Grief support: When you're grieving, sleeping can be difficult. What do you do to make the nights easier?

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I still have to sleep with the lights on. My boyfriend died at 1:25 in the morning, suddenly, and it is extremely difficult for me to sleep. I don't sleep long but it is always with the lights on
Hi Melissa,

This is why I would sleep with the lights on. (Sometimes)It was because I was afraid. I missed my dad and brother who died just a year and half apart. I was afraid to go to sleep I felt very anxious at night and all I could do was to see them in the casket and it would haunt me. It had been reoccurring and I could see them in the round in the casket and I would feel so alone and afraid. Most nights I would just get up and sit and stare into space. It is a hard feeling to get out of your mind. I believe we replay the time of death or events over and over. I understand how you feel. Kelly
Kelly, yeah it is extremely hard for me in the dark. What I left out of my post is that not only did Bill die suddenly, he died on my bed, in my arms from a Pulmonary embolism (blood clot to the lungs). When the paramedics got there I went to call a friend of ours. As I walked back into my room I watched him throw up on my bed (which happens sometimes when you do CPR on someone). Once they got him off the bed, they worked him on the floor, next to the wall, at the foot of my bed. Sleep is very hard for me. I don't sleep in my bed unless it's daylight out (thank God I work til 2 in the morning)...I do sleep on my sofa alot, with the lights on. Even then, it's for 2 hour spurts at a time.

Thanks for your response. I do appreciate it. I agree, we do replay things in our heads. For me it's day and night...
Melissa,

When my dad died he was there with my mom. She went through the same thing you did. She tried to do CPR and he threw up also. It is a horrible thing to replay in your mind. When I would go over to see my Mom after it happened. I tried to sleep with her in their bed and it made me feel sick to lay there. I would have to go somewhere else. It hurts so bad to think of them dying where you sleep. It is sad and it continues to hurt. I am so sorry for the loss of your boyfriend. I do understand your pain. I ended up taking nyquil to finally go to sleep. I always feel spacey the next morning. I still do not sleep well either and it has been 2 1/2 years for my brother's passing and October 8 2007 since my dad.
Kelly,

I am sorry for your losses. I was sick last week and tried taking Nyquil and cried. Bill wasn't feeling well during the day, and thinking he was getting the flu (because he was achy with a fever) I gave him Nyquil about 30 minutes before he died. So, when I went to take the Nyquil, I cried because that's what stained my carpet when he threw up. I have taken Xanax and muscle relaxers to help me sleep and it still doesn't help. I can't sleep on my side of the bed because it's the 'death side.' I sleep on my side on his side of the bed because that is one spot where he wasn't the night he died. I don't replay him aspirating. I replay the last 20 minutes of his life. I hear him begging me for help, him telling me he was dying, and my last words ever said to him while he was conscious. I still see him up against the wall when I came back in the room and found him in respiratory arrest. I hear that awful sound he made as I was breathing for him. It haunts me how blue he was when I rolled him over. God, it sucks. But, I do thank you for your condolences. I pray for you also...
I can totally relate to how you feel Kelly. There are nights that I just sit on the couch and stare at the wall just thinking and picturing my father in the casket. I think If he were to appear I wouldnt get scared to see him. I'm only 22 years old and it's so hard for me to continue/ I have my mother who I love with all my heart and do anything for her. but there is the father daughter bonding that I use to have with my father. To have it and all of a sudden its gone forever.
I took over my dads place in the bed, so I sleep with my mom. I havent slept in my own bed since the day he died. It's so difficult for us to be alone, we can't sleep. I usually stay up late night, sometimes until 5- 6 am because I cant sleep. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep. We leave the television on because we can't sleep in the dark. We never leave our windowns open like we used to at night, and now we have an alarm to the house because we are afraid.
melissa, I have been a nurse for 17 years and I clearly remember a patient dying from a pulmonary embolism and I am so sorry you had to see your loved one die like that. It is a horrible picture to keep in your mind. The memory that keeps me up at night is when my mother actually died. I had been carrying for her at home for 3 months with cancer and several things had happen with my brothers that I won't bore you with right now, but Sunday 12/14/08 my mom was doing really bad, you could her the fluid gathering in her lungs. She hadn't been able to take her medications for a few days and I could only give her the morphine liquid and ativan cream to help her with her pain. My husband and I had just sit down to eat some soup, I couldn't remember when I ate last because I hadn't slept all night, I sat in her room and watched over her to make sure she was comfortable. Anyways, She became more alert and seemed to be having a much harder time breathing, so I told my husband, she's too awake for this, so I get up and go in and my mother's eyes are wide open and she's really working to breath and sounds horrible, so I suction some of the phlegm out of the back of her mouth and give her some Morphine. This is the most alert she had been. I checked her oxygen level and it was 55% (normal is 95-100%) At that moment I made the most difficult decision in my life and I turned of her Oxygen and rubbed her stubby head, hair was starting to come after chemo and I told her "mom I love you but it is time for you to go. You have suffered long enough and me and Hanna(my 3 yo daughter, my mom only grandchild) will be fine. She looks at me for a moment then looks above me for a moment and then looked at me until she took her last breath. I know this was the right thing to do, but it is so vivid and the pain of the moment haunts me. I chose to keep her at my home and that is where my mom wanted to die so I carried out her wishes and kept her as comfortable as to my ability. So I guess there are a few of us out here that are night owls whether we chose to be or not. My thoughts are with you all.
My son Died a week 1/2 before Christmas on 12/12/08 and it has been hard on the first night after the accident sleep was difficult and I kept hearing someone say mom in a whisper over and over again. My son was hit by a truck walking home from his friends house. When the police arrived at my door and the look on their faces and I already heard them coming up the drive way it was like 6am in the morning. that was the hardest thing to hear in my life and that night I kept hearing that MOM, MOM, I know it was him whispering to me..I slept with the lights on for nights to follow and still. I have not had a dream of my son and I wait to see him in my dreams so I dont take anything to help me sleep I wait until i am so tried I cant stay awake any longer then I go to sleep..my mother worries and I have every pill you can image that is to help you get thru this time but they dont...it so hard to sleep and nothing makes it easy only making yourself so tired you have to sleep for me anyways.
Melissa,

My husband passed away on January 29, 2009 with cancer. He lived 33 days after we found out that he had it. I still have not unpacked his suit case from the hospital nor have I slept in our bed. I have been sleeping with my daughter in her room. I have heard that I will have a dream and my husband will come to me. This hasn't happened yet. Nor can I feel his presence to comfort me. I think I am just is so my grief that I can't feel it. I am trying and I know that he would want me to. But all these flood of emotions I am having a hard to handle. I am looking for a support group to attend to see if this will help. But I know that there will not be a day that I don't miss him, we had the perfect marriage. Nothing makes sense to me these day. Hang on to your memories, as I do. Thank God my husband wrote me love letters, I read them often and find a some comfort. I have started trying not to nap during the day and have found that I do sleep a little longer in the evenings. I leave several lights on and will for a long time. That is ok. I have been writing to my husband in my journal. I feel your pain.
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Hi Charlotte, I am sure you are still in a lot of pain right now. My husband passed away almost 9 years ago, and I still miss him. I don't think you ever get over losing a loved one, but life does become bearable again. It is wonderful that your husband wrote you love letters that you can read and find comfort in them. It is going to be rough for quite awhile, but I feel from reading your message, you are a strong woman, and you are going to be alright, just like your husband would want you to be. Sometimes when we want so badly for them to make their presence known to us, we tend to look for big things to happen, and in my case it was smaller things that gave me comfort and I felt it was coming from my husband. I had purchased a wind chime shortly before he died, and no matter where we put it, it just didn't want to chime. He always laughed and said it would take a hurricane to make that chime work. It still doesn't work great, but ever once in a while, I will hear it with just the softest of breeze. Kind of strange, but I get so much comfort from that sound. You are in my prayers! Glorianna

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