I hate the time between 2:00am & 4:00 am. It’s time I’m most alone with my thoughts and my mind is all too often a very dark and lonely place.
It started with my first surgery. When even the halls of the surgical floor were quiet. It was the time I paced those silent halls, hooked up to my IV, often in search of chocolate milk. It was when sleep eluded me and my brain went to places I didn’t want it to go.
It still is.
It’s the time when I listen to my family sleep. When I can identify the breathing of each of my children from across the hall and wonder why God gave them to me, even an extra unplanned one, only to take me away from them too soon.
It’s when I want so much to join them in their slumber. To escape into their youthful dreams. It’s when I reach for Science Guy’s hand and he holds me even in his sleep. He knows that there’s no pulling me back. He’s tried. So he sleeps, and I listen.
Early on it was the time when I’d go into the bathroom, put my head in my hands and cry – hoping that no one could hear me. I would wake from a dream where I was healthy then be hit with the reality of cancer all over again. Night time’s cruel joke.
It’s the time when I run my hands over my belly like I did when I was pregnant – enjoying the feel of my children inside of me and safe. Only now I’m feeling for bumps that aren’t comforting, that don’t give me peace. The telltale signs my latest drugs have stopped working.
Mostly it’s when the exhaustion of putting on a brave face during the day makes it impossible to pretend any more. I’m not brave. I’m not strong. I’m not able to beat this thing with the power of positive thinking. It’s when I’m most afraid.
But then some time during that darkness, it all starts to fade and I’ll move closer to that amazing man I married and I’ll let go. I’ll find that safe place in my mind that allows me to go back to sleep. Comforted by the presence next to me that exudes life and pulls me back.
I will wake up to the early morning sun and the sounds of my family and be grateful I’m still here. In the light of day I’m stronger. More able to deal with the unknown. Braver.
Until the night.