Up Late

There is a great TED Talk about the “museum of 4 a.m.”

Apparently 4 a.m. is the nadir of time–so late no one would chose to stay up. Too early for decent waffles.

I am up at 4 a.m because of…

Two dogs
A nocturnal animal prowling the yard
A list of unbearable memories.

Dog A barked
Dog B followed suit ad infinitum
And mom C remembered.

In the days and weeks and months after M and C were placed with us, C had night terrors.

He also had fits of unbearable rage.

His sister was no picnic either.

But the seconds, minutes, hours of darkness in which he kicked, screamed, pounded his fists against objects, slammed doors, wailed….

In the utter darkness.

They stay with me.

Day or night, a thousand times a month I longed for monkey tranquilizers to calm those kids down.

Since it was not an option, we hiked, walked, ran, and frequented parks.

It was my daily task to:

1. Stay sane
2. Wear those two out.

Now that I am older, now that I have lived through every part of the growing up story of those two precious, deeply wound people, I would say this–

I know enough of the neglect and the violence that led to their howling childhood. I know enough of the condition of their brains, concussed from the absence of love, to know that for every minute of solitary wakefulness that I endured with them–for them, every moment of public humiliation in a grocery store or restaurant, every crazy scene, all those years of lost peace.

Worth it. Worth the risk, the agony, the relentless void.

But why did no one else come to our assistance?

Why such violent, unending loneliness? No cure. No concern for the survivors.


Nothing at all
Alone each 4 a.m.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s