As many of you know we are working on cleaning out the house here in Ohio since Chris’s dad’s death. It is overwhelming at times. Chris is in and out, flying back and forth, trying to work and make the dollas and I am here overseeing the household. His sister works full time (Special needs teacher) and has a family. It is a lot to ask of someone who has basically given up their year to care for their father to spend a lot of time doing this. So we are doing what we can together when we can. It is overwhelming.
What we have found is basically 3 households. Chris’s folks stuff, his grandmother’s stuff and his grandfather’s stuff. His parents had the responsibility of clearing their households and what it appears to be is that they did and boxed up the important stuff and stowed it in their basement—never to be opened again. It is sad but it is what appears to have happened.
Life stopped somewhere around 2003 or so. That is when health issues started cropping up. That is when trips to the basement became harder and harder if not impossible. That is when my brother in law started being more and more on his own. It is hard to see that in the visual proof that we have in front of us. It makes me feel like we somehow failed. We should have stepped in and helped out more. We should have recognized what was going on but we would breeze in and out, arriving from our home in some other other state (whatever the flavor was at that time) , spent a few days and then left. We wanted to enjoy our time with them and that did not necessarily include doing physical work on the house even though we would have done anything for them at anytime if only we had known. Guess we should have asked more often.
Yesterday the second roll off arrived and it was time to get busy again. My job was to go through all of the food items. I did. I barely survived. At one point I almost hurled. Sorry to be indelicate but it is the truth. Stacks and stacks of canned goods from the 90’s and early 2000’s and boxes and boxes of food. Many,many trips up the basement steps, through the family room, open the door to the garage, box out the two cats who were trying to escape and to the rolloff I went. Exploding cans all over my new jeans. Mouse poop everywhere (I finally went to the gloved hand look) . Dust and grime. I was pretty much a mess by the end of it.
My inlaws were not unlike most of us. They just got to a point where they could no longer manage their house and I feel as if I failed them in that respect. I don’t judge or blame them—it is just what happens. But my big realization yesterday was that there was so much waste. Since Carlton works at SAM’S Club there was much that was purchased there. Huge boxes of vegetables and fruits, jumbo sized packages of kleenex and paper towels. You know what I am talking about!!! The problem is they overbought. Is that typical behavior when you shop at places like warehouse stores???? Just asking!!! I would love to hear your comments on that. Do you have a club membership and do you overshop and hoard? This has changed my perspective on things a lot. Let’s see when I go back to my own home someday what my behavior will be.
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I also have been a person who buys when things are on sale and then not using it. I am being much more careful now since I am by myself and older. I am trying to get rid of things in my basement that I no longer need but some are hard to let go of.
Yes but you do not buy in bulk like what we found–believe me!!!! You are doing much better at that and I know that you are very conscious of what you are buying these days. THANK YOU! Dont’ forget to pick up those items for the monkeys, by the way….
I am so sorry to hear about what you have been going through. I know this is a horrible job! Those warehouse stores can be a nightmare! It can be really easy to think you need the abundance of items there but really, with a small family control is really the key.
I agree–small family = control but all those items are so tempting….
I think as people get old, they just don’t want to have to shop as often so stock up on things. At least that’s what my dad did, although not to this extent, thank God! Cleaning out the house does get to seem overwhelming, I well remember feeling the same way and just wanted to get it done and over with. Looking back, I should have just taken a break for a week and then gone back to it because I threw out some things that now I wish I had kept, just because there was so much to do and was anxious to get the job done.
I actually found urine in a container in a basement cupboard and in my dad’s bedroom nightstand–talk about disgusting! He died before he emptied it–don’t know if he forgot about it our not. I just though it was the cats I smelled when I went in the house. Old age sucks when your health deteriorates.
I think you are right. I also think that people that grew up in the depression and who did not have much tend to overcompensate later in life. Today I just wanted to throw it all in the rolloff but we ened to try to donate what we can, have sales for the rest of it and put the money back into the estate to fix the house up to put on the market. It just gets a little much and when it is your inlaw and not your own dad it makes it a little different too. I sympathize with you about what you found…that had to bave been pretty disgusting!!! We have been blessed with many good memories while we are sorting so I am holding onto that! Thanks for the encouragement!
Just hang in there. It just takes a toll dealing with that kind of stuff.
Thanks!!! I am! It just gets a little overwhelming at times!!! 🙂
I’m sorry for what you’re going through, Beth Ann; have been there, in a way, when I had to empty my late mothers apartment when her Alzheimer’s worsened. I say, “in a way” because mother wasn’t a hoarder and kept her little place very neat. Problem was, she discarded what was no longer familiar..family photos, valuables, etc. In a way, I wish she had boxed up memories, at least those that were mine.
I half-expected to find overwhelming amounts of “stuff” stashed in closets because my mom grew up during the Great Depression; so many other Alzheimer’s patients have a tendency to stockpile unreasonable amounts of food and other items.
And, to answer your question, I shop frequently at BJ’s but never go overboard. It’s easy enough to run back and shop when supplies run low and replenish the basics.
Just never, ever ask me about my Snowman collection. That’s a story for another day.
Wow–I think that would be worse, Patty, to not have any memories left! I can’t imagine!! I am fine—I probably sound like I am whining and I don’t mean to but it is kind of where we are right now, you know??? A lot of work to be done and I just can not see the end of it at this point. But we will get there. And we made good progress today. I got to the point where I just wanted to throw it all out. We will be having many sales and donations that is for sure!
And your snowman collection sounds delightful! I love snowmen. Not as much as teapots ….I have a snowman teapot, btw!!! 🙂
Stopping by from It’s Comment Love Day. You have a wonderful blog and I enjoyed my visit.
Well, thank you, Debra, for stopping on by!!!! Love to meet new folks and check out new blogs!! Come on back anytime!!! 🙂
Thanks, Debra!!! Appreciate you stopping by!!!
Beth Ann, You may want to go to the free website, http://www.flylady.net. It is the easiest way I know to help get rid of clutter….and in such a positive way. It has really helped me a lot…and it’s free! Yea!
Hey thanks—I remember you talking about this before. I personally do not have a problem with the clutter and stuff but it is just because we are cleaning out Dad’s house!!! We are on dumpster number 2! It is amazing! I am so excited you are following my blog! Isn’t it just so exciting??? LOL Gonna call you one of these days to catch up!
I guess I didn’t realized what a blessing my sisters-in-law did, and my two retired brothers when they cleaned out my mom & dad’s house. (We were in a different state). There were a few things I was asked if I wanted to go through, but my heart wasn’t in any of it at the time. Now I wish I’d paid more attention. Grief is just weird. Mom wanted me to have her dishes (she couldn’t pass by an antique shop) and that’s what I got. A few things have found their way to me since. You are a blessing to Chris’ family, Beth Ann. Be not weary in well doing, and give yourself breaks for fun in the process.
Oh Patti–What a sweet thing to say. I am happy to do what I can. I loved my mother and father in law and just wish I would have insisted on doing more for them when they were alive. Grief is weird. Everyone does it differently and it is okay as long as you do it!!! I am glad that you have your mom’s dishes. Those must be a special thing to have in your own cupboard! Thanks for sharing!!! I am just trying to do the right thing!
What a formidable task. I feel for you. Don’t beat yourself up over not doing something sooner. I feel the same way at my parents’ house, but it is still theirs to manage and I don’t want to take that small dignity away. As you have realized, there will be time for cleaning later. Stay strong.
Exactly! You totally understand! I did not want to “interfere” or make them feel like they were not handling things well when they were alive. I tried to sneakily do things but there is only so much you can do without drawing attention. We are making progress bit by bit and making memories at the same time! Thanks for the kind words.