Sleepless after death
13 January 13
My sleeping is still disrupted, seven months after Elijah’s death. I wonder how long my body will keep reminding me that something has changed, and when it, too, will adjust to the “new normal”.
My confession is not that I’m an insomniac, just that I am perpetually tired from too little sleep. Prior to June 2012, I had little trouble sleeping. I could sleep easily and often. Now I don’t.
My problem isn’t in falling asleep. Most nights I stay up so late — playing with the girls, watching movies or listening to a story — that I fall asleep while the session is still happening.
My problem is waking up. If something disturbs me — if one of the girls cries from the cold, if someone kicks me, if the weather changes and rocks the bus — then I wake.
At these times, it’s really difficult to fall asleep again, even if I’ve only had a couple of hours of sleep. Often I operate on only four or five hours of sleep.
But waking early does mean that I get to see beautiful sunrises as we travel across Australia. Like this one in Tasmania’s south:
Just recently, I’ve dropped my habit of sculling multiple energy drinks during the day, and so as my body adjusts to no caffeine and lower sugar levels, it fatigues. I’m thankful for each time I can enjoy a siesta in the middle of the day, for the days when Delaney curls up next to me and snores gently against the warmth of my body. These nana-naps revive me, and I’m finding this month that I need them more and more.
I’ve had friends talk to me about PTSD and the physical symptoms that can manifest after a trauma. Although I understand that there are sleep-aids that could give me better night’s sleep, I’m looking forward to the time when my body will have adjusted naturally and can put itself to rest.
In the meantime, I’m sleepless, like many other mourners around the world. We are joined together because of death, and so even in experiencing this temporary discomfort, I’m thankful for the connection it gives me with others and the insight it lends me in comforting others who mourn.