Tonight I managed 4 hours of sleep. It was good uninterrupted sleep but I find myself awake at 4am
Much of the problem relates to 20 years as night nursing supervisor but I never hsd trouble sleeping on my nights off before Al died
Now I find I can't fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
I feel safer if I sleep from 5am to noon

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I had trouble sleeping after Chris died in April.  It seemed to go on for months -- I couldn't fall asleep before 1 or 2 a.m and  would be up 2 or 3 times a night. I think I was probably only getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night.  My doctor gave me something to help me sleep but I so dislike taking medicine that I only took it once or twice.  

It's a bit better now -- (but I realize I am sitting here typing this at 2 a.m).  I no longer find myself up at 4 a.m.  I generally can sleep from 12:00 until 7:30.

I have never been one for sleeping during the day, in the past, but now I find I can nap 2 or 3 times a week without it interfering with my night sleep.  I do feel worn out with grief -- tired and have to make a real effort to push myself to do chores.  I am just taking it easy on myself -- doing what must be done -- but letting my daughter help with the outdoor work and not taking on any projects.

It's been about two months since my wife Cathy passed away, and I still have trouble sleeping. Part of my problem I think is I sleep on the couch. I haven't slept in our bed since that night. I just can't bring myself to. I'll wake up 3 or 4 times a night. I don't think I've gotten more than 4 hours sleep at one time. My doctor wants me to take sleeping pills, and doesn't under stand why I won't sleep in the bed. I told her no pills and I would sleep in the bed when I'm ready. Right now just try and sleep when you feel the most comfortable.
The psych nurse in me and the amount of sleep hygiene I've taught over my long career says the doc's right re the bed but I totally understand the couch.
Try a feather bed topper or a 2inch foam on the couch and make sure you've got your pillow and you should sleepmore comfortably.
A nice recliner done the same way is good too.

Sleeping pills....
Probably not unless one of the very short half-life ones like Lunesta that you could use to return to sleep with the early morning awakening.
Try the physical comfort measures first

Mark -- Our bedroom is a room in our house that I have always loved.  It is a place of love and comfort for me.  Though it is the room where Chris said his final good-bye to me, it is also the place of our happiest memories.  It is where we shared our hopes and dreams in late-night talks before sleeping -- it is where we went to rest and recover from the day's work -- it is where we expressed our love for each other.

During the last month of Chris' life our bedroom became the sick room, but I don't think of that very often.  I think, instead, of the mornings when we woke up together -- our bedroom windows face east and we both loved waking up to the morning sun.  I remember that this was the room where we went to share secrets when family was around and I remember holding hands just before we fell asleep.  

This is the room where I feel closest to Chris -- where he comes to comfort me, even now.  His slippers are still under the edge of his side of the bed, his robe still hangs just inside the closet, his nightstand still holds his Bible and our photograph..  And, I still feel him near me, loving me, as always.

I hope, someday you will find this comfort for yourself, too, but we all grieve in our own way and sooner or later, we all find the places and the memories that help us get through.

I wish you peace and sweet dreams.


Patricia and Barbara - Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm just not there yet. When Cathy was in the hospital I would spend nights with her there. The night she passed away she in ICU, we were told when she went in I couldn't spend the night. Nether of us liked the idea, but I went home. I called to check on her before I went to bed and she was fine, that was about 10:30 p.m. I got the phone call at 11:30 p.m. to get to the hospital as fast as I could. Of course by the time I went though security and got to her room it was to late. I went numb, one thing I do remember about that night is the nurse asked why I went home. I told her we were told that couldn't spend the night. She said who ever told us that was wrong, at that time Cathy could have gone either way and I could have stayed as long as I wanted. Of course that just floored me. I now felt I had let Cathy down, I was at home asleep in our bed and  I wasn't there with her and she passed away alone. I know I didn't let her down, but that's how I felt at that time and it's stayed with me. I sure one day I'll be able to sleep in the bed again. First I have to for give myself. Wow,this was really hard to write about. It's the first time I've wrote or talked about that night since it happened. It was probably good for me to get this out. 

Thank you again. Your all in my prayers.


I so totally understand. My main point was that you might it easier to sleep longer periods of time if you increase tue comfort of your couch for now until you're ready for your bed and room.
Al's death was so very sudden while out on a walk with the grandchildren and my move to where I am now just aa suddenly. New bed and all as our wonderfully comfortable King wouldn't fit.
I thought I'd sleep once the move was done but I keep expecting him to be in the other room and to be joining me shortly.
I'm so very sorry your last night went so horribly wrong. Sleep must hold some incredible pain and betrayal for you .
My thoughts are with you

Mark -- God bless you, dear, for sharing that difficult memory -- I think we all, probably, have something for which we believe we need to be forgiven.  No matter whether our loved one's death was sudden or prolonged, there are always those things we wish we had done, or done differently.  Part of our grief is in knowing that we can't go back and do it over -- it is finished.  

When we have so many loving memories to cherish, why is it the memory of those difficult times that continue to cause us such pain?   Maybe we want to believe we could have changed the outcome, if only we had done something different?  Not likely.  That kind of high drama rarely occurs in real life -- but, perhaps we need to believe it could have happened to us -- if only.  

Try to honor Cathy's life by remembering the good things you shared -- that's what I have vowed to do.  I won't linger on the memories of Chris being sick -- because that was not who he was -- that was just something that happened to him -- to us.  But that was NOT what we were about.

You have bravely faced and shared that last event -- don't let it define you or your love and devotion to Cathy -- you and she were much more than that to each other.  Forgive yourself and know that your heart never left her side.

Hugs!  Prayers for peace and comfort.


Barbara: your comments were spot on. For me, I haven't allowed myself to forgive myself for decisions actions that would not have changed the outcome. You are right there is no going back. No redo.

Patricia -- Off the topic of sleep -- When Chris died there was some discussion about having me move back to the city where 2 of my daughters live. It had been a topic even before Chris got sick and we were thinking of moving back to the city together.  Weighing the pros and cons and talking with family about it.  

After Chris died it was thought that perhaps it would be easier for me -- a smaller home or apartment, less to take care of, less upkeep and expense, closer to the youngest of my grandchildren (who are my joy and delight) -- but, eventually it became very important to me to stay here in my home where Chris and I have lived for the last 13 years -- a home Chris built for us.

Your experience tells me that, for me, I made the right decision -- at least, for now.  Thanks for sharing.  I hope your new home holds the promise of better days for you.


Barabara: I believe you did. We did do one thing though that helped. Amanda realized I absolutely couldn't handle sorting decisons so most of our things were just packed and moved. (except furniture other than antiques)
Unpacking is very slow because of memories and tears. I also have a sense of disloyality as I make this new little apartment into a home. A four room apartment from a 7 bedroom 250 year old farm house.
Progress is very slow. We had walls floor to ceiling fiiled with books. So very hard
It has been very hard to cope with my adherence to his DNR advance directives. Once I arrived on the scene I instructed all efforts cease. Although it was obvious from the info given by our grandchildren that he was dead before his collapse/fall, I still felt like I gave the order that he must die.
This was similar to my mom's death from ALS. It was time. I was caring for her in her home and she requested tube feedings be stopped so I did. My brother, sister, and I all signed and witnessed these decissions when she was initially diagnosised. It still felt like my actions killed her.
As a certified BLS and ACLS and EMT instructor my focus is to preserve and save. Their advance directives were correct and right but oh so hard to follow.
No other action I could have taken would have changed the outcome and could have prolonged excessive suffering. No one but me blames me. I still have nightmares about both death scenes.
In some ways, like you I am alone. Siblings at a great distance although supportive. Children married and with settled lives. At night it is just me and cat. Even she was more attached to Al and misses him.
I am blessed with much loving support but so lost after 45 years of
marriage and companionship

It will soon be a month since my husband, John, died. The first few days after John died.. Nearly the first week, I'd lay down to sleep and I'd be gone. Me, the person who use to be up half the night watching TV, playing games on my Kindle, reading a book on my Kindle and rubbing my husbands back whenever he'd stir so that he would fall right back to sleep... Suddenly after John's death.. when I was certain I'd never be able to fall asleep again, I'm out like a light as soon as I get still in bed.  It didn't last.  I realize now, I was exhausted. I'd just spent a week and a half in the hospital, at my husbands side, doing everything I could think of to help him rest, to help him with whatever he needed. Barely sleeping because he was in such distress, battling for every breath...  Anyway,... it didn't last,  but some nights I still slept soundly for a while it seemed like every third night I stayed awake all night unable to sleep..  right up to the day we/I had set for friends and family to gather in our home and celebrate his life.  Until that day I worked on some project in our home.. some cleaning project until I exhausted myself or I looked after the 1001 things that had to be done, regarding notifying the places I knew to notify, going to probate court, going to the banks and changing everything over to my name, contacting two companies he had pensions with etc..  I kept busy, worked hard and slept sound WHEN I slept.  BUT now, now that John's ashes are here with me, now that the 'celebration day' has come and gone, now I can't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.. or until after dawn begins to break... then I sleep til 10 or 11 and I'm wide awake.  The night before last I didn't sleep at all. Last night I didn't get to sleep until about 3 am. I still have things I need to do.  I have to decide on a medicare supplemental insurance...  we had already decided the one offer to us by the place we use to work for was charging too much and we were going to have to find something else...  but I can't concentrate, I read articles on how to chose the right medigap/whatever for me and the words are meaningless.. the letters look like hieroglyphics after a while.  Today I finally just gave up and left the house, went outside and took a ride in my chair through the neighborhood.. It was such a pretty fall day the kind John and I loved so much... Fall was our favorite season of the year.  FINALLY after day after day of dreary cold weather.. today was in the 70s, the sky was beautiful.  I rode my chair to the grocery store and bought a few things.. came home put them away..  made myself eat a bite, and since then I've been right here in front of the computer typing, reading post, looking at old photos, crying.. doing a lot of crying, remembering and missing him.  And here it is almost 3am again, sigh...  I'm feeling like I might be able to sleep nowt..

 Sorry for rambling so long..  but you see I live alone now... and I guess i just needed to tell someone else how I lost the most wonderful husband ever,  how I miss him more than words can ever express, how sometimes I feel like I can't breathe because I miss him so much.  I don't know how to live without him...   I know I must, but i don't know how.  And sometimes.. God forgive me for even thinking this, but sometimes I don't want to... Now days I can say "come Lord Jesus come" something I always enjoyed living far too much to think much less say.. now i say it, think it and mean it with my whole heart.  

We had no children but he had two, one a son is still alive but he lives hundreds of miles away. My sister, lives in another state,,, its just me now.   I'm blessed with caring friends, and family, they call, send cards, write, email... 

Even so for 16 years it been pretty much just me and John, especially after he retired  zbout 10 or 11 years ago..  He was my world..  And for him everything was about taking care of me, what was best for me.  I know I'm blessed.  Some people go their entire lives and never know what it is to be loved like John loved me..  to be cherished...  

but i feel so lost......How am I suppose to go on without him?



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