The Reluctant Night Owl: A Special Needs Poem

I Can’t sleep

I desperately want to be able to sleep

I am not a night owl

I can’t get comfy

If I lie on my right side, I get a kink like a charlie horse in my right  hip

If I lie on my left side, my left shoulder hurts

If I lie on my back, my knees hurt and I get muscle spasms in both thighs

If I lie on my tummy, my sinuses clog up and I can’t breathe

I begin to feel that all to familiar creeping feeling in my legs

Restless leg syndrome

I get out of bed to try and walk it off

There is no way that I can lie down comfortably

So I toss and I turn and I walk around

While I am tossing and turning and walking around my mind wanders

I think about how much longer it is taking to get our house ready to sell than I thought it would

I worry that the good and affordable new homes will all be sold by the time we are ready to sell

I think about how much money it will cost to heat this house for the another winter

I think about all the things I don’t do for my kids and grandson

I think about all the disasters and catastrophes that could happen

I can’t stop thinking

I think about how there are no workers available to help with Bethany

My thinking turns into worry

I worry about what will happen to Bethany after I die

I morbidly imagine that scenario in my mind’s eye

I imagine myself being dead and Bethany hitting and shaking my cold and lifeless body trying to wake me up

After my body is gone

I imagine her constantly asking everyone when I will be coming home

I stop my funereal  fretting for a minute and turn to look at Bethany sleeping beside me

Yes, I still sleep with my sixteen year old special needs daughter because I am afraid that she might have a seizure in her sleep and die

I notice that she is not snoring

I listen and check to see of she is still breathing

She is, thank God

I resume my morose and unproductive imaginings again

This time I imagine Bethany dying

That thought is more than I can bear

I start to cry

I can’t sleep

*I originally wrote this poem 4 years ago!

I’m very happy to say that having both of my hips replaced has taken away most of the pain in my legs, thighs and knees and I no longer sleep in the same bed as my now 20 year old daughter.

Everything else is still pretty much the same, except our house is now up for sale and all the good houses have been taken!

I still can’t sleep because I worry about Bethany’s future all night!

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8 Replies to “The Reluctant Night Owl: A Special Needs Poem

  1. I totally understand these worries at night. My parents had a lot of the same worries and now that I’m out of the house, I have these worries about my life, my future. It’s really bad how worries can sneak at you when you need to sleep.

  2. Wow, Sylvia. That totally struck a chord in my heart…
    I think you’ve written with beautiful, heart-breaking truth.
    It’s so much worry.
    It’s so much of your normal, too.
    And worries are so much worse at night.

  3. Oh I so identified with this…I think probably a lot of us do. It is hard not to let our minds go there, sometimes though I think it is needed. I agree night time is worse…probably because it is finally quiet.

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