Sleeping Restlessly with Melatonin. Writing Through Grief.
WRITING THROUGH GRIEF IS A NEW BLOG POST SERIES. THIS IS MY HONEST RECOUNT OF MY GRIEF AT THE LOSS OF LONNIE WHO PASSED SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 2021. THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE READ DEAR UNIVERSE, I GET IT NOW, WILL KNOW SHE’S BEEN THERE FROM THE BEGINNING. THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW ME PERSONALLY WILL KNOW SHE WAS MY SECOND MOTHER.
I just popped two Melatonin and refilled my bedroom diffuser with Serenity. I’m getting ready for sleeping restlessly, again. I’ve already been in my pajamas and bathrobe for three hours. Which is actually much shorter than yesterday.
Yesterday, I didn’t shower.
I stayed in my pajamas and bathrobe all day. AND I didn’t change my pajamas. I just went right back into bed with them.
It was a Kay day. A mom day. And it was less than 20 degrees here in Vermont. The perfect temp for staying inside, in our jammies, and doing indoor things. Like playing with LEGOS and searching for Waldo. Both which we did for hours.
Thank God. As my energy reserves were low. (As they have been.) It took everything out of me to suit us both up after school the day before and go just across the driveway to the bunny hill near the pool for sledding. I spent most of the time on my back, laying up at the sky, watching birds and some weird grey wispies (that I was hoping wasn’t some warning sign of a major organ failing) move across my eyes. He was more than happy to have me on my back so that he could come down and “crash into me” on the saucer and erupt into fits of giggles. My favorite sound in the world.
I was happy to be laying down and still entertaining him. The truth was, I had managed to pull a hamstring getting up from the ground, off the saucer, in the shin-deep snow in all my snow gear.
I’m that out of shape.
This year my intention is to focus on my health. In all areas. Physical strength and muscular development included, but it can wait until February. Or at least establishing a routine can. Or working with a trainer. Or cutting sweets and excess sugar out.
Lunch today was gluten-free coffee cake and a decaf maple latte from an awesome local place.
They were comforting for the moment. But like adrenaline, their effects didn’t last.
Kind of like Melatonin and Serenity where this post began and herein lies the perfect illustration of how my mind has worked this past week.
My thought process has always been a bit long, digressive… one train jumping a lot of tracks. But not to the extent it has been this week.
I start one thing and find myself well off the trail to the original destination before I remember where I was.
This morning I walked into Kay’s bedroom, fixed the blanket at the foot of his bed, put a loose toy away, walked back out, and then remembered when I re-reached the living room that the reason I had gone in there, to begin with, was to get him a pair of clothes to bring him to his dad’s. I turned back around and walked back, nearly forgetting again what I was going in there for.
Around and around we go.
Nights are even worse.
Despite being exhausted by 8:30… (I mean truthfully, I feel tired all the time.) Despite the care I take to sleep well, I’m not.
I take the Melatonin.
I turn on the diffuser.
I turn on the rain sounds from my app.
I focus on my breathing to try to quiet my mind.
And if I’m lucky, I fall asleep by the end of an hour.
If I’m not, I’m pretty much up all night.
Either way, I’m not sleeping restfully.
My dreams are strange but vivid. A criss-crossing of current real-life situations and contexts with impossible layers and additions.
And always, always, Lonnie is there.
In one she tells me her spirit is dying. Again. My heart splits into two.
In another, she’s there in a pink t-shirt with a black and white checkered scarf and her hair is thick, raven black, and curly. This is exactly her out of a photo from when I was probably seven. Moments later her daughter steps out of her. Like she’s wearing Lonnie as a bodysuit. And my brain is going WTF as my heart pounds and I’m feeling anguish and confusion. Whether I’m crying in the dream or in real life, I don’t know. But my chest aches with that same feeling as though I’ve been crying for hours.
In a third, it’s not so much her physical presence as it is her voice. Telling me to let go. I can hear her. The sound of her voice tugs on me.
Every morning, I wake before 6. One more it was 4:53. Another it was 3:18. And I struggle to fall back asleep.
I tried napping the other afternoon and it was useless. (Seriously, cats make napping look so easy. I hate them.)
It was forty minutes of laying on my back staring at the inside of my eyelids while I thought of all the things I didn’t have the energy or focus for. Then tried to find words to explain how I was feeling because everyone wants to know.
“How are you?”
“How are you holding up?”
“Tell me how you are, really?”
A woman who has been in my life since infancy is now gone. How do you explain that kind of hole after 35 years of bonding? How do you explain that loss?
How do I express both the honor and devastation of watching her take her last breath?
I’m writing my way through this but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to express it.
And I’m trying to take care of myself in the process, but my soul is restless. Agitated. Longing. Lost.
It’s keeping me up at night.
Keeping me slow during the day.
But just like I approach my day, I approach my evening.
Do the normal things. As much as I can until they are once again, normal.
It reminds me of this quote from a Call the Midwife episode I watched only a handful of weeks ago, before all this death and loss. This mother says to a midwife who just lost her boyfriend in a freak accident, “You keep on living until you feel alive again.”
These days I’ve felt more like a zombie than anything else, but I keep slogging through. I wake up. I eat breakfast. I get ready… mostly. I have lunch and dinner. I do what I need to do as a mom on Kay days. And go to bed.
All the in-between is a gamble.
Will I be able to focus? Do I feel up for anything? Should I journal? Should I keep that meeting? Do I need to leave the house?
But I’m willing to bet that the in-between wouldn’t feel so hard, so labored, if at least I was sleeping. Actually sleeping.
I’ll keep on “sleeping” until I’m actually sleeping again.
Which means I’ll keep on taking Melatonin and turning on the diffuser and listening to rain sounds until they work again.
Anyone want to place bets on tonight?
Sleeping restfully? Sleeping restlessly?