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