Tiny glimmers of light peek through my lashes and for a moment my world is blank. Lost between sleep and awake I find peace. A heart beats, lips part and air breathes into my body to start a new day.
For a time, I have forgotten.
I am just a body yet to be filled with the reminder of my reality.
As my eyes open, so do the brain waves who flush the cruel chaos back to me.
He is sick. He is gone. You are alone.
Waking up is the hardest.
I learned this in our first hospital stay. The uncomfortable roll away bed had nothing on the pain that struck my heart as I remembered. Cancer.
These may have been my first feelings of the anxiety that comes from a diagnosis. As the caregiver, no one offers you a Xanax or an aide to sleep. The caregiver needs a caregiver, someone who can bring you Diet Dr. Pepper and take “call” so you can shower.
Sleep was my only escape. An escape you chase and rarely catch. Yet, when you do- waking up is the hardest.
Like any great heartache, you can push down the pain by staying busy, adding distractions, or maybe blare rage music. You can work on yourself or numb with wine and laughter. But there’s nowhere to hide in the wee morning hours as the haze lifts.
It is in those moments where I’d feel so invisible. It’s only the fist that clinched my heart reminding me I was alive, whether I wanted to be or not.
The voice of the caregiver is often not heard. Shaky, scared and ashamed to speak up and to describe their own pain because the suffering of the person you love is so much louder. And you believe it should be- your cries are muffled, your story silent.
You are invisible.
Afraid of death and yet waking up is the hardest.