It's right around midnight, and I'm not sleeping. I haven't had a truly good night's sleep since the night of November 9, 2011. November 10 was the turning point. It marked first night I went to bed alone. That night, I stopped looking at the clock at some point past 4am, and I haven't fared a whole lot better on all but maybe 3 of the nights since then. Even now, eight months into this separation, there's somebody missing. I still feel noticeably, strangely, uncomfortably alone.
Well, alone-plus-baby. Gabriel wasn't quite born yet when Brian moved to a different room, so I wasn't technically alone, and after Gabriel was born, I began sleeping with him in his nursery. I think I've had two nights that I didn't share a bed with him.
I never expected to be a bed-sharing kind of parent, but Gabriel's earliest days were hard for me. He was (and remains) perfect, but the environment he was born into was (and remains) decidedly imperfect. I was exhausted, I was alone, and I was not physically capable of getting up every two hours to haul my baby out of the crib, so I just kept him in my bed.
Not only was I dealing with the fears, insecurities, and worries that every brand-new mom feels, but I was doing it more or less isolated, in pain, and living on the opposite side of my house from a here-but-gone husband who wouldn't be in the picture much longer - a truth I knew but refused to acknowledge. I was staring down the barrel of single motherhood while simultaneously learning to nurse my son, trying to heal from giving birth, keeping up pretenses around the church and the 8 relatives who had come to Denver, and
I barely noticed Christmas last year. It's always been a huge deal for my family, and I like to revel in the holidays, but 2011 is not one I would like to remember (and I basically don't, thanks to a magical combination of mind-numbing exhaustion, my brain's habit of not storing painful memories as a coping mechanism, and "bigger things going on" crowding out any real experiences to begin with). It was a three-pronged anxious misery for me: newborn baby and recent childbirth pain/insecurity/worry angst, recent separation and impending divorce and single motherhood fear/anger/grief/shame angst, and a righteously indignant "it's my baby's first Christmas and it's not supposed to be like this" type of angst, which I guess is a secondary angst generated by the first two.
Those were hard days, but I had my sweet baby and the determination to keep hoping my marriage would be restored. Every day I prayed that something would change, but most nights I would spend the hours between midnight and sunrise grappling with the fear, and increasing certainty, that my life as I'd known it was over. It was as if my hope had been fueled by daylight. I could keep hoping when the facts weren't staring me in the face, but going to bed in my son's room instead of the room I'd shared with my husband was devastating and unavoidable.
Now I'm living 1700 miles away, putting together that new life I spent so many hours praying against. I still dread night time. It's no longer jarring. The ache is duller. But it's still there. And I still can't sleep.