I’ve finally found the right spot for Riley’s Dish Garden. After trying it on the kitchen island (too far from a source of light) and right by the kitchen window (too close to the window and the baseboard heating), it has landed on the kitchen table. It’s thriving.
For those of you who are newer readers of this blog, I made this memorial from my beloved Riley’s food dish. You can read about here. That boy loved to eat. When he became weaker in the last few months of his life, I fed him by hand. He remained a foodie up until the end.
I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately. Last year at this time, we were in the midst of what I now call hospice. After returning from my job in Hartford that June, I proceeded to station myself in a chair in the living room where I could get to him quickly, where I could do my best to anticipate his every need.
June. July. Almost all of August.
It was a bittersweet summer. On the one hand, I was surrounded by my gardens; I was watching my plants grow and bloom and prosper. On the other hand, I was watching my boy decline, knowing that there was not very much time left. We were struggling with the question of ‘When?’ We knew we would know when it was time. For most of that summer, it wasn’t yet time.
This house is filled with Riley’s spirit. In every corner, there is a memory or two. Or three. Or more. When Don plays his guitar and sings, I cannot help but remember how much Riley loved music. The minute he saw that guitar, he was a happy boy. When I sat down at the piano, he immediately wagged his tail and plopped down next to me.
I miss him so.
Can his spirit live on in this little dish garden?
It’s growing, sprouting new tendrils, reaching toward the sun. That makes me happy.
Our family is once again headed into a long period of separation. Don leaves on Monday for a job that will take him away for five weeks. When he returns, I’ll have exactly one day with him before I leave for six weeks. While we are grateful to have the work, the prospect of three months apart is daunting and depressing.
Our little girl no longer copes very well with this sort of thing. She’s older now. She lost Riley and misses him a great deal. She doesn’t like change. (Her mother and father don’t like it, either.)
Just a wee bit sad today.