Phoebe's Gift

Phoebe's Gift
Gifted to me while on Retreat at John's River Vally Camp

Monday, November 9, 2015

(4) The Big Clean Up Then and Now

Getting Cooperation from Alfred:

Well into the year 2011 over six months after my mother passed, I made a startling discovery as I was taking my daily constitutional hike down and up my long one-mile driveway.  On the way back I spotted something glimmering deep in the forest. It looked like what could only be a shinny white rock, my heart skipped a beat, and first I thought magical, mystical woodlands love it, then I felt a hint of anger welling up in me as I veered off the gravel road, up the steep raven, panting as I climbed deeper into the forest, I slowly made my way toward the NorthWestern crest just yards from Alfred's cabin.  My anger scored as I bent down to look at a chewed up plastic garbage bag and there was not only one of them there were tons of them, and more then just white plastic bags, pots pans, clothing, tables half of Alfred's well supplied cabin all lay rotting and decomposing in the woods, undetected for months, just back of his cabin.

Then it came together, I had been grieving the loss of my mother for months and only peripherally noticed that Alfred had not been bringing his trash to the car for his weekly runs into town. I had asked him about his trash and he had claimed NONE so for months and months there was no trash coming out of his house while I had wondered where on earth it was, I had just discovered where it was in the raven back his house. This would have to wait until I could get him to change his behaviors and clean it up. I felt overwhelmed.

As it turned out the change happened in the opposite manner from which I had anticipated. First came the big clean up, then I was able to oversee a behavioral change in Alfred.

I waited for months to figure out what to do, and finally in church one Sunday, a member announced that he was taking on handy-man jobs. That was it, just he break I needed and so I hired Richard and he brought a friend and they spent half a day cleaning up the raven. They returned some time later as I found an additional stash of Alfred's debris after the first big clean-up.

So while at first I could not get Alfred to bag his trash after he'd gotten used to dumping it out the back, I did finally get him to bring his trash to the car on the trips into town after the raven was cleaned up. I didn't insist any more strenuously then I had prior to clean up, I just did not give up on the trash issue, and so got his agreement and cooperation to bring his trash with him to the car for town runs. More on the specifics of this change in later posts.

According to one friend/psychologist Alfred's trash dumping behaviors could probably be his way of grieving the loss of his mother because grief comes in many forms. So although he is in detail about just about everything, maybe Alfred had also been grieving our mother's loss. Did I need to be concerned about Alfred's grieving ways after our dad passed, probably.  Fortunately that would be some years later.  Next blog posts and update on the Big clean up Today DSS is on it's way. 

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