I Can’t Sleep When You’re Not Here

Over the last month my husband has traveled a lot. At first his trips were taking him away from home a day or two at a time. More recently his trips have been a week-long or so. Normally, this would not be an issue. But now, I can’t sleep when you’re not here!

I should be getting use to this, right? Nope! When he’s gone, I can’t sleep. He was gone all last week. The first couple of days were manageable. I was a bit tired, but that’s normal for anyone who’s not sleeping much. By the end of the week I noticed that I was starting to look like a zombie πŸ™ My skin was pale, my face was gaunt and my eyes were hollow. I noticed my temperament changing and my tolerance levels were very low. I was snapping off snippy comments to just about everyone πŸ™

My normal body aches were intensifying and my nerves were unraveling. I spoke to him and offered him a brief visit from me if he’d like. He took me up on the offer and said he’d like to see me. πŸ™‚

My youngest son was at his sister’s house already. I told the other 2 boys to find a friend to hang out with for a couple of days because I was going to leave state. They thought about it and both decided to go to their sister’s house also instead of a friend’s house. (I thought that was cool!) I asked her if she cared to keep an eye on them and she said bring them on up. I dropped the boys off 2 counties north and came back home on Sunday night. I packed my bag and put myself to bed before the long drive 2 states away. Then it happened again…

I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. I counted sheep. I prayed. I drank calming tea. I meditated. I smooshed my face in the pillows. My brain wouldn’t turn off though. I couldn’t sleep! I was so tired that my brain was playing tricks on me. I took 2 allergy tablets (which use to make me drowsy) and nothing…I tried and tried. I was so tired, I caught myself giggling at my own thoughts.Β  I laid there for over 4 hours tossing and turning. At 2:30 am I got up and gave up. I was a week away from sleep and absolutely exhausted! Through the week I had drifted off from time to time and snoozed in small increments, but I was soooo tired!

I made a pot of coffee. I drank it. I took a pee. I drank more coffee. I would pee more. Then I did what most insomniacs do – I went to Wal-Mart. I wondered through the aisles and bought a pair of socks and a shirt for the trip. I checked the time and it was 3:30 am. At this point I’d decided the only way I was going to sleep was to make the trip (369 miles) 3 states away to see my husband. After a brief stop to fill up my tank, I was on the road from Tennessee to Indiana! (‘Cause I can’t sleep when you’re not here!)

So off I went over the mountains and into the much flatter lands of Indiana! Since I have some issues with my bones, sitting for prolonged periods of time or being sedentary hurts. I could only drive for about an hour or so at a time before I would be forced to pull off the road and walk a bit. I’ve made this trip several times before as a passenger, but this time I was driving and I was alone (and tired).

I cruised through the dense fog and shared the road with only a few big trucks for the first couple of hours. I went over Rarity Mountain without even realizing it. (Normally climbing that mountain makes my ears pop and my head dizzy, but not on this day πŸ™‚ )

I realized I wasn’t feeling tired anymore. Once again, my body was running on reserve energy and I was wide awake. I breezed right through most major cities and traffic wasn’t really an issue. I did meet a very eccentric lady at a rest stop I decided to stop and walk at. It was about 3 hours into my trip. We both pulled in and got out of our cars at same time. She held a leash connected to a small breed dog and I held a cigarette as we stood side by side on the walkway for a minute.

She turned to me and said, “Oh honey, I must use the restroom! Could you hold this for me?” She was offering me the leash that her small dog was attached to. “I will be right back. Thank you!” …and she walked away. As I stood there, I wondered to myself if I had actually answered her or if she really had just handed me the leash to her pet and walked off. Who knows! I finished my cigarette as I walked the small path with my new side-kick in tow. After a bit, I decided that the lady was going to be a while, so I smoked another cigarette and kept walking. About 20 minutes later, the eccentric lady returned.

“Was Pappy any trouble?” the white-haired lady asked as she took the leash from me. I was still looking at her bewildered and forgot to answer. She got in her car and waved goodbye as she pulled out. I waved bye while scratching my head in wonderment.Β  I looked around and suddenly became conscious of the time. I hopped back in the car and hit the road once more.

I did see a pretty skyline in Kentucky πŸ™‚


I made it over the Ohio river and I thought I’d almost be there. I was wrong. I still had another 2 1/2 hours to drive πŸ™ I was beginning to wear down and that tired feeling was creeping up on me again. I had to stop again an hour later because my bottom half had fallen asleep. I walked a bit and then drove again. The total trip took me over 6 hours and when I finally saw my husband I was so happy! I rode with him to a couple of his job sites and he happily introduced me to some of his customers.

My tired and worn down body was screaming for rest and now that I’d seen him, I was afraid I would soon give into the request for sleep. Just being with him, I guess I had mentally relaxed enough to give in to the task of resting. He took me to the hotel and I laid down… I think that was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in! I offer my sincere gratitude to the Indianapolis South Best Western!

A little over 3 hours later, I awoke to the sound of his voice. He’d come back to the hotel and laid down with me. He was talking to me and I suppose I was answering him in my sleep before I came around to a conscious state. I felt so refreshed, complete, and whole.Β  πŸ™‚ It was soooo nice to sleep!!!

We went to visit his father almost an hour away and had a fabulous dinner with him and his wife πŸ™‚ They gave me some late birthday presents I was not expecting and entrusted me with a very old family heirloom. I was elated, surprised, and grateful. I really love his parents and wish we didn’t live so far away from them. πŸ™

After that brief visit, we returned to the hotel room and back to that sweet restful bed in which I slept solid as a rock for 9 hours straight! I can’t remember the last time I was so grateful for sleep. It was the best slumber I’d had in a long time!

The next morning, we said our goodbyes and I left Indiana to head back to home to Tennessee around noon. It was hard to leave him (and that blissful slumber) but the kids and our lives are in the mountains. So, I sucked it up (tears) and began my trek back home. I drove and drove. My bottom half went numb a few more times, but I finally made it back home (after picking up the kids an hour from home) around 8:30 pm.

I warned the boys that I was super tired and that I’d likely go to bed soon after making it home. BUT, but…I can’t sleep when you’re not home!

So, I laid awake again last night πŸ™ I tossed and turned, I browsed Facebook, I tweeted, I made a tent in the bed, and then I got up and wrote a thank you letter to my husband’s father and step-mother. I went through pictures, petted the cat, petted the dog, walked in the back yard, and finally napped for a couple of hours around 7 am this morning.

I guess this isn’t truly a great adventure. My only new discovery is that everyone in Indiana appears to have real grass growing in their yards! This may seem odd to mention, but the lawns are all so pretty and full of grass, not like most yards in Tennessee. I’m not talking about yard without weeds. Even the yards with weeds in them are mostly real grass! I noticed in East, West, and South Indiana that grass really is everywhere. In Tennessee, you’d have to spend a great deal of money to have a lawn of all or even mostly grass…and in Indiana…it just seems to grow there! If I was totally naive, I would think that everyone living in Indiana had spent thousands of dollars on their yards. Look at the difference. Pay no attention to the dandelions, just look at what makes up a lawn in Tennessee compared to Indiana:

Tennessee Grass
Tennessee Grass
Grass in Indiana
Grass in Indiana
Indiana Grass
Indiana Grass Close Up

Maybe this is just a plea for slumber to my husband? I don’t know. I’m feeling a bit more rested today after actually sleeping one night, but honey…you’ve got to come home soon – ‘Cause I can’t sleep when you’re not here!!


  1. Aw Sis, what a post! Hope you’ve gotten some sleep though! πŸ˜‰ Many years ago, I decided to change careers and started driving truck, long-haul across the US and Canada. I had to wait 6 months before I could allow my wife with me, but I called her every night when I stopped and talked on the phone (won’t share how much THAT cost!) but invariably she would tell me almost word-for-word what you wrote! She just couldn’t sleep when I wasn’t with her. We have been married now for 41 plus years and if for any reason (usually hospital stays now) we are separated, yep it’s the same thing!
    I certainly don’t mean to chuckle at your predicament but, Sis sometimes your writing just brings out the smiles in me!! BUT on the plus side, I’m sure it would be totally different if you didn’t love your guy! Some say it’s routine or habit, I don’t believe that when two people are so in love and here’s why: the Lord promised to make us one. When you are no longer one, you are not complete and therefore you will constantly feel that missing part! Just a thought!
    God bless for this as I enjoy immensely all your posts! (still reading past ones too! πŸ˜‰ )

    • Thank you Pastor Roland! It’s so sweet to hear that your wife of 41 years loves you the same way I love my husband πŸ™‚ I firmly believe when God places a man and woman together – they grieve each other when they are apart. Maybe not all men and women, but I know I do mine. After all, man was to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife, right? Having so many miles between a couple makes cleaving hard πŸ˜‰ Ha Ha πŸ™‚
      I’m happy to hear that my writing can bring a smile to someone’s face. That inspires me to keep sharing the craziness that is my life πŸ™‚

  2. I LOVE that you miss him so much that you can’t sleep! I know the torment of insomnia; it is absolutely awful! Years ago, when my kids were young and my husband would travel quite a bit, I would lose weight from being up so much and being so anxious about him being gone. My friend once said that the difference between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep! I lived that for quite a while and still do from time to time. The only thing that has helped in the past few years is that we now have a dog. When my husband is away, she will sit and stare at the door for hours awaiting his arrival. When he doesn’t come home, she finally gives up and looks to me to comfort her. “June” (our dog) is so attached to me that she cuddles with me at night. It doesn’t always help but I don’t feel as alone as I used to!

  3. Sadly, the economic crisis changed the dynamics of my family, and since 2008, my husband and I only have the weekends to sleep together. At first, I couldn’t sleep either, but we did what we had to. It’s sad that I’m used to it now. I hope you alway get to have your hubby by your side!

  4. My husband Roscoe is becoming a doctor so he frequently has “call” which means he stays at the hospital all night. For a period of time I stayed over at a friend’s house on those nights because our house would immediately become haunted and a magnet for thieves. It didn’t actually but that’s how I felt. I sleep at home now. But with a deadbolt on both my bedroom door and our front door. I don’t sleep well though. Thanks for sharing.

    • You know, he asked me last night when he got back home if I thought I may be having separation anxieties (which I promptly denied). That sounds like what you go through too, except I’m not worried about someone breaking in. Interesting πŸ™‚ I guess I need to look into that!

  5. I was glad you were all right driving despite not having been sleeping properly. The frequent stops probably helped in keeping you awake. It’s in a way a blessing you had to stop so often. And it’s lovely to see how being with your husband made you so happy. :-0

    • Thank you Auntyuta πŸ™‚ On every trip, rested or not, I must make the frequent stops, which tends to be unfortunate for the other people I travel with. But you are correct for sure about this trip in particular πŸ™‚

  6. My husband has been gone all week for work too! I’m kind of the opposite of you…I sleep more! Last night I went to bed at 8pm just because I was so bored but here I am up bright and early at 4 am!

    • I use to be able to do that about 8 or 9 months ago when he was traveling with work. But now, for some reason sleep eludes me πŸ™ I’m happy to hear that you are very rested though! πŸ™‚

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