Follow Up: Dealing with a Normal Situation

This is a follow up to Trying to Deal with a Normal Situation where I basically expressed my feelings and fear about going away for a weekend. It’s obvious, I think, that the weekend is over and all is well within my family, but I want to talk about it anyway.

Friday night saw me feeling quite anxious. How obvious that anxiety was to the rest of my family, I really don’t know. What I do know is that Daniel’s girlfriend knew my fear and assured me that she’d watch him carefully. I did feel reassured by that, but my mind paid no attention to the words and supplied me with an endless stream of images. I didn’t sleep well that night.

In all honesty, I was fine during the next day – Saturday. We left early in the morning and arrived at our destination about 9.30am. It was absolutely freezing and the wind was intense, but that didn’t stop us. Gary knew what he wanted to do and we spent the whole day (about 8 hours) walking the streets of the suburb where Gary had grown up.

In the afternoon, I spoke to Daniel on the phone a few times. The conversations were easy and we mainly spoke about mundane things, but it reminded me of the last conversation I had with Barry – when we also spoke of mundane things and talked easily. In fact, the conversations were almost identical.

By evening, I was exhausted and I thought this would be my saviour. I thought that if every bone in my body ached with weariness from walking as far as we did, and with the amount of fresh air we experienced (and I supposed constant gale force winds could be considered as plenty of fresh air), then I’d be too tired to worry and maybe, just maybe, I’d sleep on Saturday night. Well let me assure you that no matter what degree of exhaustion a person experiences, worry is the superior feeling and will win every time.

We retired at 11pm. At 11.30pm I still lay staring at the dark ceiling expecting my mobile to start ringing, because that’s the time the phone call came through when we lost Barry. That was the tensest moment in the whole weekend. I felt quite sick by this stage and as the minutes ticked by, I didn’t relax at all.

I think it was really a combination of things: I think I was actually over tired; I know I was anxious; I was in a strange bed; and, I felt hot with the covers on and cold with them off. No matter what the reason, I didn’t sleep. I watched the green digital numbers change from one minute to the next. My anxiety grew as the night grew quieter around me. My mind was full of images that I would have preferred not to see. I tossed and turned the entire night.

At 5.45am, still awake and feeling like a zombie, I heard Gary say he was getting up and did I want a cup of tea. No, I wanted to sleep, but even then it wasn’t going to happen. When breakfast was delivered at 7.30am, I looked at it with distaste and pushed it aside. Never one for a cooked breakfast, I couldn’t stomach the thought of it after a sleepless night and turned to my normal cereal instead. At 8.30am we left the hotel and continued our trek into the past.

By this stage, I had decided that if Daniel had followed his brother then I would know about it by now. I wanted to phone him, but knew he wouldn’t appreciate being woken up early on a Sunday morning. (Sunday doesn’t begin until after midday for him.) I had to trust the world for a few hours and believe that “no news is good news” and so I tried to enjoy the day, which weather wise was the complete opposite to the day before.

Gary and I visited a number of places on the way home. We took a lot of photos too. But, being middle aged and already exhausted from the previous day, we didn’t want to stay out all day again. We arrived home early in the afternoon. And upon seeing Daniel my fear was completed erased. Last night, I slept more soundly than I have in several weeks.

We all managed to survive the weekend. Maybe this will allow me to plan a holiday in the future, without having to deal with the week of sickness beforehand and the sleepless night while we’re away.

Next weekend, Daniel and his girlfriend are going away for three nights. I won’t feel any anxiety while they are gone. In fact, it might give me an opportunity to truly relax at home for a change.

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