Grief Sleeps

*This is part of a series of posts I'm plucking away at while moving through the loss of my co-parent.

I should start by noting that him and I hadn't shared a bed in over a decade. My grief does not include half of the bed being suddenly vacant, and I'm thankful to be spared that terrible sudden loss of intimacy.

Nights are different now, though. Sleep still comes, but it's filled with the images and impressions of a brain in chaos. Dreams are vibrant mixtures of memories and anxieties; jumbled snippets of forgotten conversations, or words I wish I'd said, sprinkled into unfamiliar terrains, buildings, skies, and shifting landscapes. We're running, falling, and sitting still, all at once. His presence is always there, but not. His face and voice appear and then dissolve into a fog. I recognize this as something my mortal pea brain isn't built to understand; whispers from a greater fabric that surrounds us, but expands infinitely beyond my limited capacities. Every morning I wake up not quite sure where I am.

Our days are measurable, comprehendible, plannable. But each evening as I approach my bed, I feel untethered. An overwhelming mix of inadequacy, apprehension, curiosity, and exhaustion builds with each step I take towards my pillow. Our reality has dramatically shifted, and my dreams are attempting to process that. But the process is bewildering. I can't control it. I know all I need to do is simply move through it, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier to draw sense and order from this staggering shift.

I don't feel alone, necessarily. And I don't know if having a partner would ease this process, aside from functioning as a distraction from it. It just feels overwhelmingly still and strange. I wonder if others who were close to him are experiencing the same. Is this just how grief works?

I can sleep, though. And I'm grateful for that.

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