No Willingness to Change
“Steph, time to get up I guess,” Mother hollered from downstairs. I hadn’t told her that my sister was coming to take her to her doctor appointment this morning. I wasn’t confident that my sister would be there. Something was sure to happen to get in the way of my getting this desperately needed break from my mother’s needs.
When I came downstairs, she said, “Steph I was looking at your shopping list. I wasn’t trying to be nosy. You have cd player. No. Not for the front porch?” She had that wild horse look of high anxiety in her eye.
“No. You don’t have anything to play your cd’s on.” There was a wide-spread power outage here last fall that zapped all of her small electronics. She replaced all of them except the cd player.
“What about that one? Doesn’t that work?” She motioned toward the tv and I realized she was thinking dvd player. I didn’t try to argue with her or correct her and she raised her hands to her face. “Oh forget it!”
I didn’t feel the great sense of relief I’d hoped for when my sister got Mom into the car and drove away. A surge of anger came over me and I put it to work.
I took inventory of all of her food stuffs and paper/plastic goods and started organizing. It is worth noting that my mother lives alone. She has 30 rolls of toilet paper on hand and thinks she’s running low. I threw out most of the past-expiration-date food items. I was tempted to keep the bulging can of sauerkraut just to ask her if she thought she needed to keep it.
A box of tea fell on my head as I cleaned out a cabinet that used to hold toys and games. I cursed and threw it down the hall. My mother doesn’t even drink tea. I cringed as I uncovered can after can of oatmeal.
Fifteen 12 ounce bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips plus one 24 ounce bag
Seven unopened boxes of Keebler Club crackers
Six 14 ounce bags of light brown sugar
Three boxes of tea – 100 bags each
My mother can be excused for hoarding. She was a depression-era child. But there’s something else going on here. She clings. Now she is clinging to the way things used to be. If she can’t let go of that, she won’t be able to move on to something new.
And she might as well go into the cupboard with the
Forty-five rolls of plastic wrap
Thirty-eight rolls of aluminum foil
Thirty rolls of toilet paper