Keeping sanity: Living as the Child of a Hoarder.
I’m a 25 year old, educated, white girl. I grew up in the small town of Moore, Oklahoma. Just south of Oklahoma City. Not much of a ‘town’ anymore. Corporate spiders have crawled their way into each corner. Each spider had it’s name plate, eggs everywhere. None the less, the place I know is now just… a racket.
When I was growing up, my house looked like any other house. A late 80’s build in a nice lower-middle class neighborhood. It was safe, it was small, and I had plenty of other children around me.
What no one knew was what lied behind the front door of my mother’s home. Imagine walking into a room that has no walls or floor. Imagine walking into a home that shrunk with each step you took. This was ‘my’ house. I say ‘my’ house because it truly wasn’t ‘my’ house. The house no loner mine or my mothers. The house belonged to my mother’s possessions.
Paper lied on the floor, furniture, and kitchen table. Delicate glass objects (all of which certainly met their demise) covered the corners of the floor. My mothers obsession with antique objects lead to boxes full of magazines, so many pieces of furniture once my mother had filled the living room, garage, and back yard storage, she purchased two storage buildings to keep everything.
What I remember the most from that home were the years of mice, nats, and flies. I would walk into the kitchen and find feces in all of our food. My mother never kept fresh food in the house, so many times I would not eat. Once, I remember my mother telling me to suck on ketchup packets to keep me at bay.
My room did not exist. I had a bed, which occasionally taken over by mothers objects… and I had a path. There was a path from my bed to the hallway. Another path to the bathroom, often dirty and overbearingly cluttered. Another path to the kitchen, piled so high a fire should have killed us years ago. A path to my mothers bed. No path to her bathroom. It was storage.
Most times, there was no where to sit in the living room.
I wonder now how no one stood up for me, facing such an environment. My father was around, on weekends-joint custody. I love my mom. Although I had the chance for my first 18 years to leave my mothers house of horrors… I stayed.
I attribute most of this to my mother’s keen ability to find herself in abusive relationships. I recall constant screaming between my mother and boyfriends. One in particular had a brown Labrador named Snickers. She always snuggled close, taking my tears in her coat like a mother with a wet washcloth. But my mother was in the other room. Screaming. Being pushed around. Slamming doors and forgetting the young eight year old on the other side of the door.
When I was 11 my mother announced to me she was marring a man I didn’t know. 14 years later I don’t know how he stays… but I also know he’s an alcoholic who likes to scream and throw things. He can plays a hell of a good step-dad. I should hate him, for the way he treats my mother… but having being in that home. Insanity lurks in the cracks in the walls and the cobwebs lingers on lamps. How much can one do?
Today, my mother is disabled and no longer able to work. She’s on SSI disability. A talented Heart nurse to bed ridden and unable to get around. I can’t imagine what hopeless inanities are brought by such a loss. I do know, her hoarding only got worse.
I moved the day I graduated high school.