I lie awake at night, willing sleep to come. I try all of the tricks I can think of--counting sheep, counting backwards from 100 to 1, singing songs in my head. Nothing works. The thoughts come, unbidden and unwelcome. I don't want to think. I want to sleep.

I lie awake at night, looking at the clock. I think of how many hours worth of sleep I'll get, if I fall asleep...NOW. It doesn't work. My mind has its own plans, all of which include rehashing the past.

Thoughts come. Thoughts that I don't want. Memories of things that are gone. Memories of things that hit me like a punch in the stomach. I feel sick. I pull my pillow over my head, trying to banish the thoughts, the memories. But they won't leave.

My past is gone but for memories. All of the tangible parts of my past, all of the material things that we hang on to that prove we were there, are gone. They shouldn't matter. Why do they matter so much to me? Why does it hurt so badly to know that I will never again see those parts of me?

A yearbook. A photo. A letter. A memento. A souvenir. They don't matter, I tell myself. But they do matter--at least to me. And sometimes, their loss is palpable.

I still have me. I still have my family.

But I lie awake at night, thinking....

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