Please forgive me Aunt Diane. I'm about to lay it all out for everyone to share the experience of cleaning up after a lifetime of your gathering. I hope you are in an enlightened place where monetary items are laughable and watching your loved ones handle it is amusing.
When I calendar Aunt Diane on my iTouch, it comes out "Ain't Diane." Now that's true, isn't it? Because she ain't Diane no more. What's left in this house is some mementos of an exciting and energetic life. Too bad its mixed in with crazy stuff. Perhaps you can't have one without the other?
I arrive in her little mobile home village in a quaint little town and I park next to her car that we'll be lucky to sell for $500. I'm more inclined to donate it to the fire department for extrication exercises. It's a Ford Escort with a manual transmission. That's right, you have to shift it with your Starbucks hand. Maybe I could sell it to a Mormon.
I walk up to her large front porch with gigantic sprawling dead plants the size of a Janet Jackson. They're trying to stay alive, stretching out their tentacles to gather some moisture in the fake green indoor-outdoor grass/carpet that's tucked under the aluminum edges. But I stomp over the top of the leaves on the way to the front door because I don't have any extra time or energy to keep something alive. And I don't care. Because I'm mad that I'm here doing this.
My mom gave me my own key which slides in with all the ease of a porn star screwing Joan Rivers without lubrication. I just have to shove it and wiggle it until I get it far enough in that I can start cranking the little lock open until my fingers burn. The door opens and the smell wafts out and makes me recall my last trip to the zoo. I'm always disappointed when I open the door because every thing's still there. No robbery or fire yet.
Every room in the double-wide was filled from wall to wall and ceiling to floor with old boxes and stacks of papery things. There was a dark walkway that wound from the back door to the kitchen and then to the bedroom which was like walking in a cavern of garbage. The first time I entered was after she had died. I had never seen the inside of this home before, but the Sheriff's department warned me that it was bad. I could see it on their faces; pity for me because I was tagged by Fate "You're It!" and the smugness that they felt because they could just get in their vans and drive home but I was going to stay.
The first time I walked in I wasn't afraid of the mess, or germs, or the horrible things that come out of a body when it lays there for seven days in July. I was afraid of her ghost. [I watched too many scary movies as a young child and now I'm scarred for life]. I said out loud "I'm just here to help mom, she can't do this by herself" and since there was no answer i.e., bleeding walls, crashing dishes, or ectoplasm fountains coming from the sinks and toilets, I thought she approved of my presence.
I must say that after being there for two weeks, I was sort of disappointed that Ain't Diane didn't at least try and make contact. But then again, maybe she was moving things around the whole time and we couldn't tell.