I’ve never had a problem with sleep.
Other than the periodic night of anticipation, I’ve never been able to relate to people who go long spans of time struggling to fall asleep. The zombie types clicking through the channels trying to find things to calm their mind. That has never been me. Since I was a little girl I’ve quieted my sleepy-time mind the same way every night: Daydreaming.
That’s the best way I can describe it, anyway. Whatever is keeping my mind going, whatever has me anxious, whatever is stressing me out – I daydream it away. When I was little this often involved boys kissing me behind the school bus at recess. I would imagine these detailed situations that would allow me to just drift into sleep easily. When things have caused me stress as an adult, I have done the same thing. I imagine winning the lottery (Which, for the record, I’ve never played.) and I would dream about the ways my family would spend the money. When I was looking for jobs I would imagine that dream position that allowed me to pursue a career in napping while strictly enforcing the Weekly Pedicure policy by paying for all of my spa visits.
My very vivid imagination has been the key to quieting my mind in the night since I was a child. I have never been able to sleep late, it’s too difficult to quiet my mind again once I start waking in the morning. But falling asleep in the evening? Has never been a problem.
Since Dad died…falling to sleep has been a challenge. When I stop moving for the day and lay in bed, I think about him. I think about how real it is that he’s gone. About what I miss and what I’ll never hear or see from him again. And I can’t imagine it away. It’s the first time in my life that the painful thoughts following me during my day, can not be conquered by my imagination at night. This is the first time I’ve ever had a problem that is completely impossible to solve. The laws of nature prohibit it. While winning the lottery was never a realistic solution to my money problems in the past (especially since I never played) it was still possible. So it allowed me an outlet to escape to dream land.
My Dad will never come back.
It’s just been in the last week that I’ve finally been able to truly define the cause of my sleep problems. On days that his death is NOT in the forefront of my mind, sleep comes easily. But since Father’s Day and the weeks before, it’s been on my mind often. And I can’t make it go away. I close my eyes at night and just…miss him. I still have those moments that it hits me painfully that…he’s really gone. The logical part of my brain knows that and needs no reminders, but the active part that won’t quiet as I try to fall asleep at night? That part stays distracted enough during the daytime hours to not think about it. But at night? It’s there, stabbing me in the heart repeatedly. Keeping me awake and alert until I finally take some generic Nighttime Pain Relief to help me sleep.
I’m sure this is just another thing time will heal. My mind will focus on this less intensely as the months tick by. But the truth is: He is gone. And that…that simple truth…will still find ways to interrupt my peace forever. Because that’s how long he’s gone. Forever.