Monday, June 30, 2008

Transformation...

My Mom is out of town and I've been avoiding even thinking about her house. Once or twice the thought has crossed my mind to just pop over there and haul out a couple of bags of garbage. She'll never notice... or will she?

Last week when she was still home a bag of garbage came up missing. Seriously! Mom saves all her mail (yes all of it) and sorts it into piles. One of those piles is for anything she thinks may be subject to identity theft (she is absolutely terrified of having this happen to her), this type of mail must be completely destroyed. Anyhoo... this particular bag happened to have some credit card offers and things like that in it. Mom had labeled the bag with a permanent marker with the words "TO BURN" on it and set it somewhere in the piles of junk in the front room. Then just before her trip she noticed it was missing. I have no idea how, but she seems to have some sort of a mental inventory of all that crap filling up the house.

She asked my Dad if he took it. Nope. She asked my brother if he took it. Again, NO! Anyone who lives with my Mother knows better than to touch anything, let alone throw it away - not even garbage. She asked them both at least 20 more times, just to be sure. It was then she started panicking. She kepst nagging my Dad and Brother until my Dad came over to my house to escape (this is when he told me all about it). At this point, Mom had come to the conclusion that someone (a total stranger) must have come into the house and stolen (of all things) that bag! She is almost certain that her identity is being compromised at this very moment. Never mind that it is total lunacy to even think someone would actually have been stupid enough to think that there was something of value to steal in that house. And it is ridiculous to think that somehow they would have gotten past the dogs into the front room. And let's just say that they did, they most certainly would have turned right back around and run out as fast as they could having been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of junk piled up all around them. But let's get back to Mom, who by this time was frantically searching the house, the garbage cans, and any other place that this very important bag of garbage may have been placed.

Several hours later my parents left town having never found the bag and I was left with a surer knowledge that my Mom does not think rationally, or logically, and I hate how these little episodes always leave me feeling like i've lost something too (namely a little piece of my Mom).

I called my sister to talk about it and she told me that Mom was over at her place the other day and took home a bunch of stuff she had thrown out in the garbage... sigh*

Later that evening, another of my brothers (who doesn't live at home anymore) came over to my place for a visit. I started to tell him about the lost bag... he got this look on his face. Oh my gosh, he knows what happened to the bag!

It turns out he took it. He was going camping that evening and saw that the bag said "TO BURN" on it, so naturally he took it and used it to start his campfire.

I made him call my Dad and tell him right then. My parents were still driving to their destination and Mom was so glad to know what had happened to the bag. Except now she is worried that my brother might not have burned all the contents of the bag. She explained how she had important documents (credit card offers) of my sisters (at least now we know why she took trash from my sister's place) and a couple of my brothers all together in that bag and she was just so worried about their identities being stolen along with hers.

So all in all, my Mom was right. Someone did "take" the bag from her house. It doesn't make me feel any better though. In fact, I feel worse. From this whole incident, I learned that my Mom is paranoid to the point of stealing trash out of our (mine and my siblings) garbage cans to "protect" us. I learned that my Mom doesn't think about things rationally (in that she actually believed that someone would steal a bag of garbage from inside her house). And that she is getting worse. Slow as it may seem, time is stealing my "normal" Mom from me.

How long before I don't even know her anymore? When will this "transformation" be complete?

3 comments:

elanor said...

my mum kept every envelope she ever got for notepaper, they were bundled up with elastic bands, hundreds of them! she also used to go through my rubbish and things that I had ready to send to thrift shops. she had a key because whe used to mind the kids after school, eventually I got it back telling her that I had changed the locks after I found out she had come to the house when I was at work and taken a lot of things from bags of things to go to the charity shop.

I really feel for you, it's hearbreaking, the only thing that helped me was to keep telling myself that she was sick.

Anonymous said...

Quote: I have no idea how, but she seems to have some sort of a mental inventory of all that crap filling up the house.

I'm a child of a hoarder. It's an instinct, or a coping skill. I know where *everything* is at in my home. I knew where everything was, what was under every pile... every detail.
I figure, you have to do that, otherwise you'd have to admit there was a problem. ;)

Now, my dad is the hoarder. He can't get rid of a newspaper until he has read every article. Esp the obituaries.
Mom has tried to make some of them "disappear."
HE KNOWS. He knows how many are missing, where they were sitting, etc.
Spooky.

Michelle in Mx said...

so - there was a time that you remember your mother differently than this?

Not me.

As a small child I remember knowing my mom didn't think "normal"