I’m not surprised to feel let down after planning and executing Mina’s event this past Sunday. I expected to feel somewhat deflated after all the activity and then find myself alone again. However, I didn’t expect to feel so down that I’m not sleeping again, have a constant headache, and I’m crying more often. I know from reading and listening to those wiser than myself that grief is an up and down, in and out sort of process, but I thought I’d feel somehow … lighter.

Really, the fund raising for the sanctuary since Mina died has been pretty successful. I’d like to squeeze more funds out of everyone, though, so please give if you haven’t already! I’m pleased we raised as much as we did at the winery on a crappy weather day. I’m happy that so many people showed up who loved Mina and wanted to talk about her.

Still … I’m very sad and I miss Mina more than ever. I’m teary this morning after a fairly sleepless night during which I felt unsafe.

See, when I got home yesterday evening and looked up at our living room window, always hoping to see Mina’s happy face looking down at me, the apartment was dark. I never leave the lights off unless Mina and I are going to be gone for several days. The kitchen light stays on, except during the brightest part of summer, so that Mina is never home alone in the dark. Frankly, I don’t enjoy walking into a dark apartment, either.

I rushed up the stairs, unlocked the door and turned on the entry light to look around. I turned on the kitchen light and looked in every closet, behind the shower curtain, and every corner to make sure no one was around. Yes, I did this armed. Daddy didn’t raise no stupid girls. What I found was a note on the counter that Joe had been in to look at the stove and I guess he politely turned off the light. I’m sure he never imagined it would create such a panic in me.

The weird part is that after I went to bed and slept for a couple of hours, I woke up feeling very uneasy and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was listening for whatever it is I listen for now, so I didn’t doze off again until about 30 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. After I got up and got ready to leave for work, I realized my keys weren’t on the counter as usual, weren’t in my coat pocket, nor in my purse. That’s when I realized where I’d left them – in the lock. Our door was unlocked and my keys were dangling outside in the lock. Some part of my crippled brain must’ve known this and kept me alert all night. Guess we live in a pretty decent neighborhood, eh?

I will admit that since Mina died there’s a general feeling of insecurity in me, especially at night. During her illness this year, Mina wasn’t the always-alert sentinel that she’d been for so many years, but I was deeply comforted knowing she was out in the living room where I could get up and check on her at any time. I could hear her breathing over the AC or heater, fans, trains, anything. I listened for it all night, on some level. I desperately miss hearing her breathing at night and I miss her more with every day that passes.

Mina, Mina, Mina …