I am writing at 1 am. Sleep is something I crave and need so much more than I used to, but I get into my bed and sleep slips right past me. My husband snores and twitches and enjoys this instantaneous journey into sleepland, and I lay there waiting for my turn. I gave up tonight and now write to try to fill the space with something else.
So many thoughts turn in my mind. I think about my to-do list, how to best organize my tomorrow’s events, what school forms I have not yet signed, and what I am going to make for supper. Next I run through the windows of time I have with each of my kids and how we might get to spend them. Less often these days do I question how and why it was that Samuel died, thankfully, although in these sleepless moments, I confront my missing of him head on. Sometimes his absence feels more factual and less painful, and then other nights the sadness fill me like a faucet fills an empty glass; in seconds. Then, I silently tell him I miss him and that I feel him with me.
I suppose practice makes perfect. You begin to get used to missing your child and somehow you get better at negotiating it into your experience of your life with each day that passes. I reflect on this often during these sleepless times. I think about how strange it is that just when you think you are getting better at it, the missing of him, then that song comes on the radio, his song, and you are a mess. This was happening to me twice a day for a while. Then twice a week. Now it occurs less frequently, but still often enough that you can’t really trust your emotions entirely. What is with that? Not long ago I was out for a run. Samuel’s song started playing on my ipod and suddenly the tears started and kept coming. Pretty quickly I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t see where the hell I was going. I crouched down beside a tree and let it all out. There I was on the running path, having a great big ugly cry, right out in the open. I simply didn’t give a rat’s behind who was there to witness it.
I rehash things like this during these sleepless times.
Tonight I have been thinking about what is next for me. Work is looming over me like a cloud. I am finally starting back next week. The disability insurance people started threatening that my time was up two and a half months after my little one died. “The average time for a person to return to work is 28 days,” the adjuster told me, ever so compassionately. Then she said, “I know Mrs So-and-So that know your baby died…….but work is a good thing.” Thank you Janice. Thanks so very much.
The trouble is, that I just don’t really care about work the way that I used to. I’m sure that one day I will…….won’t I? I always have. I like what I do, and have always been motivated and passionate about it. Will I feel that way again? I have been fortunate to have had this time off to get back on my feet, and I will go back to my job regardless of how it feels at the moment. Somehow though, I anticipate that my job won’t fit for me the way it used to.
Before, juggling work and home life in a way that felt somewhat balanced, was a struggle. I managed, but it was very complicated to orchestrate all of the moving parts. If one thing went wrong, the whole system fell apart. I was constantly stressed and my mind was often distracted. I want life to feel simpler now. “Complicated” steals energy from what I love, which is being with my family, and really being present to them. This time we have together seems more vulnerable and precious and fleeting since Samuel died. I cherish the now, and all I want to do is drink up each and every second. Of course I have always valued my time at home with my little ones. I have always loved it. We have prioritized our lives accordingly, and I have been able to work part time outside the home. But being with them for their day to day lives, to witness and facilitate the little details that make their day happen is critical for me in a whole new way since the game changer. I guess death will do that to a person.
Things are different now. I am different. I feel less conflicted about balancing work and home life. It is simple, and I am far less willing to negotiate about it. I want to be there in the morning for school drop off and when the big kids arrive home. Making 100 different, complicated pick up and drop off arrangements is over. If I can’t be there 90% of the time to manage getting the kids where they need to be, then something needs re-evaluating. I want to be here for my little ones’ preschool and kindergarten years when we can zip to the zoo or catch an impromptu matinee, or just do puzzles or play dough all morning. That stuff rocks my world. Yes, I want a successful career, but I need to find a different way to pursue it. What will be my new approach? Change it in the air.
While I wish I was a-slumber, in peaceful reverie, I guess there is something exciting and reassuring about all of these midnight musings. Even in the wake of horrible things happening, new and exciting things can evolve. There is potential for new dreams while mourning the loss of the old dream.
Maybe dreaming while you’re sleepless is just as good as dreaming while you sleep.