstuffed cabinets, and pulled the boxes that are already opened up to the front of the cabinets so she will use them first.

It's not enough.  She needs more help than she will let me give her.  The day is coming when she won't be able to stay in that house.  It may be this year, it may be next.  It doesn't matter.  When it arrives, she will have to watch someone else make all of the decisions she couldn't bring herself to make.

When it happens, i will cry with her, and hurt for her, and wish i could have done more, but there are some things no one can do for you.  Unhoarding is one of them.

Today is:

Day of Remembrance for Princess Olga -- Slavic Pagan Calendar

Hakozakigu Tamaseseri -- Fukuoka, Japan (ceremony of the red ball which brings good luck to the team which catches it)

Humiliation Day -- drawing attention to the fact that it's okay to be humble, but not to humiliate others

Icing Morning -- Fairy Calendar

J.R.R. Tolkien Day -- birth anniversary

Memento Mori / "Remember You Die" Day -- Wellcat Holidays suggests putting these words where you can see them often, to remind you to cherish what you have today

^*National Chocolate Covered Filled Cherry Day

National Write to Congress Day -- US (the new session begins today or, if the 3rd is on a weekend, the following Monday; write your Congress-persons and Senators and tell them what you think) 

Revolution Day -- Burkina Faso

Shigoto-hajime -- Japan (first work day of the New Year; work begun well today will prosper)

St. Genevieve's Day (Patron of females in the military; Paris, France; against plague, disasters, fevers)

Tamaseseri Festival -- Hakozaki Shrine, Fukuoka, Japan (men in fundoshi - loincloths - compete for the ball; if the winning team is from a seaside town, it will be an auspicious year for fishermen, if the land team wins, there will be a good harvest)

Tenth Day of Christmas

Anniversaries Today:

Alaska becomes the 49th US State, 1959
Establishment of Wind Cave National Park, SD, US, 1903

Birthdays Today

Eli Manning, 1981
Danica McKellar, 1975
Joan Chen, 1960
Mel Gibson, 1956
Victoria Principal, 1950
John Paul Jones, 1946
Stephen Stills, 1945
Van Dyke Parks, 1943
Dabney Coleman, 1932
Robert Loggia, 1930
George Martin, 1926
Jan Walsh Anglund, 1926
Maxine Andrews, 1918
John Sturges, 1911
Victor Borge, 1909
Ray Milland, 1905
Zasu Pitts, 1898
Marion Davies, 1897
Clement Richard Attlee, 1883
J.R.R. Tolkien, 1892
Father Joseph Damien, 1840
Lucretia Coffin Mott,  1793
William Tucker, 1624 (first African American child born in North America)
Cicero, BC106

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"The Arsenio Hall Show"(TV), 1989
"Queen for a Day"(TV), 1956
"Look Up and Live"(TV), 1954
"Symphonic Dances"(Rachmaninoff, Op. 45), 1941
"An Ideal Husband"(Play), 1895

Today in History:

Joan of Arc is handed over to the bishop for trial, 1431
Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine, 1496
Martin Luther is formally excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, 1521
The first theater in Amsterdam, the Schouwburg, opens, 1638
Benning Wentworth issues the first of the New Hampshire Grants, leading to the establishment of Vermont as a separate state, 1749
Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico, 1823
Joseph Jenkins Roberts is sworn in as the first president of the independent African Republic of Liberia, 1848
The Meiji Restoration returns authority to Japan's emperors, 1868
Oleomargarine is patented by Henry Bradley, Binghamton, NY, 1871
The wax drinking straw is patented, by Marvin C Stone in Washington DC, 1888
The refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory, then the largest in the world, is put into use, 1888
The first known use of the word automobile was seen in an editorial in The New York Times, 1899
British explorer Howard Carter discovers the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt, 1924
Benito Mussolini announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy, dissolves the Italian parliament, 1925
Minnie D. Craig becomes the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States, 1933
Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver from Ohio, become the first mother and son to serve simultaneously in the U.S. Congress, 1953
Edmund Hillary reaches South Pole overland, 1958
The West Indies Federation is formed, 1958
Apple Computer is incorporated, 1977
Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century, 1988
In Moscow, George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), 1993
More than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands, receives South African citizenship, 1994
The People's Republic of China announces it will spend fight erosion and pollution in the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys, 1977
The Mars Polar Lander is launched, 1999
Australian researchers discover the 1912 plane that was the first taken to Antarctica, 2010


  1. Hoarding is such a problem for some elderly people. I too feel the reason is that they find it so hard to make decisions. But sometimes trying to help sort and organise can lead to accusations of stealing so you are right to just clean around it. She is lucky to have someone who cares about how she is doing.

  2. As a consummate hoarder I have yet to find a way of clearing clutter. I once bought a book on how to do it but that just meant I added a book to my thousands already filling the house to bursting. Last year we took a couple of dozen bin bags of things to the charity shops but it seems to have made no difference. Will power is the only answer and when you are in the mental state Mrs S is in it's so difficult.

  3. A poignant post, and one I can relate to as I shut down my mother's residence.

  4. Excellent post and so true. It is sad how so many cling to things.

  5. I have known people like this. It's an amazing thing to watch. They cannot give up one thing. I don't think they ever could. You need an intervention, but it would have to be a family member that has the power to make the decisions. Tough.

    Big hug to you for caring so very much. ♥♥♥

  6. My parents always stocked up on too much stuff. Sometimes I think it was growing up during the depression that put that mindset in them. They never wanted to throw anything out and couldn't resist a bargain. They had cans and cans of vegetables. It is sad.

  7. I feel so sorry for this woman. Yes she needs help unfortunately unless she wants that help, I'm not sure what you can do unless you can get the officials involved.
    I've been trying to get rid of stuff and even after getting the materials out of the house, there is still some to get out. My wife does a great jobs of cleaning our home and we're both cleaning and getting stuff out each day because one of these days, we will be selling the home.
    I will pray for this old lady. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

  8. Being paralyzed by a nightmare of your own creation is such a scary thing. My heart goes out to her, and to you because you try so hard to help her and you care. I really wish her family would step in, take steps to end the situation. While it would upset her terribly right now, she would find peace in the order when it's finished, and she's in a small place where there isn't room to load it up again.

  9. I have seen some of those hoarding shows and I feel such a pity for the people who feel the need to keep everything. I pray for her.
    What would you do if she one day suddenly asked you to help her get rid of things? That would be great, wouldn't it?

  10. Look Away! I'm hideous!! LOL AW, no you're not precious kitties. you're still beautiful


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