I used to be a member of a group designed to help people keep their homes tidy.
I was a bit upset about the rules earlier, but tackled along, as I really need help with cleaning my home. I thought it was a sisterhood, a group of equally messy artistic women, when in reality it's a company fan club, with half of the "encouraging messages" being advertisement of the company's products, and the rest advertisement of the company's method.
This was the last drop though:
"This is a true story of how bad things can actually be: I've just gotten home from my mother's house, after a weekend of grueling work. Please forgive me for being a little long-winded. This can perhaps serve as a warning about what happens, if you don't heed your guidelines, and complete your missions, and do your own "homework"!"
Yes, heed your guidelines, otherwise your kids will violate you.
The mother of the writer, 78 years old, apparently had gone out to walk the dogs in the middle of the night. (Why? Beats me.) She fell on the steps and broke her leg "in 5 places". Her son living in the house didn't hear her screams, and she lay on the ground almost an hour before the neighbor came home from work and alarmed the brother, who called the ambulance.
Now, the loving daughter continues: "Only God knows, how fortunate we were that the accident happened outside.. if indoors, social services would've been called, the house would have been condemned, and my Mother would probably be placed in a nursing home."
The mother is "safely out of the way", in rehab, so her children rush to the house and "clean" it.
The house is large, "her bedroom the size of a large double carport", "We cleaned the kitchen, family room, hallway, the front porch, and back entrance. Scanned the Living Room, and two guest bedrooms. My brother that lives with her has a decent sized bedroom..."
She tells us that her mother loves to rummage yard sales, second-hand shops and goodwill stores. She tells us that they threw away tons of stuff from her mother's house, "items with holes, stains, years-outdated food and just plain ugly junk" "...we put it all in garbage bags and hauled to the dump. I'm normally a big believer in giving to a charity, anything usable! We didn't have the time, or stomach to separate anything."
She continues: "We haven't told our Mother the extent of what we've done, as she needs to concentrate on getting well enough to come home. We're not delusional enough to believe that this will cure the problem, but the story we're sticking to is this: "We love our Mother too much allow her to live like this any longer"! We're all prepared for the anger, and heartache she'll go through when she comes home. She knows we're cleaning up, just not how much."
She asks for prayers to make her mother "happy", so that she will stop buying the "ugly" things and start investing in having "a charming, lovely, comfortable home that she deserves".
She ends her letter with a promise of all the children returning to the mother's house "to finish the house, remove the carpet, re-do the hardwood floors, build a wheelchair ramp, and tackle some unfinished projects".
This is supposed to be a wake-up call, to get people shaken awake to realize that it really is "that bad". She says she has been a member of the cleaning cult for years, and wants to save her only child from living through this horror story...
The "cult leader" responses to the letter:
"OH MY! My heart goes out to you!
Your mother is probably never going to forgive you! But you can live with that! No one should live in a trash heap. Her health depends on having a clean place to recover.
I am so proud of you and your family for jumping in to help her; even though she would never have allowed you to if she had been home.
Normally I would never tell you to declutter another person's stuff. This was an emergency. After her rehab stay her home would have been check by the social workers to see if she was going to be able to function in her own home. They would have found that she was living in a fire hazard and unsanitary conditions."
She ends the note by asking the cult members to "take babysteps and spend 15 minutes a day decluttering"...
It's her house, so the social service has nothing to do with it being "a fire hazard and unsanitary conditions". They may not move her anywhere against her will, as she is still sound enough to take the dog out in the middle of the night.
I don't think encroaching an adult woman's life and throwing away her things YOU think are not necessary is an act of love. On the contrary. My brother and sister "cleaned" my room when I was 12, and threw away a lot of broken toys and papers, because "it's garbage". It wasn't garbage. I still miss half of the stuff, and it was almost 30 years ago. It's your MOTHER for crying out loud, not some witless child that has to be saved from herself. You act like inquisition, burning everything that doesn't fit your idea of proper and nice.
People have to choose for themselves to declutter their lives. People have to be ready for it, and up to it, otherwise it doesn't change anything. She will fill up the house in a year and next time she won't let any of you in, because you entered her home while she wasn't there to protect her property, and you destroyed her property - which is what it was, whether you appreciate it or not.
You should learn to accept your mother as she is, and not be grateful for her lying outside in cold january night with broken leg, because YOU are ashamed of her and her way of life.
I think this story is a horrible show of disrespect, insult and violation of another human being's rights disguised as "love" and "caring". Of course these kids will live with their mother not forgiving them this abuse, her feelings don't mean anything to them.
A truly loving and caring children would have taken more time off and gone through the house WITH the owner of the things, not acted like thieves in the night and hurry to get all the things thrown out in secret so that the owner of them couldn't interfere.
A truly loving and caring children would have helped the mother BEFORE this happened. Perhaps spent a couple of weekends in the year doing this TOGETHER WITH the mother? Perhaps taking it in baby steps?
"But the story we're sticking to is this: "We love our Mother too much allow her to live like this any longer"!"
Indeed... this is the STORY. The truth is that the children think about their heritage. After all, mommy is almost 80, she won't live many more years.