The incessant buzzing of my cellphone alarm woke me from yet another nightmare filled, nearly sleepless night. My head hurt and not just a little bit. My brain had a pulse. This was a morning with auras abounding. For anyone who has never suffered a severe migraine, there is no way of truly understanding one unless you can survive having a truck run over your skull as molten daggers are driven into your eye sockets. I was nauseous as I got out of bed to stop the howling monster that had so rudely intruded on what little sleep my injured brain had allowed me.
I pushed the necessary button to make it stop, shuffled into the bathroom, took narcotic pain medication for migraines and brushed my teeth. I have had this kind of pain on a regular basis for over seven years now, ever since some Jihad jackass in Fallujah decided that blowing up our convoy would be better than facing us in a firefight. Every time I think of why I have migraines, I am thankful that I am relatively alright and I remind myself that one is only as injured as one wants to be. I make myself stronger. I face my immediate task. I have two children to get ready for school.
I put on my sunglasses so that I could handle the minimal light that I would turn on in the kitchen as I prepared their breakfast. I looked at the empty bed. His side of the bed. An invisible hand squeezed my heart and tears not caused by the migraine came and burned my eyes, threatening to fall. My vision blurred even worse. Then I told myself that I was being weak and I call upon the voice of my best friend, my other half. She is my voice of reason when I am on the cusp of sanity. He just tried to kill me. He is in prison for trying to kill me. I have a shotgun hole in my living room ceiling to look at as a reminder should I need to crush out the pain. I reminded myself that I miss the family dynamic, not him. He only used me, he never loved me. How could a man try to murder someone that he ever loved? Why do I allow it to hurt? I drew a deep breath and listened to that voice of reason and I was immediately grateful that I have a best friend that I can trust enough to pull me out of the oubliette and talk me down, even when she isn’t even there. I do not miss him. I miss what could have been and I miss the vibrant lady that I used to be not so long ago.
It hurts most that I fell for all the lies…
I walked slowly down the hall and stared for a moment once I reached the kitchen. I had forgotten what I was going to do. I have moments like this, but they are usually brief. If I just wait, it comes. So I waited. And eventually, it came. Everything is eventual, thank you, Mr. King! Fate has taught me humility and patience if nothing else. I was going to make coffee and toast. That is what I was going to prepare. I washed my hands, a minor obsession that I have in my quest to kill any and all germs in my home, and pulled down the coffee and filters. I scooped the grounds and made the Folgers. The smell of bread made me queasy as I placed it into the toaster. The ladies chose the flavor yogurt they wanted, prepared their toast when it popped, and I added honey and milk to my younger daughter’s caffeinated drink as my elder teen choose skim milk as her beverage. I later cleaned the breakfast table as the children prepared themselves for school.
Time drags when I have a migraine. Every moment that I wait for the searing pain to subside is its own eternity. My ladies are respectful and kind to their mother, so understanding for just shy of thirteen and fifteen. They were quiet going about their morning rituals. The bus soon took them off to their school day.
I went straight to my bed for half an hour to let my medication work. I was not tired, I was in excruciating pain. I despise sloth and I get bored lying there waiting with nothing to do except be miserable. I am seldom in bed for more than a few hours unless I am ill or have a wretched headache. My loyal companion, as always, came to my side. The Birman breed is noted for its devotion. She is the apex of the breed’s characteristics. I hid under a heated blanket because I had the heat in the house turned down. For some reason, the cold air feels better when my head hurts. I looked over at my lovely friend, at those gorgeous, deep blue, almond round eyes. I stroked her soft, beige fur and my heart was full of love for that sweet companion. I placed a sleep mask on in lieu of the sunglasses and tried to rest as she purred beside me.
I was in bed for more than the half hour that I had planned, but I am used to my life having to adjust its schedules by now. The pain had subsided a little, but it was still enough that I didn’t want to move very much and I still saw that trail of images when there was movement. Auras the neurologist calls them. I was afraid that I would vomit. I know that I had not eaten; I would make the attempt later. I still didn’t want to move. I looked at my watch and couldn’t read what it said. I picked up the house phone that I keep beside my bed whenever I am in it. 11:15. Sadie was no longer beside me. She had moved. I had rolled over several times. Time… It really has ceased to have much meaning to me as I have your average dog’s concept of it. All about perspective, I suppose. I got up long enough to relieve myself, washed my hands twice, and set my cell alarm for 3:00 pm. so that I could shower and be presentable for my little ladies when they got home from school. God, I hate days like these. I took two more migraine pills and went back to bed. When the girls came home, I would be on my feet enough to be Mother, to cook and clean and hear about their day and simply be there, to wear a mask and not let them know how much it hurt.
I try so hard to be strong, but right then I cried, just a little bit. When nobody was looking. It hurt so much, I felt lost and isolated. Not just the migraines, but all the symptoms. I have felt like a freak for so long. Going through a divorce is not much of an esteem boost, especially when your husband has tried, literally, to murder you. I broke down and cried. It hurt my head more, but somehow I felt a bit lighter as the tears poured down my cheeks.
I didn’t sleep, but by the time the girls got home, I was presentable and I was able to do the things that were needed. And I got on with my evening as a mother should.
I will get through this as millions of women do. I have a wonderful family that is there for me, good friends who truly care….
I am strong.