Sleeping Alone

My husband Al snores. He also talks in his sleep in some intelligible language and steals blankets. He thrashes around like he’s trying to run and once elbowed me in the cheek. Plus his feet when exposed to air are mildly malodorous. And yet, sleeping without him is the way I miss him most when he’s gone.

Earlier this week, Al drove five hours north of Detroit to help out his mom, who has Alzheimer’s, while his dad is in the hospital recovering from some serious surgery. It’s the second time he’s gone up there this month. He’s been laid off from Chrysler, so it’s been lucky that he’s had the time to help out.  

Al’s parents are in their mid-70s and the health breakdowns are quite recent. Just a few years ago, Al’s dad built the house they live in, designing it and doing most of the construction work himself. He still shovels snow (even off the roof, much to everyone’s dismay), plants a huge garden, and mows the lawn on the fifty-plus acres. And when Mom got her diagnosis, Dad took over the cooking and cleaning, too.

I’m happy Al is able to help out, and that he wants to do it, but I miss him. Even though it’s not perfect, I like sleeping with Al better than sleeping without him. In this way, our dreaming life resembles our marriage. Not perfect, but nevertheless essential.

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