Around this time of year, people talk a lot about ghosts. But what happened to Wellington resident Anteria Burgess was a different type of ghosting.
Burgess said she had been in a relationship for a year and a half when, five months ago, her boyfriend told her he needed space. She tried to reach him to find out what had happened — but he wouldn’t respond. She was confused, exhausted and depressed.
And she realized something as each day passed after the break-up: What she was experiencing was akin to mourning. She had lost someone and it seemed she would never talk to him again.
So the Death Box was born: a product designed to lift women and help them grieve after a relationship “dies.”
“The inspiration behind the Death Box comes from a heartbreak,” Burgess said from the Wellington home she shares with her three children.
The solid black box is made of cardboard and imprinted with bold white block letters on top: “DEATH BOX.” Inside are “rejuvenating items” Burgess hand-selected to help women get over their heartache, including a bath bomb, face mask, silk nightgown and drinking glass. There is a pack of tissues and a stack of cards with inspiring words helping them move on and focus on their mental health.
She also included what she calls “a pleasure piece,” an adult toy with a note attached to it that says, “You don’t need anyone else to pleasure you.”
“Well, you’re single,” Burgess said, laughing. “So, hey, you don’t have a man. You need someone or something, maybe a little satisfaction.”
But it’s when a woman has used each item in the box that the real mending begins.
“It is recommended that they take anything that’s tying them to that dead relationship — anything such as letters, gifts, pictures. You want to place all of those items inside of the box and bury the box or burn it,” Burgess said.
Yes. Burn the box. By getting rid of those items tying a woman to the relationship, Burgess said they can continue the process of moving on.
“Your box basically turns into a coffin for dead physical things,” she said.
As an emergency dispatcher, Burgess knows a lot about stress. But she said going through a breakup is far more difficult than her day-to-day job.
“What I’ve learned in the time of being a 911 operator is that we leave the situation after the call is done,” Burgess said. “You do your best to finish that. However, the stress of a breakup carries. You carry it to work, at home, at night. It just never leaves you.”
In doing research on how to help other women who were grieving lost relationships — “I believe taking care of people is one of my purposes in life,” she said — she joined several Facebook groups where women who had experienced a divorce or break-up were sharing their stories. What she found was “truly heartbreaking,” she said.
“I just wanted to offer something that I felt like would have help me, that I would have liked to receive,” Burgess added.
The product is designed to appeal to women of all ages, she said: “It can bring them some type of closure — but also some type of uplifting, too.”
There are two levels of Death Box available: the basic box and the customizable box. Each is $45, but gift cards can be added in $10 increments to the customizable box. For more information, go to www.thedeathbox.com.