Has come back to haunt me.
My mom is dead and I’m scared that she will forever live on.
Has come back to haunt me.
My mom is dead and I’m scared that she will forever live on.
It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. What have I been doing all this time?
Working, spending time with the family, and working on me.
With the Mr. working and the kid getting ready for her state tests at school, life has been a bit crazy.
The working on me bit is exactly what it sounds like. I’ve been taking a bit of time to work on myself. The stress of life got to me. Honestly. I had to take a break from people, from some friends even. I made a few new friends. I took a good look at my diet and realized that if I didn’t change something, that the foods I was eating + stress were going to equal my death.
So, I thought about what killed my mom. I didn’t want to die that way. She didn’t die of hoarding, but died in that 1/2 hoarded home.
I’m happy to say that the changes are working.
I’m staring to add back in the stresses from before and just take them one day at a time. I’m starting to set limits. I refuse to let people take advantage of me anymore.
It feels great.
I have a lot to talk about too, so I need to start my blogging again.
I’m doing a bit of digital cleaning today, and I came across some old txts from my sister.
I don’t have many txts saved, I’m pretty good about cleaning them up, but these ones.. we’ll I’m not sure I’m ready to delete them.
They are about my mom, when she was dying.
I have no idea why, but I’m not ready to remove them.
In one I say I talked to her and had a decent coverstation, in another, I say she’s like the “old” mom before the anti-depressants.
Maybe I want the reminder that for a small bit of time, my mom wasn’t mean. Maybe I want the reminder of what will happen if I don’t take care of myself.
I have the txt I sent to my cousin telling him my mom was dead. I was driving at the time, on the way to her house.
I’m sure there is something a doc would tell me.. why I feel the need to hang on to a few txts.
I’m sure I’ll delete them in time. I just wanted to share. Maybe someone out there has felt the same way. I guess that’s the reason I have this blog, to show all the weirdness that goes on inside my head, so someone else out there as weird as me won’t feel so alone.
I couldn’t breathe. Not in the Monster House. Emotionally, literally, I suffocated.
I have new pictures of the Monster. Only, its beginning to look slightly different. Less monster-ish.
My dad is doing a pretty good job fixing it up. He’s sending me pictures. Looking at them, I can breathe. And I wonder… is he? Is my dad breathing again?
My mom is dead. Gone. Part of me misses her SO much. Not because we were close and shared secrets and shopping trips. No. I miss what I missed.
Now the house is transforming. Part of me asks, why now. Why so late?
Is it because she is gone? Is she the reason behind the Monster? Did she give birth to the Monster? Was it her child as much as I was? Did she breathe it to life letting it suffocate me in the process?
My dad is moving on, rebuilding his home, rebuilding his life. He’s dating. I am happy that he’s doing these things. I think he’s breathing. Living. Maybe we can have together what I’ve missed for so long.
So, says the Dr. how does this make you feel?
I have a confession.
As much as I see the Monster transforming… people transforming… I still wouldn’t mind seeing it -the house- burn to the ground.
Dear Dr. – hoarding wasn’t the only monster in that house.
< Thursday >
**Day three on my trip in hell tour – this is long and just me writing about what happened. I haven’t edited it & there is a lot of rambling. Be warned. You may want vodka before hand.**
Thursday morning I woke, stiff and sore. My head felt stuffy and clouded. I wanted coffee. I looked around my sister’s house but didn’t see a coffee pot anywhere.
I lugged my coffee with me, the coffee from New Orleans, not taking the chance leaving it at home with the Mr. HD, so he could drink it for me. As usual, in the mornings, I want my coffee. And by want, I mean really. I. Really. Want. Coffee.
No such luck.
After everyone is up and ready, we decide to finally get going. I really wanted to get to my dad and help him get a few things cleaned up so he could exist a bit in the house.
The thought enters my head, if I’m going to clean today, do I shower first? My COH friends tell me no.
We don’t shower. Instead we head off, go through my hometown onto the next little town that dots the landscape. With the little ones crying in the back seat for food, we stop at the grocery store. There are only two in this small town, and I think, dang, I’m know I’m going to run into someone I know. I haven’t showered, and both my daughter and I look — so not our best –.
After the food and treats have been gathered, it happens. I run into an old classmate. And what has my daughter done? She’s worn into the store, one flip flop and one red Valentine’s slipper. Her hair is falling out of her pony tail and she looks homeless. She looks a bit like a hoarder’s daughter. Or the GRAND-daughter of one, as she will readily admit.
Actually, she fits into my life from 20 years ago. I have lots of pictures of myself in mismatched clothing and my hair really could use a brush or a weed-wacker, whichever is handy.
Part of me thinks how funny this is, and another part of me wants to run and hide in a corner. I feel like I belong on “People of Walmart” or something. No shower, mismatched clothing. My sister, I notice, acts perfectly fine, even though I think she could end up on the website also. A thought comes to mind, this is her normal. She’s ok with this.
To hurry our escape, I pay for her stuff and mine. I am forced to make small talk with the woman, we’ll call her Mary since she’ll appear later on.
I can’t help think of how I look and how she looks so clean. I feel nasty. Inside and out. Welcome back hoard-ish feeling. Even after 15 years of being outside it, it’s still here, inside me.
We leave and drive to the coffee shop. (the coffee is pretty good but can’t beat the stuff I bought with me). At this point though, I don’t care. Just give me coffee and lots of it. I would take an IV if they offered.
We arrive back at my dad’s house (the hoard house) and get the kids inside. Then I realize a huge problem: my kid will have to eat in here. I should have let her eat in the car. I curse. Then I think how much I am changing into myself from 15 years ago. I’ve been cussing a lot since I arrived. Well, I cussed a lot in New Orleans also. Not my normal self.
My brother and his girlfriend come up from the basement and are helping pick up the trash in the living room. We talk a bit to my dad, find out the TV no longer works, it’s been on since he got it for my mom, and after she died he shut it off.
He’s trying to locate the receipt so he can take it back to the store. Good luck, I think. Since my dad’s friends are coming to stay with him the next day, I figure the bathroom needs to be cleaned and the bedroom. My sister is going to take the all my mother’s books. My brother has found some boxes, so we start packing them up.
In the bathroom, I start chucking items left and right. To me, my dad needs one thing of soap, some toothpaste and a brush, there a scented lotions and all sorts of items laying everywhere, mostly half full. I can’t even being to list all the things I’ve found. I throw away towels that looks crappy, dirty stuff I just don’t feel like cleaning. I have no attachment to anything here.
I feel good throwing this stuff away. I want my sister and brother to leave so I can just THROW STUFF AWAY.
I need to point out that the house is MUCH MUCH cleaner now than when I lived there. The bathroom that is currently in use, used to be a bedroom. My dad converted it into a bathroom years ago. The old bathroom has a toilet in there and a washer and dryer.
This is clean nasty. I lived in nasty.
It doesn’t take long for us to fill up the large trash can outside, so my dad starts loading items in the back of his truck. I offer to take the truck to the landfill.
As I’m filling up trash bags and digging through the mess, I come across some Godiva in the bathroom. I dug toilet paper out of this box and bags of other things. It’s hard for me to understand why anything food related would or should be stored in the bathroom, but then I must remember this is my mom and she has done this all her life.
My sisters says to me, “I just bought that for her.”
“Want me to save it for you? I will.” I snicker. I think of all the germs crawling over it. I can’t help it.
We spend the day cleaning. My daughter, bless her heart, tries her hand at cleaning. I cringe. I send her back upstairs into the “clean” section and ask her to play. Her and my sister’s kids break a light bulb with a hammer. I try to remember that she’s never been exposed to something like this. Well, not long term anyway, but that’s for another day and post.
We are looking for a band-aid and can’t find any. The jokes are made that my mother used to duct tape us kids when she couldn’t find any band-aids. Sue from the previous posts, told this story nonstop on the day my mother died. And at the funeral home. Restraining myself proved difficult, but my kid has an amazing memory, and the last thing I wanted her to see or remember was me killing that woman.
Sue swears my mother used duct-tape bandages all over our legs and let us run around town that way. While Sue is much older than I am, I am very sure I would have remembered this. I am allergic to tape.
While the duct tape jokes are funny, I have the right to say them. I’m her kid. She wasn’t. Her family and mine fought for years as neighbors. Same goes for the hoarding jokes. If she’s not your mom or your not a COH, shut up, k? I think most kids feel that way growing up. We are allowed to make fun of our family, hate them, etc… but you, unrelated, are not. I’d never make fun of your mom (Sue) even though I am very sure I have the content to provide jokes plenty.
So, as the cleaning progresses, I feel the need to give up. What the heck am I doing here? We have filled up the back of my father’s truck and we still haven’t cleaned anything much. There is still crap everywhere and nothing looked cleaned.
I help my dad look for the elusive receipt for the TV and we still can’t find it.
My brother’s girlfriend brags to me how clean her house is and tells me that for the last 2 years she’s helped clean my mother’s mess up. I’m sure she’s helped, my brother has helped, and my sister and father.
She reminds me when I can’t find something how I’ve not been here for x amount of years. Why not tell me something I don’t’ know? There is a reason I’ve not been here, in this house: I want to live. She gets on my nerves with her “conditions” and talks about how the house bothers her “conditions”. I. Grew. Up. Here. I know!!!
I appreciate your help, brother’s girlfriend, but really, your constant complaining isn’t helping me get this house clean”er” for my dad’s friends. I would give you a gold star if I had one.
I do find my mother’s “urn” and clean it up for the funeral director. I have to laugh as the urn came “pre-loaded” with junk.
Anyway, I don’t think anything amazing happened other than cleaning for the rest of the night. My clothing ended up stained and I stuck my hand in more frick’in melted tootsie rolls than I care to count. If I ever ever ever see another one, it maybe too soon. My mom’s bedroom had food tucked away and candy, which my daughter tried to eat and was shot down. As if baby girl.
My dad told me my mom wasn’t a hoarder, then later during the day, he was cracking hoarding jokes. For awhile, he made me question my memories. I took pictures so that yes, while I no longer lived in the house, it was still a craptastic hole. And I would remember it. And while this is bad, I knew there was a time, it was much much worse. I’m going to write about the denial I encountered in another post since this is way too long.
The video from the basement. Nobody knew I was taking this video. I had to stop when my daughter needed me. I’ve also included some pics for documentation so when I feel in doubt, I can remember this as CLEAN. Folks, this isn’t NOT what I grew up with. This is CLEAN.
***Please read this page: My Disclaimer before reading this entry. ***
< Wednesday >
The drive wore on and sleep started to cloud my eyes. I don’t like to drive in the dark, daylight is what I’m used to. The thought of falling asleep kept nagging at me as I glanced in the mirror at my sleeping daughter.
It wasn’t worth her life to get there right now.
Where to sleep? Rest area? Out here where there is no one? No way.
I have a fear of rest area sleeping, ever since that family was slaughtered at one. The image of someone killing my daughter plays through my mind.
The car won’t pull over.
I’m thinking of where to go… do I know anyone here, well, first off, where am I?
I look on the GPS. Then I remember my cousin. He lives close to here I think. I pull up Facebook on the phone; I can’t find his town listed.
I call my sister and ask her to call him and find out if I can crash on his couch. Lots of texting later, I have his new address and permission for use of his couch.
After 12 am, I arrive at his house. He’s happy to see me but to both of us it feels weird. I update him on my mom. He likes and loves her. He asks why I was gone the weekend, what did I do in NOLA?
I ask him, “You know how I grew up, right?” Although he’s younger than I am, he’s been to my old house. Not when I lived there, but recently to see my mom. He has a hint. He nods.
My daughter is too scared to sleep by herself, so I make room for her on the couch. At this point, after 2 full days of travel, I couldn’t care less if we slept on a couch or a floor. We are safe. We fall asleep until my arm goes numb and I make her move to the other couch.
Four hours later the alarm on the phone slices through the silent darkness. Time to leave.
And with no more than a whispered goodbye to my cousin, we head out.
Back on the road, my daughter and I chatter to each other about my cousin and the trip. We decide neither of us is hungry, we are just anxious to get to our destination, both sick of being locked up in the car. I realize I’m without coffee and figure it will have to wait, although every cell in my body says it wants some. The drives between gas stations are long here, so I give up. Gas station coffee won’t make me feel more human and there isn’t a Starbucks within miles (in the other direction).
The phone rings. My sister. Mom has died.
At this point, I knew I failed.
As if I were in a movie, I can hit the pause button here.
All along, I had a choice. I could have gotten ready faster, stopped less, drove faster, left sooner, and not stopped.
I think I did all that to avoid “the end”. Somewhere inside maybe, I stopped myself from being there?
Am I sad? No.
I have to say, when I started this trip, I didn’t honestly know how much time my mother had left. Since this ordeal began, I’ve been mislead more times than I can count. I can’t recognize the truth, I can’t see past lies. It’s all over the phone – except the one visit in March. I have that data to rely on.
I know people have fantasies of last minute death scenes from movies or books. I’d rush in and my mother and I would embrace and she’d tell me she loved me, and I her, and she’d say she was hanging on just for me. A light would appear from above and the sky would open welcoming her spirit like a white dove. In the background, harps would be in the arms of angels, and they’d gently stroke the strings and sing glory to God. I’d cry and you’d cry reading this and the beauty’d tragically haunt us all.
The only thing running through my head was my sister words from the day before: “Do you WANT to see her before she dies?”
Honestly, I said my goodbye to her in March. I never expected to see her alive again. I didn’t even expect or think about a “death” scene like the one above until much later in my trip. *more on this to come*
As we entered the small town I felt a weight lift off my shoulders and a new heavier one take its place. This town, the people here, they know me, but they don’t know me at all. They know me as some trouble making kid that lived in that trashy house down the road. They didn’t know I had a few dreams of my own that didn’t involve the hoardtastic house they saw on a daily basis.
As I pulled my car into the yard, I was unsure of what to expect. Family came outside to great us, the jumping dog causing my daughter to run inside. I didn’t even think to stop her and when I entered, I knew I should have.
There my mom lay. Dead.
Enter chaos. Hello friend, haven’t seen you in a bit. How have you been?
I could hit pause again here.
Deep in my gut, I felt the need to run home. To my home, 1000 miles away from here.
I’m going to skip forward a bit only because nothing said in that time really matters. The funeral men came to remove my mom and I felt bad that they had to enter a house the smelled of cat *stuff*. I helped move a chair so they could remove her body. He asked me if I’d like time alone with her, I told him no. He gave me a look, and I think he knew more about me than I’d first suspected.
“Your the one from XX aren’t you?”
Ah, so I have a reputation already? < I so wish I could raise my eyebrow and ask this question at the same time. But me doing that is kind of comical. Where is The Rock? > Instead, I just smiled and agreed.
My sister had a panic attack when the men removed my mom’s body. The “friend/old neighbor” my sister has been attached to on and off over the years was there. Maybe I’ll just call her Sue for this story.
So.. Sue is comforting my sister and my sister is acting like a five year old with her questions and I feel again like I should leave. I don’t belong here. I really want to add some order to the situation so I can find a place to take a shower.
I know this sounds harsh, but I came to terms with her death long ago. My sister is wailing about asking questions like, “Would you take me to shopping looking like this” and a few others. I know we all grieve differently, but really, these questions were not “right”.
Me + Drama = I want the heck out. Add in a childhood bully = Me + slit wrists (ok, I know that was in bad taste, but haven’t we all been there a time or two? Esp. us COH’ers)
I’m sleepy at this point and feel like ick. My mom’s dead, my daughter may or may not be traumatized, I’ve had ZERO coffee or food and now that I’ve been back in the Monster House, eating may never happen again.
I do what I can to move the process along. I grab the pictures my sister has picked out for the funeral home; we are going to meet the director there at 2 pm to make arrangements.
I get the kid and agree to meet my sister and her boyfriend at her house. By this time, my kid is starving and there are ZERO places to eat in this area. We have to drive to her house in the next town and there we stop at a gas station to eat some nasty fried food.
Sue shows up at my sister’s house. How she wormed an invite to the funeral home is beyond me. Maybe, I think in the back of my mind, she can take my place. She can be me during this process and I can slowly slip out the door and find the way back to my life.
During this time, my father is out wiring money to my brother so he can drive up. Can nobody function on their own in this world?
I drive my daughter and myself to the funeral home two towns over. The town I went to school in. Sue is there also. Sue likes to point out how she was ordered to be there, so I want to ask her to go ahead and leave.
I forgot to add, I dressed up to go to the funeral home. Therefore, Sue tells me she has to go home and change. I point out that I don’t have clean jeans to wear, I just came back from a trip and all my clothing is dirty. Please don’t feel you have to dress up.
I must add that I’m often dressed up or in heals because when I started my job at my current place of employment, I was told I had to dress up. I got used to it. And really, I look better *wink*. I’m cool with jeans and tee’s though. By this point though, you could see the tension in the air, and I knew it was a contest. Fine. Have at it.
The funeral director seems to be a nice man. Well dressed in a suit, but when I sit down at the table, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the same suit he wore into the Monster House that morning to remove my mother’s body. I wonder if he took a shower after being there, because some small part of my brain thinks, most normal people would want to.
At the funeral home, my sister did her crying thing; I just tried to get down to business. Give me facts and data and let’s plan this thing. I didn’t want to be emotional, I didn’t want to cry or to think of my lost dreams, relive my childhood in the hoard, think of all the times I’d begged my mom to try to change, try to live. I didn’t want to think of how preventable this whole saga was.
Also, this funeral was already supposed to have been planned. Months ago, over the phone, my sister said she knew everything my mother and father wanted and she would make sure it was done. She didn’t need my help. She knew ev-er-y-thing. She just asked me if she got all the inheritance money.
My mom wasn’t a religious person. She didn’t attend church; she cursed God at every given opportunity. Some day I’ll write about it.
I am religious. I am not ashamed. I love talking about religion, the Bible, and God. I love to explore it all. I love the unexplained; I love how it ties in with science and people. I love clouds too *wink*
My mom and I fought about God. Never about clouds.
Knowing all of this, I suggest a non-religious service, more a celebration of life if you would…. or just something to save money. Like the funeral my grandmother had, even though I thought it was dumb, it saved money.
My sister threw a fit. I said, “We’ll do whatever you want.” Really, if she wants someone to preach my mom into the Heaven she didn’t believe in, fine by me.
I guess I should point out that my mom was trying to find “some” way “somewhere” near the end. This really needs to be it’s own post, but I wanted to let the record reflect that she indeed did ask to be anointed, she asked for prayers, but then also asked for proof of God’s existence and for a Chaplin to “give her more time”.
Ok, I go with it. They are unsure of a pastor to do the service; I guess there are rules in the churches, etc… My mom wanted this woman to do it; I didn’t want to ask why she couldn’t do it since I wasn’t impressed with her (met her in March). Maybe the rules?
I’m not sure of these rules because I don’t belong to their denomination. Neither did my mom, so I silently chuckle at this. I’m probably offending everyone with my dark sense of humor, but really, this is how I roll. Sorry. This is why these thoughts were silent and not spoken.
It was pointed out to me by Sue that I didn’t know my family… I wasn’t from there anymore… I didn’t understand how many friends everyone had… blah blah blah.
I was so “over that”.
When it came time to pick out the urn (which was supposed to be done already I thought) my sister actually had a good idea. My mom had a “candle holder” which was really an urn. She loved it (as she did with everything she bought) so we’d use that. Finally, an idea that’s good!
Almost 4 grand later and a plan… we leave the funeral home.
My daughter, dad, and I go up the street and pick out a guest book at a store that seems ripped from time. Roll back time 20 years and a person would feel at home. My sister and sour-faced Sue go off together, and my sister’s boyfriend goes to pick up their kids.
I went back to my father’s house and told him I’d help with anything he wanted. We decided to do a bit of clean up on Thursday. A knock at the door sounded and it was a man to pick up the hospital bed. My dad was getting down to business. Get the stuff back to where it belonged. I understood.
The table they’d given my mother was covered in duct tape. My poor dad tried to get it off but couldn’t. The adhesive sticks well, but my sister said the nurse said she had stuff to get it off. Her bed also felt the full force of her duct tape romance.
After the equipment was taken care of, I went back to my sister’s house and took the kids to the park.
Later we went through pictures and I chatted to a very understanding person online. Without her… my week would have gotten to me more than it had already. She was a rock I didn’t know I needed, someone I could voice my frustrations to. My husband was working and I couldn’t call him much – and this probably saved him a lot of frustration.
He doesn’t like me being there.
Later as my body screamed at me to sleep, I couldn’t. Not because of stress or loss, but because I had no place to sleep. My sister’s kids decided they couldn’t sleep in their own rooms and took the couches. I slept on the end of the couch with my feet on a kitchen chair thinking, “I want out.”
I fell asleep to the sounds of buzzing mosquitoes.
Motivation left me at 6 am. It didn’t return.
I didn’t want to get moving and neither did my child. Not looking forward to the 1000 mile trip, I slowly got ready and didn’t even pack. I left my suitcase in the car (I had just gotten back from a trip to New Orleans -and a 4 hour drive from the airport) and I just picked up my daughter’s bag from her over night stay (friend kept her during my trip) and threw it all in the car. I grabbed items I thought I may need and added them to the pile.
My car resembled the start of a hoarder’s car.
It was 9:30 am and I was supposed to leave at 5 am. Not a good start.
I told my daughter we’d get food on the way, she knows I am not a fan of eating out but we really had to get moving. We stopped at McDonalds and grabbed some food.
We made a few stops along the way, keeping a child entertained in the car is kind of hard when your driving. We hit construction, accidents, closed exits. We stopped for 15 minutes to swing on swing sets at a rest area.
Along the way, my new friends were supportive. I received txt messages and chats asking how I was doing, etc. Never can I say I was *alone* on this trip.
A little before midnight, my sister held the phone to my mother’s ear and I talked to her. It was a one way conversation that will never leave me. I said cheerful things as she tried to talk to me, not addressing death or everything left unsaid. She made sounds that scared me, they scared my daughter too. She wanted to say hi and handed the phone back as fast as she could and the line was disconnected. I tried to call her back but my sister didn’t pick up.
That was the last conversation I had with my mother.
In the last meaningful conversation, where my mom was lucid and didn’t say stupid things like how she loved her hospice nurses more than her own daughters (ok, maybe she WAS lucid there, you never know); I did tell her I loved her. And in a way special to her only, I do love her. Did, can’t be used, I still do love her even in death.
I may share our secrets now, may poke a bit at her, but that’s just me, it’s how I cope. I don’t thrash about with tears*, drink or do drugs… I joke and talk.
*I have to say that’s correct 97.5% of the time
I am overwhelmed at the thought of sharing so much information.
For the first time I talked openly about my secret life to more than one person, then my mother died.
Then I took a back seat (but a very active role) in the funeral and support of family during my mother’s death. I usually will not let them -the family- get away with the stuff they try to, but this time… I let them.
It was hard to get people to talk about ‘the secret’.
Then on the way home, I met with someone who could relate. We spent the entire night talking.
I’m going to post about each day as I can. I have a ton going on, so I’m writing and saving as I can.
I also wonder… if sharing is a mistake. I constantly doubt myself. It’s a wonder I can function.