From my earliest years, I struggled with insomnia. Even after my parents were in bed and all the lights were out, I’d get up and wander through the house. I didn’t get into things, I just made my rounds like a fretful guard dog. You worry too much and You think too much. These are things I remember hearing even before I was fully sure what they meant.
When I was a teenager, though my mother didn’t have the benefit of aisles full of self-help and metaphysical books to guide her, she gave me some advice.
“Don’t try to bore yourself to sleep. Don’t try to count sheep. Don’t think of the dullest things. Envision the most beautiful place you can. Fill it with every detail that makes it inviting. Picture yourself there being happy and delighted.” It was good advice, because at some point in the process of mentally creating such a sanctuary, I’d drift off to sleep.
Over the years, I also learned to start stories in my head: stories that caught my interest, kept me engaged. Again, without realizing it was happening, somewhere in the narrative, sleep would overtake me.
When all else fails, I’ll summon some image from the past and contemplate all the things about it that bring me happiness. This is one of those images.
Debby on the bed with Josh wearing his father’s uniform hat.