It's 8:35 here, Ryan's taking a shower, the cat's already asleep in her basket, and I'm bracing for another long night. Why do the nights seem longer...darker...emptier... when you are alone? It wasn't like this before my stroke. I would have just been getting ready to go out and party with friends. .... Dinner at 9, movies at 10? or the bar scene at 10:30? Now, I wait for, and pray for the sleep, that doesn't come. Sleep comforts me because, I'm not expected to be ok when I'm sleeping. And for some reason I'm not allowed to be less than ok when I'm awake. I'm trying so hard to be the "old me" when it counts so much - that the "new me" hurts. Tomorrow, I'll drive, on ice, to take Ryan to the orthodonist, when I can't even drive on the highway yet. I'll get him to school and I'll go to work, and I'll smile, my now crooked smile. They'll never know I was up half the night or that I set the alarm at 4 am so, I'd be up at 6. They'll never know how scared I am, or how their "desertion" effects me. You'll know, but I trust you'll keep my secret, share my pain, and console me with your laughter. I'm counting on it daily, you know I need you more, especially at night, when I'm alone.