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I Went to Bed Full of Dread But Woke Up Light

·761 words·4 mins

I was filled with dread when I lay down to sleep last night. I’d hit a dark spot late into the day. A pocket of depression and existential angst.

I know there’s a lot of that going around these days, what with the pandemic, economic crisis, and political unrest.

I personally do alright about ninety percent of the time — but every now and then I struggle a bit. And yesterday was rife with struggle. I found out that a friend of mine passed away, after a long battle with cancer. People always assume that a death not being sudden makes it less sad somehow. Or easier to accept. But I’ve never found that to be the case. It’s something that sounds true to people when they say it but isn’t.

It’s so sad. He was young. And his wife is also a friend of mine. She’s a wonderful person, and I feel awful for her.

A few hours after finding out that news, my mom reached out to me, needing to talk. She was having a down day. My father passed away nine months ago (about a month into the pandemic) from his own long battle with cancer. Even though she and I haven’t always had the best relationship — and we live 2000 miles apart — she’s found that I’m the best person to talk to about him. It’s funny because I always feel so sad and powerless when confronted with her grief, like nothing I ever say or do will be enough to help her. But she says I always know what to say to make her feel just a bit better.

Even though it’s hard on me, I do it. Because I think it’s what Dad would have wanted. Dad would have wanted me to help her. And feeling like I’m doing something for Dad helps me with my own grief.

I Did Some Deep Breathing & Then Read a Good Book

So I had all of this on my mind when I got into bed last night to go to sleep. I could feel the heaviness in my chest. My own grief. The worry about my widowed friend and my mother. The inevitable perspective-taking that happens to me each time I go down these roads — when I start thinking about my own husband passing away and how it would devastate me.

It was a lot. I won’t sugarcoat it.

But I got into bed with my husband and my sweet cat — who has his own little bed between us, a throne of pillows. And I took a few deep breaths and listened to the room, focused on how my body felt lying there, one part at a time, from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

And then I took out my book to read. Right now, I’m reading the second of Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone mysteries, Tippy Toe Murder. It’s a really good series. Glad I stumbled on it (a character in another book I read was reading the books). Anyway, they’re set in Maine (where I grew up), and this series does the best job accurately portraying what it’s like to live in Maine of any books I’ve read. They’re very realistic, too. Sort of dark but not overly so. I would have given the first book 5 stars on style alone, but the mystery solution to the first one wasn’t good so I gave it 4 (would have given it a 4.5 if they’d had half stars). I’m hoping that the solution to this second book is better. The writing is again excellent. In any event, I’m almost certainly going to read the entire series since they are wonderful.

(By the way, I rate every book I finish after I read it on my Goodreads, so if you’re curious about what I’ve been reading, you can follow me on Goodreads here.)

I read last night until I was exhausted and then fell asleep.

I Was Heavy When I Went to Bed But Woke Up Light

With as heavy as I felt last night when I went to bed, I expected to feel it still today. Still lingering in my body.

But shockingly, I was quite a bit better this morning. Consciously, I know that everything is still unsettled. There’s a lot going on right now that’s stressful, disturbing.

But I’m not carrying the heaviness in my body this morning. I physically feel light.

And that feels like a big deal. It makes all the difference.


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