• leaflet

    . . .a thin triangular flap of a heart valve. . . a small book usually having a paper cover . . . a medical lit-art e-journal from The Permanente Press
  • 1

Sleep Well

Prose, Volume 4; Issue 2

I haven’t slept well for the last half dozen years. I tell myself it comes with age. I blame a restless leg that isn’t particularly restless. I accept it. I am not without rest, only without long sleep. I less often blame aloneness, or a job change, or divorce, or too much caffeine, or too little alcohol, or overdue-for-washing bedding, or the evening news, or thoughts of mortality for my lack of long sleep. Blaming age is easier.

Carol was over for dinner two nights ago. She is new to me.  We either have much in common or little in common. Time will tell.

Dogs? Not in common.

Horses? Not in common.

Catholicism? Not in common.

A dying mother? In common.

And, included in the things we have not in common, Carol says grace before she eats. At least at suppertime. (I call it dinnertime. Not in common.) She bows her head, closes her eyes, blocks out the world (including me), and for 10 or 15 or 20 seconds, she prays to someone or something. She tells me later, when she opens her eyes, when she rejoins the world, whether she added someone to her prayer. Last week she added my daughter, Sarah, about to deliver her first baby and present to me my first grandchild.

Two nights ago she added the baby to her grace-full prayer, the baby whose worried look in the very first photo portended, perhaps, the seizure that followed shortly, the hallway journey to the NICU, the wires and tubing and separation.

As Carol silently said grace, I too closed my eyes. And, for the first time since grade school, I too said grace.  

Awkwardly.

“God: You don’t know me. But now? Now would be a good time to ‘wow’ me. If you will.”

I can’t remember dinner, or goodbye.

I do remember sleeping all night, though. And waking rested.

Sarah says the baby’s doing better.

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Health care professionals and employees submit your poetry, prose, and artwork for future issues. Contributions to Leaflet are submitted through the TPJ Web site. Submit here

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