Dear Husband,

I know I will never attempt to convey these thoughts and feelings to you face to face because as soon as I open my mouth, the pain will take over and the tears will fall. So, I shall put into words what my heart is feeling.

As you know, it’s never come easy to me…..that ability to lay my head upon my pillow and fall fast asleep. You’re able to, but it’s always been a challenge for me to turn it off at the end of the day. Laying in bed beside you one night last weekend evoked strong feelings in me, so strong that they are still with me nearly a week later. After more than 33 years of marriage, there is nothing novel about lying next to you as you fall asleep, but on that particular night I was given the gift of understanding, feeling the true meaning of love and compassion toward another soul.

I laid beside you that night and watched you sleep as the moon shone through the skylights, listening as your breathing fell into that relaxed rhythm. I gave myself just a few minutes to lay in the dark, the world still around me, knowing that inevitably the torment and tears would start the longer I laid there. I held them at bay as I watched you sleep. As I looked back and caught brief glimpses of our long life together, you laid there looking vulnerable, a look not seen on you during the day, and so peaceful. And I was so comforted to watch you in that state because peace is such a slippery illusion these days, isn’t it? You rarely talk about it, but I know your days are like mine. Tormented. Sad. Filled with such feelings of longing for Ben as we continue to do what we’ve always done, adding the chore of striving to appreciate the many joys in our lives while coping with the sadness we have been slapped with. We go through the same motions each day, every day as we try to live without our son. And I realized, as I watched you sleep that night, that there is a connection between us that can never be broken, an understanding, an awareness of our mutual, often unspoken feelings. Sadly, we have been pierced by the same sword. And though yours may be of different shapes and different sizes than mine, I know the pieces of our broken hearts lay scattered together, co-mingled, some of them indistinguishable one from the other, as we begin to pick them up, to piece ourselves back together the best we can.

So, as I watched you sleep that night, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of at least momentary comfort knowing that you were at rest, after another long day, having successfully chased the demons away as you managed to fall asleep. Peace for you. The tenderness and protectiveness I felt toward you was indescribable. The feeling of “we’re in this together” so strong as I realized how grateful I was that you were able to sleep, to escape. I got out of bed and went to sit in front of the TV, for noise, for anything to distract me from my reality. I needed to run from the dark, still night and the prickly, desperate feelings that were descending upon me again. I let you sleep peacefully, my love, as I left our bed.

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4 comments

  1. Poetic. I can relate. My wife and I had been together over 30 years when we lost our son Aaron over six years ago. Although the first years were very difficult for us not only as individuals but also our marriage was cracking at the seems. Through all that we developed a stronger bond that I believe can’t be broken. Sometimes we only have each other, and that has been enough.

    So sorry for your loss of your son Ben.

    Sammy

  2. I’m so sorry about your loss of Ben. I’ve added your blog (with your permission) to the website that I’ve been curating in memory of my 23 year old son who was killed almost 25 months ago. http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss . The site is a collection of blogs, articles, videos and other resources for bereaved parents and siblings. I wish we could all wake up from the nightmare that we live and go back to a time when we could just enjoy simple pleasures.

  3. Beautifully written. I see my husband and myself in your post. I lie awake wishing for sleep to hear the snoring of a man who just two seconds ago put his head on the pillow. The distraction of television is a godsend sometimes. Grief can rob us of our sleep and our dreams if we dare to slip into slumber.

    1. Thank you. I am glad you were able to relate. It helps to know I am not the only one on this planet who has a difficult time each night, as I watch my husband fall into sleep so easily. But I am truly glad that he is able to nod off so easily. He’s the lucky one!

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