Tragedy, Disaster and One Evil Doll


Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I have no idea why. Most of the time, though, I know what is keeping me awake. Caffeine in the afternoon will get in the way of good sleep. I know to stay away from coffee, but I’ve been known to indulge in some form of chocolate – cocoa or no-bake cookies – and often don’t think about the side effects until I’m wide awake in the middle of the night. If I’ve had a stressful day, I will sometimes relive the events well into the wee hours. A full moon often interferes with my good rest. It’s funny how easily I can nap in the afternoon, but a bright sky at night leaves me wide awake.

When I was younger, the wakeful nighttime hours were often productive times. Sometimes, the house would reap the benefits of my insomnia. I’d organize drawers that had been neglected for ages; I’d scrub floors with moonlight shining in through the windows. Other nights, I’d read for hours, or plunge in to art or craft projects. Or bake. Or write. Not any more. These days, I’m tired when I go to bed. I feel the weariness, even when I cannot fall asleep. I don’t have the energy to even concentrate on a book. I certainly can’t imagine any more ambitious undertaking!

Now, when I can’t sleep, it’s just me and my thoughts. I often wind through the plot of a movie I recently watched, or a book I’m reading. These are not unpleasant thoughts. If something is troubling me, though, I mull it over for hours. Usually that is something from my day, like a disagreement, or some thoughtless thing I said or did. If I ever inadvertently offend, rest assured that I will suffer for it, going over and over it in my mind, feeling ashamed, and thinking of how I should have handled the encounter differently. Sometimes I make mental lists: things I plan to do; items I need to purchase; repairs that need to be done. I try to avoid grocery lists, or any thoughts involving food. If my thoughts go in that direction, imagined hunger will prevent me from falling asleep.

Recently, my middle-of-the-night thoughts went in an entirely different direction. First, the recent shooting at Michigan State University played on my mind. That’s not surprising, as those events have been on my mind day and night. More bright young lives wiped out, and others altered forever. That campus is familiar, and dear, to me, and it breaks my heart that it has now become a part of a larger, very sad story.

That led to thoughts of the killing of four students in Idaho. I replayed everything I knew about the crime, the victims, and the young man arrested for the murders. From there, my mind jumped to the sinking of the Titanic, and all the horrors of that fateful night. I’ve seen two movies and read three books about that disaster, most recently, The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe. I’ve watched documentaries about the ship, its sinking, and efforts to find and explore the wreck. A few years ago, my sisters and I visited one of the Titanic exhibits. So, I had plenty of material to ruminate about, during my sleepless night.

The next contribution to my night of troubling thoughts was “Chucky.” I don’t know where that came from! I rarely watch scary movies, and I have never seen any films featuring that evil doll. But there he was, the last piece of a wide-awake nightmare.

Sleepless nights are rarely pleasant…but I’m thankful that they are not often as miserable as that one was!

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

7 responses »

  1. Oh Cindy. When I have a night in which I fall asleep and then wake, there’s no good reason in the early hours, I find that a cup of tea and my book will swiftly allow me to return to sleep.

  2. Oh Cindy. On nights where I fall asleep and then in the early hours in the morning, wake again, I find that a cup of tea and reading a chapter of my book allows me to go back to sleep fairly quickly

  3. Wow. I have very vivid dreams, most of which I can’t remember a few minutes after I wake up but when I do wake up I remember where I was in the dream for a bit. They are always in color, and they are always scary, or unsettling, or both. I have them every night, it didn’t used to be that way, but I’ve noticed them for perhaps the last year. I wonder if I get restorative sleep with all the dreaming. I’m sorry you’re having rough nights too…there are certainly plenty of things to stew over. The MSU shootings shook me too, I got my undergrad there, know those buildings, can’t imagine what those kids went through. I watched the long interview of the professor who was teaching…it’s horrific. I hope you can get some relaxing sleep soon.

    • Thanks, Dawn. It doesn’t happen often any more….most nights I sleep well. I’ve gotten used to being awake one or two nights each month, frustrating, but not too bad. Though this night filled with all manner of disturbing thoughts was a bit much! I know the kind of dreams you’re talking about, and yes, they can be quite unsettling. Usually, though, I think even dreams that seem to go on and on actually occur in only a small portion of time, so you are probably getting enough sleep. I hope so! Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

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