Monthly Archives: July 2012

Insomnia, sleep, and dreams

Usually I can sleep pretty good. I used to be able to sleep anywhere. After Justin died I began facing INSOMNIA! AHHHHHHHHHH! In all honesty it wasn’t the first time I had a bought of insomnia. When I was pregnant I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep for a couple of hours. Of course this only happened a hand full of times over the months. But after Justin, INSOMNIA reared it’s ugly head and curled around my pillow like a dragon around a castle tower, breathing its hot breath in my face and so that I could not sleep. And of course once I was able to fall asleep (just several hours before I had to wake up) I had a really hard time waking up in the morning. It was like I was fighting to drag myself out of a pool and the water was just heavy around me trying to keep me floating in the warm inviting waves. Ahhhh, bliss!

In truth I did nothing about my insomnia in the first several months after Justin died. After all if I wanted to sleep that meant I had to go into my room and lay in my bed, and face the fact that Justin was no longer there and would not be ever again. So sleep was not something that my tired and fragile mind really wanted. Of course as time struggled on, like it always does, I began to feel the effects of the insomnia. I realized that I really needed to sleep in order to be able to take care of my daughter properly.

Melatonin became my best friend. I would take a couple of those and begin to feel tired. Just to make sure that I would fall asleep I would also drink a nice glass of warm milk. If neither of these worked I would write, read, watch t.v. or anything else I could think of that would help make me tired. For the most part it worked. There were still nights that I just couldn’t make myself sleep or keep myself asleep. Even now I have days or even weeks when I have trouble getting to or staying asleep. I try not to stress about it, usually I just go back to my old stand byes or wait it out. I am not much for prescription sleep aides because I have an addictive personality and don’t want to get stuck on them. Writing seems to help the most. Usually when I cannot sleep it is because I am worried about something or over thinking situations or life. Writing helps to put get those thoughts from my head and onto paper where they can be dealt with later. Sometimes it is simply about adjusting my caffeine intake.  

Once I started to sleep the dreams would come. I have often dreamt about Justin since he died. I honestly believe that most of the dreams are a way to comfort me, to let me know that both he and I are okay. Some of the dreams come straight from my broken heart. I have had several where I return home to find that Justin is alive and it was all a big mistake, some delusion I was having. One time I even dreamt that he was in witness protection and now he was back because the bad guys were dead or in jail. Go ahead and smile, I do when I remember that one, too many cop dramas(I am smiling and shaking my head right now as I think about it ;-))  If you are a deeply (or even moderately) religious person you will say these dreams are from God to help me through a rough time. If you are a scientific person you are probably thinking that these dreams are just my subconscious mind trying to help my fragile psyche remain intact during this rough time. I believe that the good dreams are there to comfort me, maybe they come from God or maybe it really is Justin visiting me, or they could be a defense mechanism designed by my brain to keep me sane. In all honesty I really don’t care. When I dream about Justin I remember that between this world and the next is only a thin veil, I understand that love ones on the other side of the veil can reach out and help us(after all God is very busy, of course he has helpers), and I wake feeling like I really can make it in this world no matter how tough it seems.  

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Abandoned? or Apprehensive?

So in my last post I talked about how hard it was to say what I was actually feeling (the one before the question). This time I am going to let it all out. Since starting this blog I have tried to be more aware of what I am really feeling instead of pretending that I don’t really know. As the song goes “Everybody hurts somedays, it’s okay to be afraid….everybody feels this way it’s okay” (Avril Lavigne). Today I am feeling somewhat abandoned. The truth be told I have felt like this a lot since Justin died. I told myself it wasn’t fair to feel like that, I had so many people standing beside me and helping me. How could I possibly tell them I felt abandoned and alone. That and the fact that it wasn’t like Justin said today is a good day to die and then did. No, he fought for a very long time and most people wouldn’t have know he was even struggling with any type of illness he hid it very well most of the time. After his transplant it was a easier. But I digress. I felt abandoned. Left alone to take care of everything on my own. How horribly unfair! I haven’t really thought much about this until today.

Today my sister told me that she and John are signing lease papers on Monday. They have been living with me since December 31st 2010. They were only supposed to be here about 6 months to a year. But about a week after they moved in Justin died and so 6 months turned into 1 year which turned into a year and a half. I knew they weren’t going to be here forever(funny that’s exactly what Justin said 3 days before he left me forever). In truth I have not been the easiest person to live with (I complain a lot, Justin used to say that I would complain if someone hit me with a new hammer), and in fact we had been discussing move out dates for about 6 months. I knew they were looking because I had talked about different places with them and even helped them make phone calls. I guess a part of me kind of hoped that I wouldn’t be left alone. I still have Anastasia, but I will be the only adult in the house now. Talk about pressure! And over the last couple of weeks as they were searching for a place of their own that old feeling from last year surfaced and smacked me right in the face. Abandoned…again! So I started saying things like you can stay longer if you need to, we can figure out what it would take to put an apartment in the basement, we haven’t really set a move out date yet, take all the time you need. I am saying these things while the less panicky more rational side of my brain is screaming it’s time for you to have your own space, it’s time for them to have their own space, don’t panic everything is fine, they aren’t moving to Timbuktu if you need something they will be there just like all of your other family and friends! And fairly quickly I realized that I wasn’t feeling abandoned(well maybe a little), I was and am feeling Apprehensive, nervous, scared.

But why?

SMACK! Yep the proverbial frying pan hit me upside the head and everything clicked. I have never really lived on my own. Not only that but I have never lived on my own and at the same time had to be responsible for another person. And as if this weren’t enough this little person needs things, a lot of things! Like food, clothes, a place to sleep, and school supplies! Not to mention all of the none material items like love, compassion, rules, structure, and someone to protect her! What the H E double hockey sticks! Panic Panic Panic! Oh wait…haven’t I already been giving all of those things?(rational side) Well yes but not all ALONE!(irrational side) Just breathe, in…out…in…out. Okay, yes everything has changed, there is no denying that. You will be living in a house with a 5 year who you will be responsible for…By Myself(irrational side slipped in there sorry), yes but, you have friends who are a text, phone call, facebook, and short drive away if you need them.(rational side concludes) A sigh and semi acceptance from the irrational side. Rational side wins…at least for now 😉

I am stilling feeling a bit nervous, it has only been a few hours since she told me that the moving out is a sure and definite thing, but I can breathe now and I think another feeling is creeping in…what is that feeling? Ah, yes! It’s excitement. The feeling you get as the door to something new opens…nervousness, excitement, fear…all rolled into one. I would give just about anything to have Justin back. But it’s kind of nice to know that I can survive on my own. That I can be the strong, confident person he saw in me.

 

The Question

My Justin has been gone for nearly an year and a half. For me it sometimes seems like it was only yesterday. For others it feels like the full year and a half. About 9 months or so after Justin died a friend of mine asked the question “when do you think you will start dating again?” The question kind of floored me. I wasn’t prepared to answer it yet. I had barely registered that Justin was gone and he wasn’t going to walk through the door at five thirty every night. I wasn’t sure what to say and I sensed that screaming “NEVER!” at her was not the way to go. I simply told her I wasn’t ready to answer that question. I tried to put it out of my head but the question stuck there. At the time it was asked I was still wearing my wedding ring on my finger and tearing the house a part to find Justin’s wedding ring. When I found it I started wearing it on the opposite hand. I was most definitely not ready to answer the question. My mind wouldn’t let it go though so think I did. I knew that Justin would have told me to find somebody better than him…not possible in my opinion. I asked myself what my family would say. They just want me to be happy. I asked what my friends would say. Same thing as my family. I know that they worry that I am not okay or that I am going to waste away in a pit of despair. The truth is that I am somewhere in between. Because I am at an in between place it has taken me awhile to come up with answer. I knew that asking myself what others would say was not really answering the question for myself. I had to delve deep and find my own answer. This was the difficult part. My heart and soul hurt so very horribly and to delve too far from the surface was agony. But I needed an answer for my friends and family…for myself. Justin used to tease me, told me I should find someone better than him, I would laugh and say that no person existed and that I was happy with him. I could never picture myself with anyone else…except maybe Nicholas Cage. So when I was faced with the question so short a time after his death, I wanted scream and cry and throw things and hide under my covers. During the days when the numbness allowed me to think practically, I let my mind wander to the question and I have finally found an answer that I think will make everyone (including myself) breathe a little easier. Here is my answer to the dreaded question

I refuse to shut any doors when the future is so uncertain. I found my Justin after what felt like a life time of looking for the right guy. In reality, I had only been thinking about guys since I was 12 or 13. I was happy with Justin, even with the ups and downs that seem to plague every relationship. I cannot simply push his memory aside to make room for someone new. Not that anyone is suggesting that I do that, but when I think about dating that’s kinda what it feels like. I have not really thought about who I am, I have not done much soul searching or self analysis in my life, maybe now is the time. I want to get to know me before I go looking for someone else. I owe that to myself, my daughter, and my Justin. Maybe in time I will meet someone, but he will have to be pretty special because I will not give up Justin’s memory or the very special spot he holds in my life. Until that time I am perfectly fine with discovering who Valerie is and what she wants from this much, much to short existence. 

This not a simple answer but it is the one that fits with my life right now. I know my family and friends will accept this because it is what makes sense to me.