Being alone is the last thing I ever expected at my age, 35. I have always been afraid of the dark, the night, and being alone. After finding my husband passed away in the evening, in the dark, and seeing him so alone my fears became paralyzing.
I spent the first night awake on the couch under a blanket holding my friend’s hand as tight as I could. When I feel fear I think of holding her hand even now. She provided strength that I could not give to myself. She is what held me up in my darkest moment. In the words of Meredith Grey she is “my person”. Saying thank you will never be enough for what she gave to me.
My family arrived as soon as they could possibly be there. I could not function right until my brother showed up. He is strong and I knew he would help me.
Sleeping became torture. The second night and for many nights after I found myself “sleeping” on the couch with my brother keeping watch. I could not even consider going back to our bed at that time. I sobbed, I wept, I choked on tears all night long. I did not know your heart could ache physically for the a loss such as this. I was fearful of nightmares that might come, of closing my eyes and seeing the images of him passed away, of someone coming to hurt me. It took me not time at all to know I could not continue to live in this house.
When I did finally return back to our bedroom (which was now occupied by one) it was another intense feeling of fear that hit me. I could not move my body if I need to go use the bathroom at night. I could not sleep because I did not know what would happen to me. I watched the exits to the room even though I had my two dogs standing alert.
My dogs sensed I was off. They were off too. They got more and more protective of me as my fear and darkness grew stronger.
This was certainly not living, it was barely surviving. I was exhausted. I was on high alert. I was beyond frightened. I thought something bad would happen to me next, or my family as well. I thought someone would hurt me knowing I am alone. I thought alone time would bring on nightmares of his tragic death.
This fear followed me for months afterwards.
I started to get therapy and EMDR (see the page about Therapy for more information) as soon as I could which I believe was December. (memory loss is a whole other blog post!) I promise you this If I did not get the help I needed then I would not be able to be where I am now. What I mean is, at a point in time the help will go home, the support will subside. You will be forced to face all of this FEAR head on.
I am fortunate in some areas. (I know that sounds odd for me to say after what I have been through) My family did not let me stay alone for several months (and for many weeks I was not even in the state but rather at my mom and dads hiding out). But, around the end of January and in a new home it was time to try. I was a mess. I could not sleep again. There were my loving and protective dogs by my side but I had to lock my bedroom door. I bought cameras and an alarm system. I kept lights on through the night. I had to have an escape plan and a knife by my bedside table. I barely slept. FEARFUL and ALONE
EMDR continued along with counseling and slowly I figured out how to live in a home with no one else, in the dark where anything could come for me. I despise it still but I am able and you are too.
I am ALONE but I am stronger and the fear has subsided to a whisper. One night I laughed with a friend and forgot to turn on the alarm… that is progress.