My 9th wedding anniversary was July 9. Just as in my life before, when Dave was alive, I forgot to think about it coming up. Dave and I would occasionally forget about it and celebrate it any old time we felt like it whether we recognized it on the actual day or on another day. We didn't care. We lived with the motto that every day was our anniversary. No reason to wait to celebrate for that particular day.
So, the 9th approached and I didn't realize it. Consciously. As I look back now, I can see how my subconscious was probably aware all along.
Prior to, I'd say, the 5th of July I was feeling really good. The 5th through the 8th? Not so good. I went from crying briefly a few times a day in a bittersweet way (normal status) to crying for hours and hours at a time. A good, pounding crying headache became a constant. It became a chore to take care of myself and get out of the apartment. Sleeping? What's that?
The missing him got bigger and bigger until it blotted out all other small joys and excitements. The world grew gray and threatening.
When I tried to think of the cause, I came up with some theories. It was the let-down after the fun and magic of the fourth. It was the summer love in the air all around me that was making me feel extra lonely and envious.
None of the theories really rang true, though. On the evening of the 8th, someone reminded me of the significance of the following day and I realized that maybe all along, though I didn't acknowledge it consciously, the rest of me knew it was coming.
This has happened a few times since Dave died and I wonder if it's a protective strategy. A touch of denial: What anniversary? Don't know what you're talking about. What birthday? Nah, couldn't be. A special holiday? Nope.
As my conscious mind goes offline, my subconscious mind never stops churning away and the symptoms are a return of the grief monster, insomnia, and general misery.
So, things are getting a bit better now, but general, everyday stresses are getting the best of me and good sleep still eludes me most nights. When I don't sleep I become a miserable person. I think terrible thoughts, make regrettable decisions and grump around in a funk.
So, sadly, the one way I could deal better with the grief monster is to sleep and that's the one thing I can't quite manage. Yeah, I have sleeping pills, but they don't seem to help me. I generally notice that I get tired enough to finally crash and then I sleep so much that I hit the reset button and feel a lot better. But in the meantime, I have to be really gentle with myself, which is a challenge for me.
I just keep thinking that the only sleep aid that really ever worked for me was that wonderful man who loved me so much. I slept easily and deeply every night he was physically in my life. When he was by side, everything was right in the world.
I have hope that it won't always feel quite like this, but the fact is, he made me feel so safe, the safest I've ever felt in my life, and the loss of that is shattering.
If I have to go this road alone, though, it looks as though somehow (not sure how, yet) I'll have to be that for myself. That way, no one else has to provide it for me. I'll have to become the hero of my own story and make myself feel safe.
I'll let you know how that goes.