Today I had actually forgotten about the box, so when it came I had no idea what it was. It was a bit jarring finding every single thing he had at the time. Not sure why, but that made my heart lurch more than anything so far!
The “box” was definitely the hardest for me. It was like they had handed me all that was left of his civilian self and the son that I had known for 18 years was gone. I didn’t know what I would be getting back when I saw him again. My son has been a sailor now for 3 years and he is still his quirky self but the Navy has definitely made a man out of him, just like they promised! Hang in there - it gets better.
I realized it also was unnerving because last year a family member died unexpectedly. His belongings were packed similarly. And, you’re right, this is in some ways a death. I count my blessings that it isn’t, and we get to to his continued growth.