There was a time, in the first year after we started traveling, where I slept so peacefully through the nights. Handsome Husband and I were thrilled to explore this country, seeing new things, adjusting well to our 24/7 time together, deepening our love for one another. His body next to mine in our bed, wherever that bed happened to be, his reassuring presence next to me, waking in the morning to face another day of adventure-life was, yes…bliss.
Ye olden days. Gone forever. Our last winter in Arizona marked the changing of our days and our nights. Once we left Arizona to go further West into Nevada and California, our sleeping habits were never the same. His nights got restless, with coughing and pain. Mine changed as I woke with him. By the time we arrived in Cathedral City, California for our 3 month rental, his nights were a painful trek from sofa to chair to floor to sofa to chair. Pillow propping, back rubbing, soft massages, coughing, pacing, and me staring at that light high up on the nearby mountain out the porch window. Neither of us slept a night through. Even if I could stretch out in the huge king-size bed, there was a gaping emptiness next to me and I was oh so aware of him just a few steps away, sitting on the couch, both of us praying that, if nothing else, exhaustion would claim us.
Just a few days shy of 4 months later, almost 3000 miles away, on the other Coast, I am jolted awake once I do finally sleep. I don’t dream and I sleep in brief snatches. I don’t startle awake in a frightened manner in the months since he died. It’s more a matter of I’m sleeping and suddenly, deep in the recesses of my mind, will be the realization that I’m alone in this bed, that he’s gone forever from me, and the abject loneliness and coldness of that thought will open my eyes as if it were daytime and I’d merely blinked.
I miss my husband. We lived together, we loved passionately, we danced, we adventured and we were supposed to have so many more years together. I remember saying to him early on, when we first lived together, before we got married, when we first shared a bed, how easily we shared that bed, giving space even while laying close, clasping hands if nothing else. His body next to mine was of such comfort and we easily learned the art of two people sharing a bed. His next-to-me during the night was his next-to-me during the daylight-strong, loving, confident, protective.
Now, my days of agony translate seamlessly into nights of agony and, once again, into days of agony in an endless march of time.
I’ve been robbed.