There are boxes in the kitchen, in the living room and even in the hall. They are from all my online ordering and my meal delivery plan. Honestly without the meal delivery subscription, there is a good chance I would eat not one vegetable unless it was on my pizza.
That box is the biggest and still sits in the middle of the kitchen. All the food has long been packed away into the freezer and by the time of this writing, about a third of it has been eaten. But the box remains. It takes up so much space that I have to look down before I move in the kitchen and awkwardly move around it. And yet it remains.
After River passed away, I brought out an old table that I had been using as a messy clothes catcher in my bedroom since we moved into this place. “Finally, I’ll get to have a coffee table in the living room,” I tried to think positively. It fit perfectly in the space by my sofa. It fit perfectly in the space just like River’s dog bed had fit perfectly there. I had bought the sofa with him in mind, after all.
Much like with everything else, I thought of him first. Even my car I had purchased while dreaming of being a dog mom, I’d need a hatchback opening for him to jump into the car. And if an apartment did not allow big dogs well then, that apartment no longer existed to me.
I move around the boxes and the dog bed sized coffee table the same way I used to move around a lying River. That finally dawned on me today why I have been slow to break apart these boxes and take them out to the recycling. My body remembers how I would move around the kitchen, the hall, the living room, the house cognizant of not disturbing a comfortably lying River. A poor substitute for my boy, but there it is.
I have not yet read about this sort of thing with the experience of grief, but I can’t have invented this practice.
They say it comes in waves and that healing is not linear. That last part I have repeated to numerous tarot and reiki clients over the years, but I still need reminding at times.
I was able to find an animal shelter that would take River’s cleaned dog beds soon after he passed, so there was a time where my apartment had more foreign floorspace. It felt so open. I thought I was “on track” with healing and “moving on.” Now three months since his passing, I have unconsciously minimized my living space in remembrance of him.
Healing is not linear.