This morning I awoke even earlier than usual, at 3 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. A lot of people have been having trouble sleeping, I’ve noticed…based on my casual interpretations of fellow FB friend’s nocturnal musings. There are all kinds of reasons I awake. It’s hot. The neighbor’s dogs won’t shut-up. The pool pump in the adjoining yard just has to come on at 2 a.m. The dream I just had, which re-articulated for me, in great detail, the falling out of my crown, which of course had just occurred that early evening.
There are helpful tips in life of course, how to fall asleep, stay asleep, get back to sleep. But what of the musings which arise in the middle of the night? My emotions these days are pretty stable. Scarily so. Like, I didn’t even cry last year at my own daughter’s wedding.
I think we, as a society are being numbed so much these days, that we think the real goal is only to fall back asleep. And stay asleep. It doesn’t seem to be working for me. So today, I did not worry that I was awake. I stayed awake, thinking thoughts of darkness and light. When I knew for sure that sleep would prove a struggle, I decided to be open to what my mind wanted to think about. And so it thought, and I listened.
It thought about one of my daughter’s best friends, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, an aggressive stage two prognosis. Then it thought about other women I follow on FB, and these friends public journeys of battling breast cancer, bravely outlined for us to follow their daily struggles. We are able to assist only on the periphery, by offering words of support and sending out messages laced with love and prayer.
My mind then thought about a very close friend of mine, who lost a son-in-law just a little over a year ago. A young musician away from his family on the road on a musical tour, who never came home, just died in his sleep, leaving my friend’s daughter and two little girls, bereft and torn asunder. I had been at the couple’s wedding. Later, my friend and I laid on his gravesite, looking up at the clouds…wondering why now, this year, her other son-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. He too, young and vibrant, handsome, intelligent and fit. A wonderful father to his two young sons; a loving husband to his wife, whom I used to babysit when she was only 7 years old. The clouds floated overhead, but gave no answers.
Now my mind wanted to think about things even closer to home. I allowed it. It thought about my step-daughter’s husband, who after a bad bout with a VA hospital over an ankle injury, wound up losing a leg. His leg. Not just a leg. There are really no words sometimes. Just gaping holes, just loss. Just dark thoughts…
My own eldest daughter announced this week, after awaiting MRI results, the results still not forthcoming after 2 months of waiting, that she personally thinks the latest brain lesions are indicative of M.S. I denied it of course, telling her that lots of tests would have to sway that verdict, but did say that newer medications were showing amazing promise at halting the progression of this particular disease in this miraculous day and age. I could offer nothing more, so at the time I offered up medical marijuana grown by her step-sister’s husband. It seems to have helped him.
I, of course, notice many people’s struggles. To not become overwhelmed with grief, I know I have shut down. I have battened the hatches and braced for events, just hoping to ride out the storms. The victims of life’s frailties and assaults are of course not the lucky ones. But for the survivors who witness this torment, who endure the torture of sometimes watching their loved ones suffer mercilessly without the divine intercession from a God who seems not to be listening to our whispered prayers, our shouted rage, and then our quiet whimperings in the night…for them, when does this suffering end? Death comes quickly, or slowly, offering a peaceful refuge for those who have suffered so…but it does not provide immediate relief to those living, and still loving, nearby. And now, finally, I cry.
(To be continued)