Monday, November 30, 2009

Body Language, Lost in Translation

Trying to find tonight's inspiration. I think it is the lack of sleep, for several days now, that has hindered my creativity, any clear thought process. Last night I had every intent on getting caught up on my sleep. I got into bed by 11:30pm, turned out the light, then remembered one thing that I wanted to take care of on this computer. That was all it took, like an addict who takes that one sip, my thoughts were racing a mile a minute, and before I knew it, I was up until 1:30am.

Of course the real reason that I constantly find myself wide awake throughout the night, is there is a longing that will not be satisfied. Last night was not a significantly emotional night, yet present was my deep longing to have Michael resting there beside me. My mind tells my body he is gone, that I must learn to find comfort in this bed without him. My mind tells my body to envision him there beside me. It gives me ideas such as laying his pillows all around me, put on one of his t-shirts, spray a bit of his cologne, stare up at his picture, etc.

Sometimes my body is able to take temporary satisfaction, or make due, with one or two of these attempts at comfort. Other times, like that past few days, my body is not buying it. My body is still waiting for Michael to return. Maybe he is off traveling, but will soon return. My arms and legs have changed over the years. They have learned to shift and bend to make room for his. My torso took on the outer shape of a spoon, which fit perfectly around Michael's back. My skin became the most vocal part of my body, as it would communicate throughout the night with that of his. Always alert to temperature changes, muscle spasms, slight tremors, or calm movement. My face was often at ease as Michael's warm breath gently travelled across it and down to the nape of my neck, where it spoke of love, passion and comfort. My right arm was always charged with the care of cradling Michael's head. My left arm was responsible for creating a drape that reached around him often settling on his chest, or held by Michael's free hand.

My body is a creature of habit. It is completely non-verbal. The messages that my mind keep sending, "he is gone," appear to be getting lost in the translation. They end up circling around the room, finding no place to rest. Throughout this process my heart weighs heavy, I breathe a deep sigh, at times tears begin forming, at other times they are pushed back. I look up at Michael's picture which brightens the room from it's electronic frame. I get out of bed, light a candle, caress the urn which holds his remains, look out the window at the garden, then return my gaze to our bed. I slip back under the covers, tell Michael how much I love and miss him. I say goodnight to his picture, I ask God to help me get through the night, or to wake me up from this two month unpleasant dream.

I take a big deep breath in, hold it, then slowly release it. I turn out the light, my body once again tries to find it's place. It is lost once again. It shifts, it turns. I breathe deep into my pillow, run my fingers across the sheets, allow my hand to trace what I remember as the outline of Michael's body. I know his dimensions well. I adjust his pillows to best fit his proportions, close my eyes, and attempt sleep once again.


  1. oh Dan, what can I say? You have described perfectly how it is - and I never clicked before, but you are so so right. Sweet Jesus you are right. And it's that "lost in translation" thing that brings us dangerously close to the borderline of insanity and sanity, I think.

    I hope that you get a good night's sleep tonight - it makes it even harder (this battle) with less sleep.

    Thank you so much for your lovely words (that you left on my blog) - they soothed me xxx

  2. it is almost 10 months for me. i still sleep on my side of the bed. i think i always will. he was larger than life when he was there and now, well, now i need the memory of him being there, the expectation that he will come to bed soon, to help me face the darkness.

    you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Dan,
    You've so eloquently written about what so many of us do. I thought I was the only person to put his pillows in bed so I could hold them like I held him. But I've since learned that many people do it. I'm normal - surprise, surprise.

    You've written about just one more part of our day to day realities without our loves. Your post is so heartbreakingly beautiful.

    Wishing you and your kids some peace today, and try to get to bed a little earlier! I remember going to bed late for months, because I had to be really tired to even want to lay in bed, never mind try to sleep. That has gotten better, and there's nothing like a case of H1N1 to make a person tired enough to go to bed by 9 or 10. I don't recommend it as a solution though :)