Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I wish that I could be stronger...

This isn't a happy one. If you proceed to read it I apologize now.
If you don't read it that's okay. I understand.

One of the many difficult tasks of dealing with my mother and sister's passing three years ago has been going through so many of mom's things.

The "things" haven't been too bad I guess. They're pretty simple. Either it's something that we can use, I can give to someone else to use, or throw away.

The real crusher has been going through the multitude of photo albums that mom had.

It's almost like mom had an obsession with photos. Every time she went on a trip she returned with rolls and rolls of film to be processed. She had them all developed and then put every picture in photo albums.

When she was done showing friends and family the photos she would put the album(s) in their storage spot with the multitude of other albums. I'm quite positive that they were never looked at again until I inherited them.

I should mention that they are certainly not all holiday snaps. I've been surprised to find plenty of family pictures that I had either never seen or had just forgotten about.

Most of these photo albums were put in a huge Rubbermaid storage container but there were others in boxes as well.
I brought them back to New Brunswick a few years ago in a rented trailer along with lots of other things.

When I began going through these things I accepted the reality that I would have to be ruthless.
Unfortunately my nature is to hoard things.
I had not really realized that I had some of this characteristic until I watched the show "Hoarders" on TV.
I'm not as bad as the folks on that show but many times I find myself sympathizing and understanding what the hoarders on the show are feeling.

As I looked at the pile of mom's photo albums I accepted that there was no way possible that we could keep all of them.
Disposal was necessary.
I decided that unless a photo had mom or anyone else that I cared about in it it went into the trash.

It was impressive how well I did. I loaded up an entire garbage bag with photos of scenes that were pleasant but had no relevance to me other than that my mother had taken them.

I was at it for a few hours each day.
This seems like (and was) a long time but I was still far from done.

One morning a few days into this I felt terrible. It felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was sore and achy all over.
It was everything I could do just to get out of bed. I can't remember feeling so awful.

At first I didn't make a connection with this and mom's photos but my doctor pointed it out in a conversation.

Holy cow, he was right.
This process of looking at hundreds of pictures and throwing many away was affecting me and I hadn't realized it.

You could understand why to this day I have never gone back to that task.

T is a very tidy and neat lad and I am very proud of him for this. He is neater than I have ever been in my entire life.
It's all good though. He isn't really obsessive about it but takes it very seriously and has pride in doing it right.

You can imagine how frustrated T has been with the stacks of photo albums and other items of mom's sitting there in the basement unmoved for two years.

I haven't actually told anyone about the effects of the pictures on me. I've just steered clear and avoided that pile of stuff.

Until today.

I had a message from Cheryl who was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff down there. She had tried to get into it to clean up but wanted me to help her with it.

So I told her what my problem is and why I haven't done what I was supposed to do.

Her reply was "That's okay Hon...I will do it."

Thank goodness.

Stay well,

1 comment:

Steve Boyko said...

It's hard to purge that stuff, isn't it? I have a ton of stuff from my Dad that I can't bear to go through. It just makes me sad.