Friday, April 2, 2010

Florida Trip

I’ve been gone for the last week. I’ve missed your posts, so in the next few days I’ll try to get caught up.

I went to Florida. We drove thru Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois. 2700 miles round trip…
The reason for the trip was that BF’s mother passed away the first of March. She was a strange person…I talked; I should say listened, to her on the phone, twice. She didn’t have friends or relatives near and that was the way she wanted it. She had her religion…and I say “her” religion as she was an ordained minister with no flock. She had her beliefs and that was the only way to heaven, as she saw it. She argued with all, as hers was the only way….
She was also a hoarder and extremely fearful of everyone, including family. She distanced herself from her boys and their families. There were no celebrations. Birthdays and holidays were not observed. She didn’t attend weddings or family gatherings. She didn’t know her grandchildren or great-grandchildren. She didn’t visit, and didn’t want visitors.
She had given thousands of dollars to various TV evangelists and local churches…no one noticed her passing.
She was a hoarder. I’ve seen TV programs about this, but real life was even more shocking. This hoarding was hidden from the prying eyes of outsiders by putting aluminum foil and sometimes furnace filters in the windows. All the windows were barred and curtains closed…a prisoner in her own home.
We had ordered a dumpster, but needed three or four. She had lived in a retirement community and a neighbor suggested that we just put some of the items in the yard. He said people would take the stuff… I didn’t think this was a possibility, but they came. Dumpster Divers is what they’re called. It was unbelievable… They took the strangest stuff. Lamps with no shades, shades with no lamp, speakers, jars, glassware, shoes…sacks of hosiery, old purses, old glasses, silk flowers, magazines, any and all furniture. Bibles…she had hundreds of bibles. Rooms full of religious tapes, cds, discs, DVDs. They took it all. We sold stuff too. Hospital beds, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, mattresses, some pieces of furniture…and no, she hadn’t been sick. These were just things in the house.
So where do I go with this post? Hoarder direction? Dumpster Diver direction? Do I post more about this woman? To me, the very contradiction of what religion and faith should be about? Do I write about the road trip through the states?
No…nuf said! I’ll just end this post. I’ve got to get busy cleaning out some of the strange silly stuff I hoard….errr...collect...


Teresa Evangeline said...

Sounds like an interesting week... hoarding is a sickness, they say. To cut yourself off from life...unfathomable. Getting rid of stuff is cathartic. Have fun with it!

Kittie Howard said...

TM, you had a really interesting drive thru some lovely scenery, small towns and congested cities and kinda made me want to hit the open road. And, then, the reason for the trip, my condolences and a prayer offered up . . . I hope there is final peace. And, then, the hoarding, the sheer volumne of it all, could only end where you ended, nuf said. A lady lived across the sreet from me who never acknowledged anyone, not even a hello. This went on for some years. So no one knew she'd fallen down the stairs and laid in the foyer for three days, alive but unable to move. Thru one of life's flukes she was discovered, sent to the hospital, recovered, but ended up in assistant living. Relatives no one had seen before descended upon her house. Come to find out, she had hoarded clothes. Racks and racks of clothes, far beyond what a boutique would carry. New clothes, still with price tags. Old clothes. CLOTHES! And a couple we knew got divorced because his wife hoarded plastic bags. One shower couldn't be used because plastic bags were stuffed to the ceiling and so on. Anyway, I think hoarding is a sickness that's probably more common than we think. But, as with alcoholism, unless the person wants help, I don't see how the habit changes. Perhaps posts like yours will open eyes (for you wrote in such an objective, concise manner) and lead to professional intervention, if such a thing exists. What an experience you've been thru!

Charlene said...

WOW. People think the anti-social person lived in a shack in the woods but right next to close neighbors in a retirement community?

I could be a hoarder but I fight it. I cannot stand disorganization but if it is out of sight it's out of mind. I cleaned out a drawer this spring and found 27 eye shadow compacts. I threw all but 2 away.

turquoisemoon said...

Kittie...The ride was beautiful. I've always gone to the west and southwest, never to the south. I was amazed how each state differed.
Charlene...too funny! I think we're all guilty of this in small ways, but not to the extent real hoarders get. ha ha ha...I thew away my stash of panty hose.
Teresa...yes, it is a sickness. BF has cleaned up her place several times. It was sad that she really had no one to mourn her passing, or to rejoice in her life.