Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

That which changed our Life Before. Part 1

I've been on an emotional roller coaster today going through the laundry that had long been forgotten. They seem familiar and yet foreign to me. They bring back faint memories of a life that once was but passed too quickly. These clothes are the window to my past. To our past. And the memories associated with them are bittersweet.

You see, these clothes represent a moment in time when all was well with the world. When life was simple. When life wasn't all about hospitalizations and illness and loneliness and and emptiness that overwhelmed me. They were from our Life Before, and while I am no longer in that dark place today, I feel I need to acknowledge it, that I might realize I did the best I could and I can leave it in the past...

The Hubster was in the United States Marine Corps, and we were stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. I was so proud of him for serving our country, and I was proud to be a Marine's wife. Granted, there were a lot of separations from being in the field for weeks at a time, and there was loneliness from missing 'home' that was over 1500 miles away, but overall we were happy.

We lived off-base in the community of Jacksonville in the Fall of 1992. The house we lived in had major problems that we didn't realize until we'd been there several weeks. It seemed I was always sick, and there was a good reason for it. There was mold and mildew growing up the walls inside the house. I had to move furniture and take pictures off the walls every few weeks and bleach the walls to get rid of the mildew and mold. The house apparently had no moisture barrier under the foundation, and it allowed for entirely too much moisture in the house. It was beyond miserable. I just never felt like I could breathe. I knew I had asthma as a kid, but when I would ask the doctors, if it could have possibly come back, I always got the same answer. My lungs sounded clear.

I did my best to carry on. I walked Bugster to kindergarten and home from school every day, and I stayed home with Hopper while Bugster was in school. I loved the time we had together. However, it wasn't long before I found out we were expecting Scooter. I had a few complications, as it was a high risk pregnancy, but I was falling in love with our little baby more and more every single day. 

Fall turned into Winter which slowly turned into Spring. In March of '93, we were approved for base housing, and we were thrilled. We were beyond ready to get out of that horrible and moldy house. I felt like I could finally breathe again and waited in anticipation for moving day.

In the meantime, we found out that Hopper needed to have heart surgery. They couldn't do the surgery at Camp Lejeune, so we traveled up to Norfolk to see what they could do up there. We were scared to death. The mere mention of heart surgery tends to stop a parent's heart mid-beat with fear, and we were no exception. We were scared.

Mom traveled the 1500 miles to be with us to help out when Hopper went in. She helped us move into base housing, and we all left for Norfolk the next morning. We had an appointment first thing to have Hopper checked out by the pediatric cardiologist prior to her surgery. 

Mom went with us to Hopper's doctor appointment, partly for moral support, partly to act as another set of ears to listen to what the doctor had to say should we forget something he said, and mostly, because none of us could see her sitting in the hotel waiting for us and worrying. We were all very thankful she was there, as things didn't go exactly as planned.


  1. sounds like a frightening and life changing time. Of course you need to honor those memories as you let go.

  2. Scary times! I think it is good for you to look at those memories as you are letting them go,from a distance and a stronger place now


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