Sleep is difficult. It is not the sleep itself, it is the dreams, and waking.  I try to stay awake until I am so exhausted I drop immediately into what I hope will be a dreamless sleep.  Some nights I am just too tired and fall asleep early. Ten or eleven. Those are the worst nights.

     There are nights I awaken to absolute quiet, and darkness. I am disoriented and I believe, as I did when I first awoke in a very dark room at MCV, that I am dead.  Following surgery, as I came out of the anethesia, it was only after I felt a hand squeeze mine that I realized I was not dead.  Now when I awaken to the same darkness, I try to remember the intensity of that touch. I breathe.  I go to check on the children.  I thank God we are alive.

      There are nightmares. I awaken screaming.  He is standing next to me, or over me, with the gun to my head. They are so real I can touch him. Other nights I awaken, and the final scene replays in my mind. I see him at the end of the bed. The look in his eyes. The apparent sudden realization evident that he had everything and he squandered it; a sudden final pain that I would no longer be part of his life which proved unbearable to him. The quietness of the night magnifies his presence. It is unsettling, though I have grown used to him being here and simply choose to ignore him until he leaves.

      But tonight, tonight was the most brutal of dreams.  At once both beautiful and painful, the dream he is alive. As always, I am elated to see him, running to him, excited and smiling. I feel the excitement and love I felt when I would see him, then the disappointment of his anger with me, whatever I had done (I did not know) that displeased him, and then the inescapable feeling of desperation, of hopelessness.  The reality of what our relationship was. Feeling the life drain from me. At some point I realize he is dead and I am both relieved and overwhelmed with sadness. Relieved to not have those constant feelings of conflict, of living in fear, fearful of living.  Saddened he could not love me fully, could not let me love him; and the pain of the acceptance it would never change. I awaken crying.

       Sometimes during these last hours of darkness I dream warm arms enfold me. My nighttime fears are not gone, but I am comforted, no longer alone to wrestle them.  I am reassured I will see the first light of day, a rhythm uninterruptable even by the darkness within me; it will begin soon.  I know the darkness will end.  I wait.

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” – Rabindranath Tagore

About Lisette d. Johnson

Murder-Suicide Survivor, Mom, Writer, Speaker, Serial Volunteer in the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Arena, Entrepreneur, &amp Friend. I survived, my kids survived, and I am here to tell the story.
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3 Responses to Dreams

  1. Lynne says:

    Very powerful! Keep drawing upon nature for your healing because within it is the true essence of our inner being. When I lived in NJ during the 9/11 attacks in NY, I was alone. With no TV or telephone service, I sat outside on my back porch that faced the woods. The quiet was deafening as all the flights had been grounded. Considering the area, JFK, Newark and Laguardia this was significant. I watched as the changing leaves fall softly to the ground and the squirrels frenzied over the acorn harvest. The beauty of the cardinals as the hopped from branch to branch. As I initially sat there with fear and much uncertainty, nature revealed its secret to me and a calm came over me. Her rhythm was unchanging even if man’s bloodshed filled the streets. Nature and our true essence of goodness are one in the same. Wars, politics, religious conflicts, greed are all a result of man’s form, content, mind, ego and will come and go. Our true essence is immortal.

    • Susan says:

      The dreams that come leave me terrified and anxious; they come most nights, five out of seven probably. I dream he is in bed next to me or he is in my house. At first he might be loving and then he morphs into the monster he is in real life. Other nights, he tries to convince me that I am crazy and that I am the monster, not he. Sometimes, I am running to get away, sometimes I am running to make him love me, sometimes, sometimes, sometimes.

      There was no gun for me, no literal, steely, hard, bullet loaded gun. There was no blood, no surgery, no physical scars. No sirens, no police, no crime, no suicide – I can’t touch or feel that kind of pain. Still, I am afraid. I can relate to the haunting, the waiting for sounds of his footsteps leading to my bed. I can smell him, taste him, sense that he is coming to hurt me. Wake up, wake up, wake up, I scream. Loudly with no sound, I keep on screaming. No one hears and I get up and move forward like nothing has happened.

      So, I pray.

      • Lisette Johnson says:

        To intentionally and systematically destroy a beautiful, vital, vibrant human being daily until little recognizable is left; one who trusted you as you promised before God you would cherish and protect them, that dear Susan IS a crime.

        In our dreams we are still fighting an enemy, fighting the war to find our way back to our lives. We are the victors.

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