I've always been a worrier, turning things over and over in my head, imagining from all angles, trying to see all outcomes, far too often seeing Stephen King-like outcomes. Flashes light up in my head, movie-reels playing out, as I take a decision and work it out to the bitter end. I take little for granted and prepare for the worst--in part because of my own unpleasant experiences in the past, and partly because my husband's propensity for always going to worst case scenario and having to backtrack to see that there's any other possible outcome.
Nightime, as I lie in bed, is such a good time to go into hyperdrive. Frankie, bless him, had a way of shortcutting that for me. It's hard to worry when a giant orange tabby is lying on your chest, his paw on your chin, staring into your eyes with a warm intensity. He stopped it cold--it was impossible to worry when he did that, and I would fall asleep with a smile, drifting off quickly, worries silenced.
It's been hard to learn to live without his loving reassurance, and I count the weeks since he's been gone--five this Wednesday--and sleep eludes me at night. If not for this prolonged bout of illness, I wonder how my sleep would be at all. Rick drops into sleep like leaping off a cliff, and as soon as his soft, muffled snores (courtesy of the CPAP) begin, I get up and I wander. I lie on the couch and worry. I get up and sit in my chair and worry. I move around the house and worry. I heave great sighs and worry. And worn with my worrying and tired of the constant hamster wheel of my mind, I lie on the couch and sigh myself into sleep.
It's only at night that it's hard. This morning, as soon as everyone walked out the door, I went back to bed and slept with no problem, dreaming of Hercules and Lara Croft and me trying to save the world. I know I need to accept the new reality and that my Frankie won't be there at night, lying on my chest, calming me. I've tried imagining it, I've placed his picture at the end of the bed. I've got Mabel near me, butt resting on the top of my head, but it's not the same.
How easy it is to become accustomed to someone, to rituals, and how hard it can be to live without, to adjust. It isn't that he kept me from worrying over worries--silly as that is--do I worry too much, am I overreacting, is it okay? He simply gave me comfort at a time each night when I most needed it and allowed me to turn it all off for a time and sleep.
Trying to train the other cats to lie on my chest, paw on my chin hasn't worked well yet. Lucy prefers to be lower on me and meows incessantly. That's no good. Mabel's a butt-on-head kind of gal--she doesn't like to be held or be too close. Aphrodite sleeps in the bathroom since she's only litter trained if confined to a smaller space. She's good for daytime loving, but that's about it. Dude prefers to stare from a higher vantage point and isn't much of a lap cat. Sure, he's a midnight snacking cat and will share your potato chips or cookies and he'll give kisses, but he doesn't put a paw on your face and tell you silently with his eyes to get a grip. Daniel and Jack are rambunctious, but when they do rest with you, Jack's a feet-kind of guy with me and Daniel really prefers the ottoman and to watch you with his amber eyes, sphinx-like. It's a new reality, and I'm just going to have to adjust. Frankie, full of zen-like wisdom, if he were here, would demand it.