Grieving and Loss

I found a new show that I like to watch.  It’s one of those makeover shows, where they come in and makeover a disorganized and cluttered house.  I love to see an utterly hopeless mess get transformed into a clean, streamlined space.  We had our own makeover recently, where we moved from a small house with very little storage space for our needs, to a larger house with lots of closets and storage. Getting all of our clutter from one house to another was no easy task, but it’s really great to have a place for everything…well almost everything.   In 30 minutes, our living space can now be completely company-ready, instead of having to start cleaning days earlier. 

Remembering what it was like for us to have stuff all over, I can really relate to some of the people who can’t seem to get their act together and put away their belongings.  But I really realized after one particular show that for a lot of people, they have a problem organizing and solving their own problems, because they lose the ability to make decisions.  On the show in question, the designers came into a very sweet lady’s home and besides the general clutter of clothes and huge furniture in small rooms, one of the biggest fixtures taking over her bedroom were the mountains of books!  She had a large mountain in one corner of the room and her closet was full of them.  Now, I can certainly relate to having too many books, and especially having no place to put them all, but these were novels that she seemed to be buying and consuming and then tossing them in a corner. 

The clincher or turning point in the show was when they talked through her situation to try and find out why she wouldn’t give them up.  It seems her husband had passed away a few years earlier and it was suggested that she might still be grieving.  At first she protested and kind of laughed, but then she paused for a few seconds.  It took me by surprise when she suddenly started sobbing.  She said she had never even thought she might still be grieving.  She agreed to give up her books and I found myself tearing-up at this victory for her, but there were more tears to come after they sent her away for a few days while they remade her rooms.  Her reaction at the sight of her new bedroom was very poignant.  She was so touched and tearful and then her face immediately showed hope and promise.  The host of the show pointed out what was patently obvious: now this sweet lady can move forward.  She had been unable to recover from her loss, but now she could see the possibilities.

As I’ve watched more episodes of this show, I have seen over and over again, people unable to make decisions and make their life work for them, because they are grieving some loss: loss of a parent, a divorce, loss of a spouse, etc.  The producers of this show must realize this reality, because some of the most dramatic moments are in convincing the people to give up important items.  They convinced one lady who recently lost her father to give up family heirlooms, a clean freak was talked into selling one of his vacuums, a college student who was really into video games was talked into giving up 2 game consoles and over and over again, I’ve seen people get choked-up over having to sell their stuffed animals.  The theme with all of these clutter-busting episodes is…grow-up, go forward, heal, thrive. 

I like it.

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