Back when my kids were younger I learned the joys of putting them to bed and then having a few blessed, quiet hours in the evening to myself (well, mostly to myself – I did share my room & bed with Tom after all). Some days it was the only thing that kept me sane – waiting for bed time to arrive so I could be done with the difficult parenting gig for another day. My craving for quiet, kid-free time was so great, that it warred with (and sometimes was victorious over) my need for sleep. In fact, there were many nights when the only reason I turned out my light at a decent hour was because I was keeping Tom awake. On those rare occasions when he was out of town, I habitually stayed up into the wee hours of the morning.
When Tom died, I worried about sleep. Everything I read about grieving mentioned how difficult sleep was to come by. There was the whole empty side of the bed thing. There was the quiet vacuum into which grief and worry would rush in when all the distractions of the day ceased. I was lucky. Sleep did not abandon me. Many nights I felt like going to bed was the one time of the day when I could imagine being with Tom again, which was strangely comforting. But mostly I craved the oblivion of unconsciousness and sleep never disappointed.
But, while I haven’t struggled with insomnia, I have struggled with bad habits. I get started with a good book and I think I’ll just read one more chapter and then it’s four in the morning and I’m kicking myself. With no one else in the bed, I don’t have the pressure to turn the light off. And I wish I could say it is just reading – there are an infinite number of time sinks – last night I tumbled down the rabbit hole of family history research. “Just one more name to add, just one more record to check … oh yeah, you have to get up in four hours to go teach seminary!” (face palm)
This morning I dragged myself out of bed with promises that I could definitely climb back under the covers just as soon as seminary was over. It was the only thing that got me going – that lure of more sleep. Now I’m home but the list of things I want to do today means I won’t be going back to bed – at least not this morning. Talk to me this afternoon – unless I get dragged back into English census records and parish marriage registers!
(Want to do your own family history research? Check out familysearch.org for free records searching … and if you have family from England or Australia I can help you get acquainted with the records available if you want a little personal tutoring.)