I feel exhausted much of the time. Some of it results from the effort involved in ongoing survival. Some of it is from lack of sleep, or restless nights.

Before (everything is now divided into before and after), I used to sleep pretty soundly - about 9 to 10 hours a night. Dizzy GillespieOccasionally I was awakened by the cat dangling a live mouse over my face. Or by Doug's whale noises. He didn't snore. Instead he made periodic puffing noises. These periodic "poooof" noises made it hard for me to fall asleep. A couple of times I tried holding his lips together (which didn't wake him up) to get him to stop. His cheeks swelled up like Dizzie Gillespie's, until I had to let go. I felt badly (sort of.)

Doug always wanted to go to bed early - usually around 8 or 8:30 p.m. Towards the end, he wanted to head upstairs as early as 7:30. I thought it was from the stress of the office, and from working and playing so hard at home. I would get a bit annoyed (it's hard to go to bed when it's still light out), but always joined him. I wanted to be by his side.

I usually read or watched a movie (with head phones on) until about 10:30 or 11 p.m. Sometimes on Monday nights, Doug would watch a late football game in bed. If I had to work the next day, he would wear the head phones so I could sleep. Except every time there was a really good or bad play, he would wake me up by yelling out loud while jumping around in bed.

On weekdays, I would usually sleep in until 7:30 or 8 a.m. Doug had to get up at 5:45. (I had to set the alarm. Doug could never figure it out. The guy could repair anything, but he loathed modern electronics. He would rather paint the house than hook up a new DVD player.)

Most weekdays we had our morning cuddle. Then he would get up and I would fall back to sleep. I felt guilty about this, but he was usually kind of quiet and cranky in the morning on workdays anyway. He was so focused on getting ready - getting dressed, making coffee, watering the hanging plants, setting up the ducks and goat, etc.

Without fail, he came back upstairs to wake me up, kiss me goodbye and tell me he loved me. Sometimes he also came up to ask which tie went with what he was wearing.

On weekends, we would sleep in together. When we woke up, we laid in the warm bed for a while with the cat. We talked about our plans. We told each other what we had dreamed. We laughed.

I feel badly that I didn't get up with him that last Tuesday. He came upstairs wearing a red jacket. Even though it was June 8th, it was chilly outside. He kissed me. We said "I love you." He reminded me that we were going for a hike to see the mountain laurel blooming when he got home that night. That never happened.

Scott Harwood photoThe first night after Doug died, I did not sleep at all. Maybe that's why the Irish call it a "wake." KK, a friend, said "I hate it when the night slowly drips away, one tiny tick tock at a time." The rest of the first week, I slept less than an hour each night. The second week, I was so exhausted I almost fell asleep several times while driving.

Now, after four months, I'm up to about 5 to 7 hours of sleep a night. I get up many times during the night. Often, I will wake up at 2, 3 or 4 a.m. As soon as I open my eyes, I remember. The squirrels start running around in my head. That is the end of sleep.


Good morning heartache,
you old gloomy sight
Good morning heartache
Thought we said goodbye last night
I turned and tossed until it seems you had gone
But here you are with the dawn

Wish I’d forget you,
but you're here to stay
It seems I met you
when my love went away
Now everyday I start by saying to you
Good morning heartache… what's new

Stop haunting me now,
can't shake you no how
Just leave me alone
I've got those Monday blues
Straight through Sunday blues

Good morning heartache, here we go again
Good morning heartache
You're the one who knew me when
Might as well get used to you hangin’ around
Good morning heartache, sit down
~ Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher, Irene Higginbotham
(I like Billie Holliday's earliest rendition of this song.)





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