A warning, my friends. This is not a happy post. It’s something that needs to get out.
I never think good thoughts, lying awake in the dark. It’s as if the absence of light turns my brain toward the black paths that lie in wait, surging to the forefront when my mind isn’t distracted. During the day I am occupied by goals, and friends, and the details of life. I am filled with the future; hope and love, and the delight of having a happy life.
At night, in the dark, when I can’t sleep, I think about death.
The black paths, they’re sneaky. They start with the less-drastic worries of the day – what I need to get done at work, or what sort of drama is currently underway in our extended family. Then they proceed down the avenue of self-doubt – am I good enough, am I interesting enough, am I pretty enough, am I successful enough, am I doing things right. That path leads itself further, toward bigger worries – are the kids safe, is Calvin happy, will we reach our long-term goals, do we have enough insurance, what if disaster strikes…
The end of the path is always the same. Always. So consistently so that sometimes I just skip the middle steps, the smaller worries, and leap right into the biggest, darkest, scariest worry of all. I know I’m going to end up there anyway, so why worry about work when I can contemplate my impending doom, and that of my loved ones?
I scare myself with the thought of closing my eyes and never waking up again. I fall deep into my own mind, wondering what it would be like to just not be. The sharp flash of fear comes, and I turn it over and over in my head, wondering if it’s the same flash of fear I’ll have when I realize, at the last possible moment, that this is it. The end, all over, so quickly, like a vacation that you’ve anticipated for months finally arriving and passing by in a heartbeat so that, suddenly, it’s behind you and gone. Over.
Worse is the fear of being left behind. I panic so hard at the thought of losing Calvin that sometimes I roll over and bury my head into the back of his neck hard enough that he wakes up and mutters. I breathe in his scent, and I push down the weight that rises up to smother me. I can’t stop the thoughts as they cascade through me – what it would feel like, that day when I’m alone in our bed for the first time, knowing I’ll never hear his voice again, see him smile at me again, feel his arms around me again. That someday that might come, and he’ll never walk through the front door again and holler, “Hey baby!” How would I breathe, then? How would I keep going? What on earth would I do with the inexorable minutes of my existence that tick… and tick… and tick…
I feel fragile today. Last night was a bad night, and all I want to do is find Calvin, wherever he is. Pull him out of work, get home and get naked and get as close to him as possible. Skin to skin, with his breathing in my ear and his heartbeat against my cheek. I want to be awake, in the daylight, and push the dark as far away as I can. I want to spin the moment into something that feels like an eternity, that I can carry with me and pull into my mind to replace the dark thoughts that constantly build and re-build.
Sometimes, despite what we’d like to believe, the dark is so much stronger than anything we use to battle against it.