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11/18/13, 3:30 PM
She greeted me outside of her house and I judged her immediately even before I got out of my car. She was overweight. She was wearing a light blue t-shirt, denim walking shorts, and red house slippers that had holes in them. I say to myself, “Oh geez…” I have arrived for a meet and greet for pet care services that she arranged for over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Once I am out of the car she says hello and asks me if I am from the agency. I tell her yes and I tell her my name. She tells me that her house is a mess and she apologizes for that. She then tells me that she a recovering hoarder and then I begin to get apprehensive.
Never have I ever walked into a situation like that. It was not my immediate thought that someone with 8 cats would be a hoarder. She tells me that she is grateful that I didn’t just turn around and leave. To be honest, I had no idea what to do. I was stuck in my tracks. I decided to calmly gather the details for this service all the while wondering if I would be able to do the service at all. So many times throughout the meeting did I want to get up and leave just to get some fresh air. So many times did I want to make an excuse to exit so I could call my superior and ask what I should do. I was just at a loss.
An hour later and my breathing beginning to labor, the meeting was over. I got into my car, drove away from her house and started to cry. I just felt so incredibly sorry for this woman and her pets. I have no idea what her home looked like at it’s worst, but it was pretty bad when I got there. I wondered what trauma she endured that led her to this spot in her life. I called my boss in tears. My boss gave me an out if I wanted to take it but like I said, this woman was just so grateful that I didn’t run away screaming that I couldn’t NOT do the service. I want to go through with it not only to make sure these poor cats are taken care of but also because I don’t want to disappoint this woman.
I don’t know anything about hoarding, but I do believe this woman is in the recovery process. I do not think that if this woman were still hoarding that she would call in for pet services. I do not think that this woman would even leave her house no matter how much she would like to be with her family for the holiday. I think that she would feel most safe in her home, in her mess.
I am hoping that her home will be much improved by the time I return this week to begin service. I am going to get some strong protective masks and force myself through it. I pray that it will be better, not only for the benefit of her animals but most importantly for the benefit of her. Besides it is Thanksgiving.
Meeting this woman once has changed me. Well, maybe not changed me but certainly renewed my capacity for human compassion. We all go through terrible times and we all struggle at some point in our lives. It is how we handle it and how to act on it that can decide a certain fate for ourselves. I am proud that no matter my struggles, I am able to get up out of bed everyday and feel a certain degree of happiness. I am grateful that I have a super strong support system. It also reminded me to not be so judgmental. Each of us has a cross to bear and we should not criticize how another is handling it just because that would not be our way. Instead, may we should offer help in any form.
Remember to be kind, be generous and be good.
So I was watching an episode of “That 70’s Show” and it was the episode right after Donna and Eric broke up. Eric did want to get out of bed and he didn’t want to eat and he apparently also didn’t want to shower or shave. He looked miserable. At the end of the episode Red decides to have a man to man talk with Eric. Red takes Eric to a bar, has a beer with him and shows the softer side of himself to his son.
He recalls the break up that was the toughest for him when he was a young man. It is a basic truth that he speaks that time will heal his wound. He fronted that he did not cry over this break up but that it WAS tough. The first several days were hard and she was all he could think about. Then a few more days passed and he didn’t think about her as much. And then even more time passed and he realized that he hardly ever thought about her till there came a day when she didn’t enter his mind at all. He had moved on. And then that made him sad.
But it is totally true. When I think about all of the relationships, big and small, that I have had I can recall two that I believe really had an effect on me. These two still have an effect on me.
It makes me sad that at one point in my life, there was a guy that made me feel extremely happy and that THAT is no longer true. It make me sad to think about the way we treated each other, either during our relationship or after the break up. It makes me sad to look back on all of the wonderful times we had together and to then think about how it ended so terribly.
I could go on and on and begin a little pity party for myself, but I don’t want to do that. There were a lot of things that went on in both of those relationships that, looking back on it now, make me sad. I don’t you to think that it was all bad. These relationships had their moments; both of these guys did make me happy at one point, but the relationships ended for a reason. Whatever the reason is not the point.
Losing a love is sad but loving that person in the first place was the risk.
The song “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles still makes me cry whenever I hear it.
She said to me once several years ago, “Baby, I am just so tired. I am just so very tired.”
Back then I thought she meant she wanted no more doctors and no more medicine. What I now know is that she wanted to be with him. She just wanted to be with him. To go with the one she loved. As much as it broke my heart and as much as I didn’t want to let her go, all she wanted was to rest and to go be with the one she loved.
Today my mother would have been 73.