When I was a little girl, part of our nightly routine was saying your prayers - in our case a prayer that included the lines "If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" - a rather gruesome sentiment for a child to revisit on a daily basis. Being a kid with an active imagination and a born worrier, I couldn't help wondering what circumstances might strike in the dead of night to whisk me away. Was there some epidemic of middle-of-the-night child deaths I was not aware of? And where exactly would my soul go? This internal dialogue, that inner voice that chatters incessantly as soon as my head hits the pillow is one of the reasons why sleep is not my friend.
While I have spent many hours over the years checking the clock radio to gauge just how long I have been sleepless, I used to be able to account for some of that lost time by taking long and delicious naps on weekend afternoons, when somehow it didn't take much effort to succumb. Now, naps seem impossible and for the last two nights it was after 4am before I finally and fitfully went to sleep.
When I worked in radio, I did the early morning shift for several years which involved dragging myself into the station around 4:30am and in order to have any kind of a life in the evening, afternoon naps were a requirement. I would often wake up with a start on a dark winter afternoon, look at the clock and be convinced I was late for work - even getting halfway to the parking lot before realizing my error. I walked around most of the time sleep-deprived and you soon recognize how much that sweet respite changes your view of the world. That moment of fading to black, embracing the nothingness, the inner voice mercifully quiet, waiting for the sun.