Mourning my Mornings

I’ve started to wonder why people fear the night and find comfort during the day. For the past weeks the dawn of a new day holds more terrors for me than the quiet solitude of twilight.  It had not always been so. I used to find dusk so forlorn and desolate, the slow goodbye of the sun sinking into the pallid blanket of the evening. Nowadays i find twilight restful and peaceful, the demise of the sun bringing with it the soothing comfort of anonymity, of escape. The darkness is welcome. Shadows hide a face swollen with tears shed in the stark blinding brightness of daylight and camouflage a heart wracked with guilt and doubt.

I used to love mornings. I loved waking up early to spend a few minutes staring at my sleeping husband’s face then getting up silently to prepare a breakfast that I would insist he share with me despite his protests that breakfast had never been a part of his morning rituals. I loved the smell of coffee brewing. It was a daily reminder that I had to wean Beau from his belief that 3-in-1 sachets can actually be considered a suitable replacement. I would take great care in setting our tiny table for two, obsessively insisting that we eat “proper”. There was love in a pretty looking meal, in beautifully made plates that brought out the sunny colors of food meant to jumpstart your day. I loved when he would wake up and just watch me while I puttered about, smiling a lazy smile as he wondered what all the fuss was for when he could just as easily enjoy a breakfast straight out of a cereal box.  There was comfort and reassurance in starting the day together, basking in the comfort of each others presence, sharing each others plans and knowing that the day ahead would end peacefully in each others arms come nightfall.

Our days had settled into a routine, but they were never simply habitual or mechanical. Beau had defined my mornings. He smelled of sunshine, of trees, of wind and song. Even in sleepy grumpiness he always managed to make me smile, for he was mine to keep, mine to care for, mine to spoil, to serve, to love. It was the rest of the day that to me was routine and uninteresting. Events animate and gain color only when I was back with him in the evening. It is at home, tired from the workday and from climbing,  armed with stories to tell, tales of the successes and failures of the day, that everything comes to life. He was genuinely interested in me, happy for me, angry for me, sad with me. And when he would share his day I would find calm in his joy and simplicity, in his ability to be happy with the most mundane of things.  Back then it was sleep that I wanted to delay, to do away with if only it were possible. Because when I slip into slumber, no matter that I do so cocooned in his arms, I lose consciousness of the blessing of Beau that I had in my life. Before I slept I would already look forward to the morning, when I would rise and watch him sleeping, his chest rising and falling with the cadence of peace. A peace that shattered. So suddenly. So abruptly. So incomprehensibly.

Now, mornings terrify me. I am so mortified by the coming of day that I weep in my sleep during the night, my tears saline witnesses of nightmares that I cannot remember no matter how hard I try. When I speak of panic, I mean panic. My heartbeat races like I’ve run a marathon instead of having come from a rest meant to prepare me for the day ahead. I cannot breathe and I am attacked with severe anxiety from the fluidity of the hours that lie in front of me. I feel pressured at any thought of things I have to do and I feel pressured at the thought of not knowing what to do. It is like waking up having to make a daily decision that is neither wrong nor right, left or right, here nor there. It is waking up afraid because there is nowhere to be, nowhere to go yet nowhere to stay. It feels like standing on a razor’s edge, afraid to fall yet desperately praying that someone, something would tip me over one side or the other, to tell me where I should be, where I belong, where I am organic. My chest fills full to bursting knowing that even those who love me would not really care as much where I end up. At least never as much as a husband who is half of me in spirit.  To ask me to make my own decisions on what to do and where I should be feels almost cruel. It is mocking torture. Because in my heart I knew I was meant to be making a breakfast for my life’s champion.

Even the memories of our nighttime conversations are now poisoned. When once they gave color to my otherwise mechanical day, they are now memories of signs I missed, of things I regret not having understood.  Instead of the joy and simplicity that I had seen in his smiles I now remember the days when he would come home frustrated and angry about things that were just as “simple”. I now remember his inability to see solutions and possibilities, how each problem sounded so insurmountable. They were moments, that were fleeting and seemingly insignificant. They were challenges that were Lilliputian to anyone not haunted by the ghosts that I now know plagued him. And he was a master at hiding. I realize now I was only privileged to have been let into his private world, the darkest parts of which he kept only to himself.  I wonder daily if it was something I should have caught, something that shouldn’t have escaped my notice, if it were somehow a lack of attention on my part that had disabled me from saving him from self destruction. But was it a crime for me to have seen the smiles instead of the frustrations? Was it a mistake to have seen what was whole in his simplicity instead of its brokenness when it was Beau himself who taught me to be grateful for all things given?

I mourn for my Beau. I mourn for my Beau-tiful mornings. I am angry that I am accused of choosing to dwell on my misery. I am frustrated at being asked to simply make a decision to get better.  What I would give to not have to wake up afraid to live another day. What I would give to wake up refreshed from a full night of undisturbed sleep. What I would give to find joy in delicate tableware, in matching placemats, in coffee brewed to aromatic perfection. My mornings are no longer those I have come to know. I wake up in a place cluttered with boxes of my married life just waiting to be put aside. I reach out desperately, repeatedly, for help in the mornings and know that sometimes there is no help to be found. Then I take it one minute at a time until I am embraced by the velvet ebony of night.

7 thoughts on “Mourning my Mornings

  1. Beautiful writing as usual. Remember I told you that there is no shortcut to grief? Let yourself feel what you need to feel, but remember this: It will get better! One day you will wake up and find that Beau isn’t the first thing that comes to your mind. You must be patient with yourself. You also did nothing wrong and you will eventually come to that conclusion.

    • Thank you! Please keep reading. I find I look forward to your messages. Am now on very strong anti-depressants and ant-anxiety medication but my morning panic attacks have not gotten any better. Maybe there is something wrong with the cocktail mix…

  2. I’m rather a private person and I feel I walk a thin line between letting you know that I’m here for you and not wanting to intrude on your privacy.

    Different anti-deressants can take 4-8 weeks to actually start kicking in. I would think that the anti-anxiety medication is helping somewhat, but maybe the ones you’re taking also take a while to get into your system.

    It can take several different combinations before you and your doctors find what works best for you. I know that I was lucky in that I had good enough doctors that didn’t give up on me and just kept trying and trying and finally finding what worked. I felt so guilty going back each time and saying, “I’m not better”.

    Patience is key. See what they can do about the pannic attacks though. I would think there’s something more they can do for you that would work on more of an immediate basis.

    The good doctors know that a day to someone like us going through what we’ve gone through know that a day can seem like a year.

    Every day is going to make you stronger, even though I know at this time it doesn’t seem possible.

  3. Good Morning, Mabuhay, and congratulations, ms. anna on finishing the grueling cobra-ironman triathlon which was recently held in cebu and your zealous persistence in cherishing the memory of your beloved husband.

    I’m not supposed to post my point of view on your account, due to my reluctance to intrude into your privacy, and my fear that trolls straying into your account might unleash a barrage of unsavory comments on my first and my future posts, but your blogs on depression & suicide has struck a chord on my consciousness because i’ve been through them for a long time…totally alone and grievously bore them in silence, for the unsettling reason that those close to me, are not open minded or receptive enough to go through lengthy discussions on depression and suicide.

    Yet it is still a herculean struggle for me to go through life because many people in this country still harbor a stigmatic point of view on DEPRESSION & SUICIDE, and there were still issues on trust and confidence on certain advocacy groups…

    Looks like I don’t know where i’m going or heading to…

    • Thank you Neil for you candor and your courage. it really does take a lot to come out in the open about depression. People will react in different ways, sometime in ways that are not helpful. However, I think this is due to ignorance. The more people have the courage to step up and speak about it the better the chance that the stigma will be erased. Please feel free to get in touch with me. You may search for me on Facebook and we can have a private chat if you’d like. While there are people who do not understand you have to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Nobody can understand what is inside you but we can do our best to listen. Hoping to hear from you. 🙂

      • Good evening, Anna, and thank you very for being very kind and appreciative in reading my very first post on your nice WP Blog account…

        Though i’m very wary of going elsewhere on the internet due to cyber-bullying risks, and having been betrayed countless times in the past, i do chose to throw caution to the wind in the fondest hope of finding someone i can really trust to divulge the darkest parts of my life, and a person who will drove and shove me very hard to move forward and help me to kick depression and suicide in the butt.

        Don’t worry, Anna, i’ll find you sooner in Facebook. I do have an account there…as well as in google+.

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