He just likes being near me...apparently

My original thought for this blog was to go in chronological order. Each photo tells a story of a day on my process through grief. And this remains true, but when I looked through the photos, deciding which ones to use, which ones to discard, patterns come through. Patterns of Holden (for lack of a better word) holding me through this, the photos I decided to take, what I needed to memorialize at that moment. Some photos require a full meditation itself, some need to be told in a set. 

Like this one. 


I have a lot of photos of Holden lying on me in some way. Cuddled up, sometimes just right up against me, sometimes literally lying on me, with his neck hooked over mine.

This series is from 2012, months after Holden came into my life. A time where I was in desperate need to be touched. I needed to be grounded by another beings body next to me. For a while I was completely unfair to an ex of mine, asking things of him that he could not and would not provide. Which was not only understandable but wholly within his rights. The incredible thing is that he didn’t let me go and stop contact with me, he held on to me, trying to be fair to me and himself. He is an incredible person, we weren’t together for a number of very good reasons but in the midst of my grief surrounding my mom and my grief over losing him, I was a mess. To say i’m not proud of the way I treated him is a severe understatement. I only hope I can make it up to him in our lives going forward because miraculously he remains an extremely close friend. 

Holden stepped in [mostly] and took over that role of being a physical touchstone. To have something, someone have the need to be in my space [albeit sometimes suffocatingly] was life changing. I felt loved on a very deep level. I never understood the power of physicality. We weren’t a super touchy, huggy family. We touched each other, hugged each other, sure, but it wasn’t my habit to sit next to someone just touching them. No matter who they were. 

After my mom died, not having the ability to hug her or touch her was one of the things I missed most. My mother was always just casually around, no matter what I could call, I could write and receive a text that she always signed xoxo Mom like I didn’t know who the text came from. She was there, a huge presence writ large in my life. I didn’t really understand it but because I was so secure in her love, so sure and aware that I was adored by this person, it allowed me to go off and do anything, everything. Move to a different country, a different state, attempt to make art in some way, not find a traditional stable job. 

When I lost her, that foundation just disappeared. I was untethered in the most unpleasant way. My father did his level best to be [and absolutely has been] that foundation for me, but Mom was what we had built around, and it just got washed away. 

When Holden showed up, he didn’t ask, didn’t try, he just did. He forced his way into my bed and then snuggled like no-one has ever snuggled before. He did it in the cutest ways, he did it in obnoxious ways where I couldn’t breathe. Not so slowly he became the reminder that I am here and I am loved. I am needed and I have space to need. 

On most mornings, we still wake up with him under the covers with me, head on my shoulders, or paw thrown over my stomach, recently he’s started to rest his head on my ankles. But I remember very distinctly when I realized that I had a pack, it was a pack of two, but a pack nonetheless. I was an important part of this furry creature’s life and he had wormed his way under my skin. 

I knew nothing would be the same after that and that kind of change I was ok with.