Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cherish Sleep

August 24th: Able Computers
After the earthquake slammed Napa on August 24th, I had trouble getting a good night’s sleep. I didn’t trust the quiet of my room or my bed’s ability to stay put. Even the steady breathing of my husband beside me didn’t convince me to close my eyes for long as if my nervous system stood guard. And according to all the articles I read in our local paper, I wasn’t alone. Some say we are all suffering from PTSD.
Now that I am beginning to sleep better, my newly energized self is finding that there have been lots of little mistakes going on behind my back, or should I say behind my mind. For instance, at my job (Able Computers, our home-based business) I had forgotten to mark off a big stack of invoices that had been paid. Recently, I found an overdue bill in a dusty pile outside! It’s no surprise. We cleaned up too fast, shoved stuff in corners, or in containers, and hauled it all outside until we could re-organize.

One columnist for the paper described her condition as feeling discombobulated— I love that word. Me too! As my world went out of whack my organizational skills went bye-bye. A simple trip to the grocery store was an ordeal. Not only did I forget to consult my list, I skipped whole isles. No frozen food: peas, waffles, or ice cream!    

I should explain that the day after the quake our relatives from out of town rallied around us. They spent hours here muddling through the mess. At one point my husband, Dave, told everyone just take it all out of the office and we’ll put things back in, one item at a time.
My brother-in-law kept muttering, “You’ve got too much stuff.”
It’s true we have too much stuff—had too much stuff. Back in the house, glass, glass, glass. So many things are made of glass: figurines, sugar bowls, liquor bottles, china—almost all my pretty tea cups. My sister-in-law, a retired school teacher kept me focused, “If we can just get your main living space in order, you’ll feel better.”
By the time they left I did feel better. Thank you, family!
Able Computers opened for business on Monday as usual. Maybe that was our problem. We didn’t give ourselves time to process what happened. Now, a few weeks down the road Dave describes the event as not unlike a bad accident, and we are grieving the things that we lost. We should give ourselves time to do that, not shake it off too quickly and announce that all is well.
It wasn’t. It was terrifying. No wonder I lost sleep, but now that I am sleeping better I shall always remember to cherish it. 
For comment, share a bit of your experience with an earthquake or any other disaster.


patsy Ann Taylor said...

Sounds trite but I am sorry for your loss(es).
We were lucky and have sympathy for those who were not. You've heard all the words that are supposed to make you feel better, but there aren't any that really take away the pain. Just know we are thinking good thoughts and hope they help a little.
Feel better soon, dear friends.

Amber Lea Starfire said...

Barb, you are right to be gentle with yourselves and allow time for grieving what was lost, including that sense of security that allowed you to sleep so well. It's all just stuff, and yet that stuff is attached to the lives we have built for ourselves and is therefore meaningful. I'm glad you're sleeping better now!

barb bits said...

Thank you, Patsy. I was hoping I wouldn't sound like a victim, but I think it's useless thinking we could be much else. I am doing better, and Able Computers is fixed up just fine now, the house too. I'm glad you were lucky, and I appreciate your comment.

barb bits said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom, Amber. I love what you said about losing my sense of security. That's exactly what I lost and my sleep was directly affected.

Laura McHale Holand said...

Your account of the quake and aftermath has immediacy, Barbara. My tummy flip flopped a bit while reading your account. I'm so glad your family rallied around you, that things have settled down some, and that you're already sharing wisdom gained.

barb bits said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, Laura. Dave and I are very grateful to our family. All's better although I still feel a bit squeamish about going to bed. I distract myself with good books!