Day Nineteen: My Sleepless Summer

Sunset at South Beach, 2008.

Sleep doesn't come easy these days.
I usually have a tough time getting enough sleep during the summer months, but this year has been really bad. My typical foils--the brutal heat outside, the annoying sound of the air conditioners in our house, the lack of a window shade on the skylight right above my bed, Dave's penchant for sleepwalking just as I am about to fall asleep, the kids' bad dreams, and my overactive imagination--are nothing compared to what keeps me awake now and the methods I employ to distract my mind.

It's pretty obvious, the "thing" that keeps me up at night. Grief is my constant companion. But what's worse are the ways I try to keep these sad feelings at bay and whittle away the time until I can finally fall asleep:
Television (boring).
Shop online (guilty pleasure).
Read celebrity rags (vicarious pleasure).
Write about the way I feel and then deleting it (too angry).
More television (Jimmy F or Jimmy K?).
Check out (Tom or Ewan?).
Check out (Ewan or Tom?).
Look in on the kids because I heard a noise (darn kids and their noises).
Drink another beer (first one got warm).
Go to the bathroom (too many beers).
Even more television (repeat of Oprah).
Wake up in a cold sweat, realize that I passed out, head upstairs to my bedroom, and squeeze myself under the covers lest I wake up Dave (oh, sweet relief!).
Pass out again, only to have him wake me up with a sudden outburst, like, "Spiders! Everywhere!" or "Did you see where that bat flew?" or "Why did you wake me up?!"
Stay awake because my overactive imagination starts to conjure up spiders and bats and ways to punish Dave (argh).
Then finally fall asleep.

The sun rises early in the summertime. The brightness of the sky is more than visible through the skylight above our bed. It is felt. It heats up my skin and forces consciousness. A 6:00 AM wake-up call and I can't go back to sleep. Wake up, Dr. Greene.

It's like that first episode of "ER", when Anthony Edwards' character Dr. Mark Greene finally gets to put his head down, only to be jolted awake by someone knocking at the door and urgently calling his name. To him and the viewers watching, only seconds passed. But several hours have passed. He would return to his job--his life--unrested and disheveled.

I used to call my Dad when I woke up, because I knew he was awake. He has sleepless nights, too. But he started to sound annoyed on the phone, like I was disturbing his morning routine. So I stopped. And now I just lay in bed awake, pillow over my head, and sweat until I can't take it anymore.