When I was a little girl and I went to sleep at night, I lived with my parents, so they were in the house.
When I went away to college, I always had a room mate (or room mates) every year, so when I went to sleep at night, someone was asleep in the same room, in a bed just feet from my own.
When I finished college, I moved back home for almost a year. I lived with my parents, so when I went to sleep at night, they were in the house.
When Rick and I got engaged, I moved out of my parents' house and began living with Rick, so when I went to sleep at night, Rick was with me.
For the next 7 years, when I went to sleep at night, Rick was there.
Which means once Rick died, shockingly enough for the first time in my whole life, I was alone at night. I learned to sleep alone in a quiet house.
Until Rick's death, my life was comprised of transition after transition, where I had somehow moved through 29 years of...never living alone.
Like a little frog, I hopped from lily pad to lily pad...always sharing space with someone else. But for the last year, I've lived alone and I've slept alone at night. No parents. No room mates. No significant other. No kids of my own. Just me. And the nights.
And you know what I realized? It's not so much that I've learned to sleep alone. It's that I've learned to sleep with myself.
Every night, no extra stuff going on around me, no human interaction, no breathing somewhere else in the house... but the house isn't empty, because I'm there. Me. So much of me. Emotions to untangle. Words to write. Songs to sing. Thoughts to hear. Dreams to dream. Tears to cry. Lessons to learn. Me. So much of me.
Literally hundreds (320+ so far) of days of learning... of having the new experience... of sleeping with myself.