I did get my brother to agree to work with me three hours a week to clean out Mom's stuff (she's 90 now and as feisty and stubborn as ever!) while she is still here on this earthly plane.
Here is my challenge: I am still living in her space and having challenges getting her to relent in terms of changing things around.
From what I am experiencing, that AIN'T HAPPENING!
So, I am going to need to create my own systems in my own space within hers, of One Home For Everything
and Like With Like.
She is NOT going to allow me to start re-arranging her kitchen. I know that is not going to happen.
I hope/imagine that when she sees other areas of her home open up and become functional again, in the way that they were intended to be, as in a dining room table for dining and not as a paper dump, perhaps then she WILL relent.
G. L., New York
Good to hear from you!
Glad you're on track and have a plan -- even better that your brother is on board to help.
I feel your struggle around your mom's reticence and your desire -- it is a challenge that many folks face and the best advice I can offer is to do what you've mentioned: proceed with your own stuff and your own spaces and hope
for the best. It's very difficult (but not impossible) to change someone's behavior -- even more so when that person is close to us.
Living by example takes discipline and consistency and willingness ... because the result is not guaranteed and the process is subtle. But it's proven to be the strongest, clearest way to demonstrate success and that is usually what WILL influence another person's behavior to adapt. When aversion isn't a strong enough motivator, envy sometimes is.
So if you're living well and getting things done and always able to find what you're looking for and enjoying the fruits of simple living and organization, that might pique your mom's interest to try something new.
Her age may be a factor as well.
I know that with my dad, he would sometimes fall into the "I'm too old, my life is over" mindset that was a different kind of excuse for not changing. If your mom is vibrant and engaged, you may be able to counter that excuse with some facts about other new things she has tried or is trying. If she's seldom or never venturing beyond well-established patterns of behavior, this may prove to be no different.
Either way, your quality of life WILL shift and that's ultimately all you can control. And with your brother's assistance, when your mom does eventually leave this plane, there will be far less to deal with while processing your grief and the immediate details involved in someone's departure.
Please keep me posted -- if you'd like to write a guest blog post about it, let me know. I'm sure your experiences will be helpful to others in similar situations!