Dark night

There are times when I wake up at night and wonder why me? I know that isn’t a good question and that there is no answer, but I ask it anyway. All I wanted was to be able to enjoy a few years of retirement doing something I enjoyed instead of toiling away to earn a living at jobs that were mostly unsatisfying and soul-crushing. I was good at my jobs, but grew bored quickly; then the jobs became a chore. I have been working since I was 16 – not always full-time – but I’m weary of working. Bone tired. So why can’t I enjoy a few years of leisure to compensate?

The middle of the night is probably not the best time for philosophical meanderings for me. I only sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time before waking. Very rarely do I sleep for solid chunks of 4 or more hours. Part of this is because the dogs tend to wake me when they want to go out. Since one is getting elderly, she’s 12, and the other has a history of ‘marking’, if they want to go out, I let them out. What’s weird is that if Steve asks them if they want to go out, they just nestle further into the bed covers (yes, they both sleep in bed with us!) but as soon as I ask the same question, they’re running for the doggie door, which is closed off at night.

Lots of things go through my brain in the middle of the night. Things like will it bother me when I lose my hair? How long do I really have of a quality life before the cancer kills me? It isn’t fair that I have to deal with this; I want the opportunity to dance at my grandchildrens’ weddings. I want time to finish writing all the stories in my head; I want time to be able to go to all the places I haven’t been yet – or at least some of them.

I don’t know how much time I have; I may not know for quite some time. Everything hinges on how well the chemo works. And I’m not sure whether or not I want to be on chemo for the next several years.

Then I tell myself that nobody really knows how long they have to be on this earth. So I will try to make the most of whatever time I have left. I will continue to be grateful for every day I open my eyes on this beautiful world we live in; I will continue to be grateful for family and friends; I will continue to be grateful for whatever opportunities I have to have fun. And I will do these things for as long as I am able.

2 thoughts on “Dark night

  1. Middle of the night has always been my worst nemesis. There’s a song I knew years ago, one line used to play over and over in my head “some nights know no morning”…nights were when every dark thought and every fear would come out to play, over and over and over again in my mind. There were many nights that almost swallowed me up whole. Even now that I’ve come so far beyond those darkest thoughts, nighttime can still be the portal for terrible fears to come sneaking through. Nowadays, I simply don’t stay in bed when they visit. I get up and do something else, anything to change my focus. It’s tiring (because I’d rather stay in bed under the covers), but for me, those dark thoughts are toxic and I can’t afford to allow them space in my mind anymore.

    This is a terrifying crisis for you. So many questions to process through, so many fears to haunt you because there’s still so much unknowing. When I first learned I had cancer (but didn’t yet know the severity), I used to sob uncontrollably thinking this would be my last Christmas, or this would be the last time I ever see my family, hundreds of little thoughts like that would haunt me day and night. Everything took on a surreal significance. I didn’t have to go through chemo, so don’t have the experience of having all of those drugs in me to add to the “surreal”ness of it all.

    Is it possible that your medical team could give you something to help you sleep? While I’m sure some of these questions would have to be faced and processed at some time, I’m also pretty sure it probably doesn’t always have to be in the middle of the night when you might be most feeling alone and vulnerable to the terror of it all.

    I hope that these treatments work quickly and help ease these fears…all of us who know you want you around for a long, long time. xoxo

  2. Thank you, Sharon. It isn’t every night, but there are so many unknowns at this point. I did think about taking something to help me sleep, but then I feel dopey in the morning, and I don’t like that. When I wake up, I generally let the dogs out, and go back to bed when they’re back in. I do manage to change my focus before going back to sleep, otherwise, who knows what my dreams would be?! 🙂

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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