by Rosanne Trost
At times in my life, I have had a vague feeling of being vulnerable and lonely.
It comes and goes. I can best describe it as a sense of unrest. Fortunately, the episodes are infrequent, usually brief.
Still I wonder what they mean, if anything. Is there a message I am missing?
In my childhood, when these uneasy feelings would occur, I never shared them.
I do not know why. Probably because I would have been misunderstood. The pensive thoughts would not have been validated.
As a little girl I remember feeling guilty for these sad times. I should be more grateful.
During my junior year in college, I declined an invitation from my roommate to go home with her for the weekend. My excuse, “I have to study.” The truth was I disliked her father. He constantly berated his wife who sat there and took the verbal abuse.
The dorm was very quiet all weekend. After a gentle Sunday afternoon rain, I looked out the window to see the sun appear. I felt peace. This was followed by an intense sadness. As darkness settled in, my mood lifted.
Through the years, the melancholia would sneak up on me without warning.
Always at the end of the day. Nothing seemed to precipitate the feeling.
Several months after my first husband’s death, I was out at dusk watering the lawn. An unsettling gloom came over me. Grief probably, but no tears, just a profound sadness. Although it was warm, I felt cold. Inside the house, the feeling remained until dark night. I looked out at the slice of moon, and experienced a calmness.
After my second marriage, occasionally I would take a glass of wine, walk outside in the evening, and wait for my husband to arrive home from work. It became more of a ritual after my retirement. Recently, the familiar feeling crept in. As always, it took me by surprise. The sun was setting. A plane flew over. Birds were chirping. Yet, as I saw his car turn the corner, I felt downhearted. The feeling was only fleeting. As the evening turned to night, my mood lifted. Somehow, the darkness seems protective.
Soon it will be daylight savings time. So many people rejoice at the gift of an extra hour of light.
I will wait for the long dark evenings when we turn back the clocks and the luxury of night returns.
Rosanne Trost, RN MPH, is a retired registered nurse. She lives in Houston, Texas.
She spent most of her career in oncology nursing research. Since retirement, she has realized her passion for creative writing.