Almost every night during the five years before the end, I would have difficulty falling asleep.
Either there was physical abuse or, more often, psychological abuse and until I knew he was asleep, I was afraid to close my eyes or let down my guard. Because he could turn on me again. And want rough sex or want to berate me or want to catalog my failings as a wife as a mother as a woman as a person. But not as a person, because he didn't see me as a separate person. I was wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, cleaner, punching bag, stepping stool for his fragile, and often fractured, ego.
Each night, I would cower on the far side of the bed, waiting for his breathing to slow and grow steady, then the snore, then the apnic breathing that let me know he was asleep and I was safe for now. And maybe he would die in his sleep and I would be safe forever.
Each night, as I lay there waiting, I would rub my head, run fingers through my hair, and whisper to myself, "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me." My White Knight, my Hero, would hold me in his arms and whisper, in a deep low voice, "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me."
The bad times are over. I am strong and whole and secure now. I am separate from that life and safe in this one. And my Hero sleeps next to me, rubbing my head, running his fingers through my hair, until I fall asleep. "Its OK baby, everything is OK baby, go to sleep now, you are safe with me."
I Love You. My Hero. My Friend.