Let me tell you a little bit more about Sandra. She lost her husband about 15 years ago. Not long after that she lost her daughter to cancer. Each of these times she has used shopping as her therapy. Then fast forward to two years ago when her her son contracted cancer. He fought it with the usual radiation and chemo and then also had to experience some pretty terrible surgeries.
About one year ago Sandra fell in her backyard. She landed on her head when she lost balance trying to take trash out to the curb. She broke two vertebrae in her neck. She managed to get up, get into the house, and call 911. Amazingly she did not experience any paralysis but had to go through rehab for many months. When it was time for her to come home friends came over to clean. They threw away a lot of things and also bagged up a lot of things and then just tossed them into any open room. It was at this time that I heard her talking about not being able to find anything and about the help that she had received. I think this explains why I needed to gain her trust before she would allow me to come to her home. Sadly her son lost his battle with cancer after she returned home. The shopping therapy continued.
When I was with Sandra the first day we talked about her goals. She simply wanted her living room to be presentable. I explained to her that that was the area where we would be sorting things and that it would be pretty hard to do at first. I told her that I wanted to be sure that whenever I left I had tidied up the area so there would be no trip hazards from our work of the day.
On my return for the second visit Sandra greeted me at the door and announced to me that I had chosen what we worked on the first day so now it was her turn. She wanted to clean off her kitchen table and pull a chair out from behind it that someone had put there while cleaning last year.
The table was not totally clear but it was down to a single layer and I managed to categorize things for her so that she could put them away as she went along.
One of my main concerns after leaving the first day was that she would not work on anything and simply would wait for me to return to continue with decluttering. I was very pleased to see that she had been working and had bagged up quite a bit of trash and also had a small stack of items that could be given away. It appeared that she had the concept of goalsetting down now and I expected her to continue with that with each visit.
It was during this visit that I discovered that there was another bedroom that I was not aware of. I looked into that room after I figured out where the light was and felt overwhelmed. I knew this was a room that would have to be addressed later on because to get into the door is going to take a while.
Sandra had made lunch for me on the first day and this day as well. She made the same thing on both days. It was chicken salad and cinnamon raisin bread with grapes. She served Doritos with it. When I saw her putting it together I was worried about what it was going to taste like. Surprisingly it was pretty good. I told one of my friends about it and she made the same face that I had made internally in my head.
This visit was a little shorter than the first one and we agreed to meet again the following week. My next reports will combine many of the days that I have spent with her as all those times are starting to merge together as one in my memory.
Until next time.